What a baptism of fire (maybe that should read cold) it has been for two Aussies from sub-tropical Queensland who for the past year have lived in Bangkok, the hottest capital city in the world.
While the first eight days of cycling on our e-bike adventure to set a new world long distance record have gone exactly to plan with 676.03kms travelled, it has been Britain’s infamous weather that has proven to be our biggest challenge so far.
In a word it has been freezing, so bad in fact that even the Poms are complaining about the unseasonably cold conditions.
On a daily basis we have been wearing every piece of warm clothing we possess while cycling, with the same clothing also being worn at night – all night in fact, even while in our sleeping bags – in the all too often below freezing conditions.
Two mornings in a row while camped in the Bath district we woke to find our tent frozen solid, while in Salcombe Regis just outside of Sidmouth on the English Channel – where this blog is being written – it is not only freezing cold, but the wind is howling and the rain is pouring down.
So what do you do when the weather decides to throw everything it has at you? Mrs e-Bike Cycle Tourist had a day watching movies on her computer, working on our website and generally fussing around in the tent, while I put on all of my wet weather cycling gear to enjoy a day of cycling without having to tow our fully loaded Tout Terrain cycle trailers behind our Haibike e-bikes.
The result at the end of an incredibly satisfying day of e-biking was 86.13kms cycled in continuously pouring rain and near freezing conditions, but more importantly at this early stage of the cycle tour was confirmation that all of the wet weather cycling gear we brought with us not only keeps us dry and warm, but that our overall wet weather cycling system works well.
By this I mean we have finally worked out a way to keep our feet dry and warm while cycling in cold and wet conditions.
As anyone who has cycle toured in the past knows only too well, there is nothing worse than cycling in the rain with wet and cold feet.
In the past I have tried just about every solution to the problem that has been suggested to me. So-called waterproof over boots – absolutely useless. Waterproof shoes – absolutely useless. Plastic shopping bags – good for a short period of time, but in the long term absolutely useless.
The solution, and it’s a product I didn’t even know existed until recently, has been Dex Shell brand waterproof socks used in combination with plastic sandals.
While the theory sounded promising – two ordinary pairs of socks as a base layer on your feet, the waterproof socks over the top and plastic sandals used instead of traditional shoes – there is nothing better than a real wet weather test drive to try out a theory.
And believe me there could be no better test situation than the 86.13kms of cycling I did today in atrocious weather.
The result when I finally rolled back into our campground? Warm, dry feet, with the waterproof Dex Shell socks not only doing the job asked of them, but surpassing all expectations.
In combination with our Gore Tex waterproof jackets, waterproof cycling pants and Sealskinz brand waterproof cycling gloves, I was not only dry and comfortable on the inside at the completion of the ride, but had a huge smile on my face.
This, I can assure you, is a situation never previously experienced in years of cycle touring and cycling in general after encountering cold and wet cycling conditions.
Clearly any similar conditions encountered on the rest of our trip now hold no freezing, wet feet fears.