real life cycling

How to keep warm on the turbo trainer (with help from Rapha)


Here in the UK you may have noticed we’ve had some weather recently. Largely in the form of snow, wind, and minus temperatures.

We Brits, who love a good chat about the weather, now have enough material to maintain conversation at even the most awkward of social situations for several weeks.

It’s essentially a massive windfall of small talk.

For the cyclists, obviously we’ve seen our riding opportunities reduced. There are those who need to go for a ride in -4 and a foot of snow, but they can’t help it; they clearly have much to prove and are busy seizing an opportunity.

And good luck to ‘em.

I, on the other hand, am in my forties, and have had more than my fair share of near-death experiences out on the bike. The weather has nearly killed me on a number of occasions, largely because I’ve attacked it head on to impress other people with my “hardness.”

I have nothing to prove.

I’m not knocking this approach – it’s an essential part of any cyclist’s development. How can you cry off from a ride, for reasons of weather, with your head held high, without a healthy stock of suffering anecdotes to fall back on?


Blue lips. Hand like frozen claws. Uncontrollable shivering mid-pedal stroke. Tears in the post-ride shower. Once you’ve ticked all these boxes you have earnt the right to bail out of a cold ride.

Think of it like a loyalty card that needs ten stamps to get you out of one nasty ride scott-free.

During this cold snap, though, I’ve noticed something new.

Many cyclists are retreating to their garage or shed to bash out some tedious mileage on the turbo trainer; nothing unusual there. But so cold and windy is this weather that what is normally a fundamentally sweaty affair seems to be requiring kit.

Not just kit, but winter kit. Long sleeve jerseys, gloves, and thermal headbands have been employed. The cooling fan has been swapped for the warming fan heater. Cups of tea have been on hand for reasons of morale.

On a turbo trainer.


As one fellow cyclist observed, through three feet of snow: “This weather is like some kind of disaster movie unfolding in slow motion.”

And you know what: if ever we were looking for a sign of the apocalypse surely a group of cyclists hammering away on turbo trainers clad in full winter kit is exactly that. It’s like the natural order has been upended.

Whatever next?

Probably Rapha bringing out a “turbo” range, is what. This is a cycling activity in a set of specific conditions that doesn’t yet have its own set of niche kit.

They’re not going to miss that opportunity.

(Image: via

9 comments on “How to keep warm on the turbo trainer (with help from Rapha)

  1. Rapha are totally missing a trick here. Just waiting for them to release their “turbo specific bib shorts” next winter…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. biking2work

    How would the advertising work? No one would see the brand name on the side of the bib shorts inside the garage would they. A coloured Rapha branded light display pack with every set of kit sold at a members sale could be a solution. The brand could be beamed from the driveway strategically onto the garage door for all and sundry to see. I have just patented this idea so they can’t steal the concept (in case I ever get a garage or a turbo trainer)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Looking forward to some black and white shots of aspirational man caves.

      I’ve tattooed a neon pink band on my bicep and neon pink stripe down the centre of my back so even when semi naked I still look the business. Oh and I’ve got those Bradley Wiggins mod inspired multi-coloured concentric circles tattooed around my nipples so everyone knows I’m cool even when I’m sweating. What? Oh yeah. Too much information.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I like it. A bit like the Bat signal-thingy? Rapha-man.


      • biking2work

        Maybe. Rapha-man may not be substantial enough to offer a significant silhouette in the night sky. But the words RAPHA! emblazoned in bold letters could work. Or #yes(cycling)comissioner? could be a more subtle message in (for example) places like Manchester


  3. Judging by the strategically empty shelves in supermarkets up here in Scotland, I can only assume turbo training cyclists north of the border are filling the bidons with warm semi-skimmed and wrapping themselves in Hovis to maintain temperature. At least that’s how I have decided to explain the shortages.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, is that right!? I imagine Hovis would be just the job. It would certainly have to be something wholemeal, I think. I imagine it would have better insulating properties, somehow.


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