There are certain markers of the cycling year; the first leg shave, the first time trial, the first glove-free ride, the first century… and the first winter ride in tights. This last is one I put off as long as possible for reasons that came back to me within 100 yards of setting off this morning.
True, the tights kept my legs warm on a day when 3/4 bib-knicks would have – er – come up short. And they hid the steadily-growing fur on the old pins. But that’s about the limit of their good points. I had almost forgotten the annoying sensation of Lycra sliding slowly over Lycra, the outer layer sagging around the nether regions and needing to be hoiked up at every other set of traffic lights until dampened sufficiently by perspiration to stay put on the thighs.
And the equally annoying sensation of Lycra pulled downwards by foot loops so the bit behind the knee feels loose at the bottom of the pedal stroke; the bunching of the extra layer in the fold at the inside of the hip joint; double shoulder strappage – and the horrible feel of overshoes clamped over Lycra to create a constricting, frotting nexus of synthetic fabric.
To be fair to bib-tights, much of the unpleasantness of this morning’s riding sensations was due to the sudden addition of other layers until today not needed: a long sleeved undervest, thicker gloves and, least agreeable of all, neoprene overshoes with their stiff sides hampering ankle flexion. Supposing I do it…
Never mind; within a few days I will once more not only be used to riding encased in mutliple layers but, if the weather gets any colder, actually enjoying it. And, of course, there’s the first ride without them next spring.