The first ‘real’ signs of it today. I’m not talking about the miserable, mild dampness that we brits suffer eternally. No. I’m talking about powder blue skies skies and a thick coating of Jack Frost’s finest. These conditions are among the finest for off-road cycling. A nip in the air. Superb visibility on mountain tops. Frozen mud like white tipped breeze blocks. Cosy log fires in dimly lit pubs. A pint of porter and a plate of the chef’s finest, a chinwag with mates, a short ride home and a long kip later. This is what winter cycling is all about for me (or at least it will be once the cross season finishes and as long as cold conditions prevail). The city is a different matter of course. Dress for the elements but sweat profusely in between, hot footing it from building to bike to street to building. Layers are the answer. Always layers. Let’s hope that this winter we can enjoy clear conditions with a wintry sparkle without modifying the bike to resemble the one above (fat tyre cyclists exempt of course).