Cycling through winter has always been a great way to maintain fitness levels and avoid coughs and colds. If you are concerned by inclement weather, consider the pioneer adventure cyclists of the 1890s, who took to the snowy wilds of northern Canada without the benefit of modern clothing and 80 years before the advent of mountain bikes.
The Great Gold Rush in the late 1890s drew 100,000 prospectors to the Klondike region of the Yukon in north-western Canada between 1896 and 1899. Those who didn’t have the money to invest in dog teams used bicycles and rudimentary cold weather gear.
19-year-old Max Hirschberg chose to use a bicycle when he joined the gold rush in 1900. His journal gives a fascinating insight into the cold weather gear of the day:
“The day I left Dawson, March 2, 1900, was clear and crisp, 30° below zero. I was dressed in a flannel shirt, heavy fleece-lined overalls, a heavy mackinaw coat, a drill parka, two pairs of heavy woollen socks and felt high-top shoes, a fur cap that I pulled down over my ears, a fur nosepiece, plus fur gauntlet gloves. On the handlebars of the bicycle I strapped a large fur robe. Fastened to the springs, back of the seat, was a canvas sack containing a heavy shirt, socks, underwear, a diary in waterproof covering, pencils and several blocks of sulfur matches. In my pockets I carried a penknife and a watch.”
Cyclists today have the choice of a bewildering choice of technical winter cycling gear. Base layers and lightweight breathable waterproof tops have revolutionised winter riding. Another welcome development has been the advent of LED lighting, which has brought cheap, powerful and reliable cycle lighting to the masses.
Kingston Council has produced a short video to promote the use of lights and offered us six sets of LED lights (pictured above) to give away. If you would like a set, simply leave a comment at the bottom of this page.
Ethical cycle insurance
Check your small print for so-called ‘new-for-old’ replacement – many insurers use the term, but if your bicycle is more than a few years old, they devalue it severely. This means you are left out of pocket when you come to replace it.
With ETA cycle insurance, however old the bike, if it’s stolen you get enough to buy a new model. Furthermore, every cycle insurance policy you buy from us helps support the work of the ETA Trust, our charity campaigning for a cleaner, safer transport future. No wonder The Good Shopping Guide judges us to be Britain’s most ethical insurance company.