We were riding high at 12,000ft in the Peruvian Andes when the truck driver pulled over. As he wound down his window, we wondered what was coming.
Was he angry with us? Had we infuriated him by cycling on his road? Was he a desert serial killer about to butcher us with a piece of roadside cactus? We needn’t have worried. He smiled and lobbed a standard issue trucker’s reflective vest down to me.
'Cuidado', he told us – be careful out there. He almost hadn’t seen us and wanted us to stay safe.
I wore that reflective vest for nearly 5,000km. On a year-long ride, it came to symbolise the importance of the right kit.
It’s a lesson we remember every day at VeloVixen. Today we spend less time up Andes and more time scouring the cycling world for high quality women’s clothing. Kit that allows female riders to love cycling 12 months a year, staying warm and dry, comfortable and safe. And stylish! Because crucially, we look for kit that wouldn’t suit a Peruvian truck driver.
When we founded VeloVixen in 2011, we had to scratch around a bit. We knew the momentum was underway within women’s cycling, but too often we found that the style element was missing.
That’s all changed and our collection of kit has grown, and continues to do so, with innovative, ingenious and very beautiful solutions to a problem as old as the bicycle itself: how to combine safety and comfort, and still look the business. That’s especially tough in the changeable British climate.
So, how to get through cycling in unpredictable elements in style? Whatever kind of riding you do, here are our top 7 tips:
Often the old tricks are the best. Put on 2 or 3 layers on a chilly day rather than one thick one. They create pockets of warm, insulating air, and you can peel them off as you warm up.
2. Merino Wool
100% natural, 100% magical – we wore merino on snowy mountain passes and sweltering desert roads. It regulates your temperature better than any artificial fibre. And you won’t smell.
3. Water Proof vs Water Resistant
Know the difference – waterproof kit should keep you dry in all conditions; water resistant breathes much better and will keep you dry in drizzle or a sharp shower.
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Cold hands, feet and ears can make the most beautiful ride an unhappy experience. Keep them covered, especially in the wet.
5. Cover your Core
Keep your core is warm and rest of you shouldn’t be far behind. Gilets are a brilliantly adaptable lightweight solution to keep your midriff dry and windproofed.
6. Arm Warmers
If you haven’t tried them, you’ll be amazed by the difference a good pair makes. Wear them as you head out of the door on a chilly morning and as you warm up roll them down to your wrists to let the cool air reach your arms.
7. Bright vs Reflective
Remember that bright colours are only useful by day – at night, it’s lights and reflective material that will get you seen.
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