A question well worth asking after the start to 2009. Wing Co DJ reckons you should always feel slightly cold when you start off otherwise you'll overheat on the ride.
Others swear by neoprene boots which keep out the chill arctic breeze. Some say two pairs of gloves and still others say fleece backed lycra full body tights.
However, it seems to me that you can wear all of these things (and I do) and still feel the cold. Yet, we're still out there. Is this a case of machismo? An unwillingness to be the first to quit in the face of adverse conditions? A frivolous disregard for own health and welfare? Or just a desperate need to get out and exercise?
Well maybe a bit of all of these things.
Last Saturday six of us met (The Twins, MF, NS and D) for what must have been the coldest ride I have ever taken part in. Most of the chat before hand revolved around the kinds of gloves we were wearing, how many gloves we had on, base layers and overshoes. MF informed us all that it was minus 3.He knows because he has a remote thermometer by his bedside which gives him a digital read for the temperature outside (I'll examine the esoteric world of gadgetry and cycling another time!)
By the time we hit the seafront I had lost sensation in my fingers, by the end of the cycle path I could no longer wiggle my toes and by the time I had reached Barling I thought my ears were going to fall off.
And yet, and yet.
It was great ride, we joked about those who had bottled out and stayed in bed, how they would be kicking themselves for missing out. There was the habitual brief charge along the sea front and a quick plunge into the warmth of the cafe to watch steam rise from our clothes and the tea seep into those freezing extremities.