Overshoes. The ugliest, least desirable, and most practical piece of kit in any cyclist’s wardrobe. Only the helmet (aka the mushroom head) comes close.
And for the record, if you’re keeping your overshoes in the wardrobe you’re kidding yourself.
The wardrobe is for sleek and silky bib-shorts, patterned race-cut jerseys, and classy weather-proof layers. Your overshoes should be in the shed, the garage, or the dungeon (or wherever else you keep your bike), along with your tools and spare inner tubes.
Having said that, if you have a dungeon you probably own lots of tight rubbery clothing. You probably relish the chance to legitimately wear it in public. Maybe you get all-year use out of your overshoes, along with your matching rubber face-mask and handcuffs.
If Castelli haven’t already got an aerodynamic gimp mask in development, its surely on the way (although, like all Castelli, whatever size you get will inevitably be a bit too tight).
I, on the other hand, am not a pervert.
I buy, and wear, overshoes, because I value the use of my feet. Simple as that. I derive no pleasure from either the firm restrictiveness or the feeling against my skin.
Come autumn each year I’m forced to scour the market, feigning interest and pretending to favour one pair over the other. The ones which look least like wellington boots and will keep my feet warm down to about seven degrees C are about as good as it gets. The bar is low.
If there are a pair that work in lower temperatures than that, then kindly point me in their direction. I can’t be the only person who supplements their neoprene foot covers with cling film, tin foil…anything (bacon..?), in fact, which might give me a fighting chance of ending the winter season with two happily frostbite free feet.
The fact that I find myself performing this rigmarole every autumn is the final kick in the cobblers. Due to the naughty winter weather and it’s propensity for throwing all manner of mud, rain, grit and grime at the humble cyclist, come spring, the overshoes are tatty, at best.
Happy to see the back of them I stuff them down deep into a plastic storage container marked “winter kit” in my garage, without so much as pre-hibernation wipe-down.
Come the next autumn they’re filthy, they stink, and their integrity has been compromised somewhat by the fact that are actually, literally, rotten.
You might say I should take more care of them. Scrub them thoroughly with anti-bacterial cleaning products.
Remove the bacon rashers at the very least.
But such care and attention would give the impression that I place the overshoes on the same pedestal as the rest of my (pristine) kit. Which I don’t.
I hate them, and they hate me.
That’s just the way it is.