Being Prepared

by notfastenough   March 5, 2012  

When I woke up yesterday, the weather was looking pretty miserable. Cold day, and rain forecast right through until after the ride would end, so out I went in roubaix tights, overshoes, 2 base layers, jersey, rain jacket etc etc (as was my riding partner), and carrying a pocketful of Nutri-grains and a Banana.

However, the point is, we encountered this young lad, maybe 20 yrs old, in shorts, short sleeve jersey, rain jacket (it was the transparent type so I could see his jersey), fingerless gloves and summer shoes/socks. He was looking for the start line for the Poloncini Winter Sprinter, and was lost maybe 5-7 miles from the start line, with about 20 minutes to go. No spare kit or food on him that we could see. We gave him directions and on he went.

Heading into Cheshire, we encountered sleet then snow, and turned back once it starting sticking to the rural roads and making the descents risky. My torso and legs were fine, but I found the limits of my gloves and overshoes unfortunately, feeling very numb.

Anyway, I can't help wondering whether the young lad is ok/suffering from Hypothermia this morning. Presumably if he was in a club, other members would have had a word previously about appropriate clothing etc.

Is this common on sportives? Do you have any stories of being unprepared/ill-equipped that you can share?

6 user comments

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It might have been all he owned, a full set of winter clothes and shoes does cost a noticeable amount of money. Nice to read of your concern though and good he was headed for an organised ride, so he will have support.

Cannondale CAAD10, Condor Terra-X and an orange Brompton.
Ride for East London Velo

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posted by zzgavin [208 posts]
5th March 2012 - 12:22


My ill prep moment came on the mtb. I was going for a quick spin with a mate and he picked me up in his van and we were going to ride along the towpath with a stop for beer, etc.

I left my small pack with puncture kit, tool, etc on my garage floor. I thought no point going back for it as it was a short ride anyway.

We hit heavy traffic and my mate decides to then drive miles in the other direction to a forest for a 'proper' offroad ride.

Sure enough my front brake failed and he had a slow puncture. Our quick ride was epic but only because of the lack of equipment.

posted by Super Domestique [1686 posts]
5th March 2012 - 12:29


I was out yesterday with a group of friends all dressed up in what we hoped was enough to suit the weather, it turns out it still wasn't, but as we butted onto a sportive route we saw enough riders in a sparsity of clothing that had us sucking cold wet air through our teeth.

I wouldn’t say that what we might consider poor clothing choice is anything specific to sportives, I’ve been caught out enough times over the years in the wrong clothing, and this was before sportives had been invented, it's just part of the experience of being on a bike in a changeable climate. To get to a level and knowledge of 'being prepared' you have to suffer a whole series of 'unprepared' experiences, gradually learning what to wear and what to do to survive each ride and weather situation, as they say - "Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions"

you can advise people what to wear and they can ignore you, tell you to mind your own bloody business, or they can be perfectly happy with what they've got on, and sometimes they just have to find out themselves what works and what doesn’t, I belong in the (probably old-fashioned) last viewpoint

posted by VecchioJo [805 posts]
5th March 2012 - 12:38


In my early days I went out with a club; anyone dressed 'very' inappropriately would have been sent home! and more than 2 punctures means your tyres are too light (you get left behind). Tough love and harsh but fair. Think some of the problem is the pro's added to a lack of imagination ie we see them on telly lightly dressed and people copy without realising the pro's have a following car with discarded clothing etc in it! As has been said you learn quickly in this game....or suffer!

posted by SideBurn [908 posts]
5th March 2012 - 13:28


Some people feel the cold more than others. I've already abandoned all my winter gear for my 7am commute - I'm now just in jogging bottoms and the cotton shirt I wear for work. No base layers, no overshoes, no gloves, just a set of waterproofs in my bag in case it starts bucketing down.

I can't say I've been noticeably cold or wanted anything else with me recently, I soon warm up once I'm moving.

posted by Mr Will [91 posts]
5th March 2012 - 18:34


@ Mr Will, still zero when I leave for work at 4am!! So still winter gear for me Wink

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posted by giff77 [1160 posts]
5th March 2012 - 22:42