It always pays to have your dryrobe with you, especially if you know you might experience colder weather at some point in a trip. I wore mine onto the aircraft on a recent trip to Serbia to save space in my bag. My mates laughed at me initially but it was them who would soon be asking to borrow it to keep themselves warm even when traveling in our van.
We were in Serbia to do a few mountain bike trails including one that meant ascending a mountain to 1830 metres. Admittedly we drove to within 5km of the summit due to time restraints but did ride up the rest. As soon as I go out of the van I made the decision not to go – I was so cold. It was zero degrees at ground level earlier in the day so I can only guess that it was minus 5 at the altitude we were at. I was literally shivering uncontrollably having just got back from 2 weeks in the high thirties on another trip even though I was in my winter cycling kit. The thought of a 90 minute ride just scared me. In this terrain you need to have your wits about you and not have your mind deviate to focus on how cold you are.
Just one look around and I could see the scenery was stunning and I could not bear the thought of not riding and providing my eyes with a feast of autumnal mountain vistas. A sign informed us that we were in the middle of bear country as well which excited me and raised my adrenaline levels I had to ride and the only option was to ride wearing my dryrobe. I had not done this before and am not aware of anyone who has so had some concerns – would it rub on the back wheel or got caught up? The answer was a resolute no.
Not only did I do the climb but also some pretty technical descents (one rider fell off over the bars twice) with no issues at all. I was able to keep my handheld GoPro in the pocket along with my phone with easy access to take photos. My whole body was kept at just the right temperature with no overheating as I had the zip undone slightly. My legs stayed warm as the dryrobe provided coverage so the only part of me that felt the conditions were my toes but I accustomed to that now.
This has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me now with winter riding. Antarctica on a fat bike maybe….
Photo Credits Scott Whitlock.