9 Creature Comforts To Make Winter Riding Better

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I hate to be the one to say it, but winter is approaching. And in the time it took me to type that, it’s probably arrived. But let’s not see this as a negative – it’s cold, so layer up and get excited for a bubble bath after your ride. It’s wet, take some spare socks and look forward to a hot chocolate by the fire. I LOVE winter riding and all the rewards that follow. Yes, dry trails and not needing to wash your bike after every ride are nice, but sloppy mud turning the trail into a slip ‘n’ slide produces more smiles than dust in your eyes does – FACT.

So to share my love of the colder, darker, wetter months I have compiled a handy list of pre and post-ride comfort items. A little something to help get you out the door in the first place… and a little something more to welcome you back through it.

1. Drysure Active Shoe Dryers

Snigger.

These neat little shoe dryers are more of an aid than a cure, but let’s be honest, with a pair of wet FiveTens we need all the help we can get. Claiming to air dry shoes twelve times faster than normal air drying, using no heat or electricity, you’ve really got nothing to lose in trying them. The rigid outer shell houses a fabric worm filled with silica gel beads to absorb moisture. Not only that, they also help to reduce fungal growth (eww) and bacteria (eeewwwww) which in turn will reduce smells (yey).

drysure active shoe dryer
This was not a good day.

I feel that a UK mountain biker putting these to the test is quite unfair, however I can honestly say I notice a difference. If my shoes are just damp, they dry out quicker for sure. These have become a reflex after riding – if my shoes don’t have feet in them, they have these in. And for the niche market of people who are stupid enough to leave their brand new camera in a soggy backpack overnight, take the silica worms out and pop them in a bag with your camera to draw the condensation out.

2. ION Universal Utility Bag

Keep all the trail sludge in one place.

Upgrade your blue Ikea bags with this ION utility bag. A convenient ‘all-in’ bag with a zip to stop your slushy kit falling out in the car. The bag is made of 80% polyethylene to resist water, has two sets of handles (one short set, one longer set for over the shoulder), and a velcro pocket either side with padded material for your dry items, or scratchable ones. It’s a great size for throwing everything in to transport it home, and keeps all the muck away from your vehicle.

3. ION Universal Shoe Bag

Pulls both zips at once. What a time to be alive.

This is an item that I could live without, but I don’t want to. A neat waterproof bag that holds it’s shoebox shape quite well, includes a ventilation hole and zips either side that are held together with a handle for when your hands are too cold to function properly. Never again will you get back to the car, caked in mud, only to discover you forgot to take a carrier bag for your shoes. It wipes clean/dry and seems to be spacious enough for the bulkiest of riding shoes. My only issue with this bag is the lack of air flow, which has left me with some very damp stinky shoes after wet rides if I forget to take them out when I get home. Use it for transport, not for storage.

4. SciCon Shoe Bag

Very well ventilated.

Another shoe transportation unit, only this one is more suitable to leave your shoes in since the top is made out of mesh fabric to allow air to circulate. The bag features a carry handle and an additional zip pocket on the back for your socks. At first glance it doesn’t look to be big enough for all riding shoes (I’m thinking of a size 8 and beyond) but it’s quite deceiving, I managed to fit some size 11 bulky men’s shoes in there and zipped it up with ease.

5. Handpresso Auto Travel Pack

Once you’ve got it set up, it’s a neat little unit.

This hand held coffee maker comes in a handy little carry case packed full of everything you need for a coffee on the go (coffee not included). It plugs into your 12v socket in your car and claims to take just over four minutes to heat up, however it’s closer to ten minutes in my experience.

Just turn it over and press go.

The water reservoir holds 110ml, simply fill the reservoir, insert a soft coffee pad and hold it over your cup to pour.

One full brew fills a medium Costa cup to here.

The coffee comes out hot (not luke warm), but there just wasn’t enough of it for my liking. It’s a very convenient piece of kit, and the type of thing you can have in your van at all times because it packs down small and doesn’t leak.

6. Booicore Changing Towel

Snack pocket.

A wearable towel with a hood, sleeves and a snack pocket. I really can’t fault this item – since it arrived I have used it 8 days a week, and I find more uses for it as time goes by. So the main use is after a bike ride, particularly a soggy one, where I can throw this on top of my riding kit and remove it without losing dignity. Some rides, if I’m going straight home, I’ll travel back in this. I also use it as a dressing gown, and it’s coming snowboarding with me in January for hanging up next to the hot tub.

Taadaa!

There’s a good selection of colours to choose from, they’re one size fits most, and they’re a generous size to allow for you to get changed underneath.

7. Dryrobe Towel Changing Robe

  • Price: From £35.00
  • From: Dryrobe
Stood in the rain getting the worst of the mud off.

Another towel robe, this time from Dryrobe. These ones come in a choice of sizes and colours, with extra arm coverage to keep you cosy whilst you get changed.

Caught with her pants down!

Made from 100% cotton, the Dryrobe is super soft and lightweight enough to dry out quickly. This is another item that I don’t know how I lived with out it, just for the convenience and how easy it makes the post-ride clean up.

8. Dryrobe Advanced

  • Price: From £70.00
  • From: Dryrobe
What splash back?

Another robe from Dryrobe, only this one is so much more than a towel. Fleece lined with a waterproof outer, two pockets, hood and a two way zip. Perfect for after a winter ride, keeping you warm and dry whilst you pack all your gear away and wash down your bike.

One of many uses for the Dryrobe Advance.

I have used this Dryrobe just to walk to my van during a particularly heavy downpour, to take photos in the rain, wash my bike, wash my van, I’ve even ridden a bike in it during a storm in Todmorden. Anywhere you need to keep warm and/or dry, this is the robe for you.

9. Singletrack Two-Way Beanie

  • Price: £17.99 – Discounts available for members
  • FromSingletrack
The bunched up option.

Our sweet new beanies are available in four colours, and can be worn two ways. They’re super soft material, with no garish branding, just a little cog to let people know you have excellent taste in magazines.

Folded over.

So to conclude, please don’t let the weather put a downer on your bike ride. It’s more rewarding getting to the end of a ride and having to peel your clothes off, pour water out of your shoes and plan your entire evening around getting back to an acceptable level of comfort. See you on the trails!

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Author Profile Picture
Amanda Wishart

Art Director

Amanda is our resident pedaller, who loves the climbs as much as the descents. No genre of biking is turned down, though she is happiest when at the top of a mountain with a wild descent ahead of her. If you ever want a chat about concussion recovery, dealing with a Womb of Doom or how best to fuel an endurance XC race, she's the one to email.

More posts from Amanda

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)
  • 9 Creature Comforts To Make Winter Riding Better
  • Esme
    Free Member

    Josie Dew (famous cycle explorer) once suggested that a bike poncho makes a great portaloo for women travellers. No doubt these changing robes could serve the same function . . .

    robertajobb
    Full Member

    I’ve had a Dryrobe (the waterproof one) for 3 or 4 years now. Great bit if kit. Dont leave home (when the weather is pants) without it.
    I use it a lot for before and after open water swimming too. I’m pretty tall and its still ok for getting changed in – the arm holes / sleeves are well sized to allow you to get arms inside / outside without problem and without dislocating a shoulder.

    I’ve not tried it as a portaloo however.

    scc999
    Full Member

    Been meaning to get a changing robe for ages. Finally ordered one now as the last couple of rides ended with me being pretty wet so needing to get changed in a busy carpark!
    Another thing I’d add to the list is a piece of karrimat or similar to stand on whilst getting changed.
    An Ikea bag or supermarket bag for life is great for chucking wet kit in and costs not a lot.
    Jetboil and an aeorpress / supply of teabags / hot chocolate is worth packing if a cafe visit isn’t on the cards too.

    Anyone else got any essentials not on the list?

    Northwind
    Full Member

    TBH I can’t see how you beat a totally standard doormat for standing on and changing.

    Matt_SS_xc
    Full Member

    Campervan for hot lunch
    Eberspacher heater in campervan for drying yourself and shoes

    whatyadoinsucka
    Free Member

    for me it has to be a 40Litre tub in winter, fits muddy cloths shoes, helmet and bag,,
    https://www.wilko.com/en-uk/wilko-trug-duck-egg-40l/p/0414871
    and a rubber matt

    JefWachowchow
    Free Member

    Love my Booicore. Bought mine of that wonderful Ed Oxley chap in a car park many years ago. I received much ridicule from others including Mrs Wachowchow. None of which had found themselves B… naked in a car park before I guess. Anyway, many years on I still use it regularly, when I can wrestle it of Mrs W that is.

    DezB
    Free Member

    Oh my, how can I get hold of Dry Sure shoe dryers before I leave work??? NEED!

    mick_r
    Full Member

    Even cheaper there is a £16 towel poncho thing from Decathlon.

    whatyadoinsucka
    Free Member

    is that shoe bag a joke.. £39,

    and the shoe dryer, i’ve always used newspaper balls scrunched into the toe since my days in the gelpac snappies sunday junior football league with my footy boots, an overnight under the radiator, next day take out the wet paper, (reapply is neccesary) but usually leave them for another day and they are dry.

    richmtb
    Full Member

    I need one of those changing robes in my life. It got to be better than hiding behind the car door

    joemmo
    Free Member

    “Jetboil and an aeorpress / supply of teabags / hot chocolate is worth packing if a cafe visit isn’t on the cards too.”

    Or a thermos.

    zerofour
    Free Member

    +1 for stuffing your shoes with newspaper.

    augustuswindsock
    Full Member

    20 quid for a polythene bag???
    Do people actually buy this kind of stuff, cos if they do I’m packing my job in and going into business!

    EccentricEllis
    Full Member

    @augustuswindsock – I think it’s actually Polyethylene. ;)

    puddings
    Free Member

    Although clothing and probably outside the spirit of this article, over knee sealskin socks were my big discovery last winter – having perviously tried the short version and not seen what the fuss was about, the knee length are in a whole different league – a pair of merino socks underneath for added warmth and no bother about whether your 5 10s have dried from the wet day before. Get back to the car, whip them off to reveal clean dry legs. Just remember to dry them inside out

    rupertwolfman
    Free Member

    It is interesting to read your blog post and I am going to share it with my friends.republic

Viewing 17 posts - 1 through 17 (of 17 total)

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