Coming up to the holiday season always draws a host of lists and reflections on the year. So to go with the flow and jump on the bandwagon I'll post some of mine which are all pulled directly from the University of Life.
No1. Emergency Tyre Boots
Don't you just love a gift that keeps on giving? You can buy a couple of commercial solutions to this need, and when it happens you've normally had the crap scared out of you, but I am going to offer a couple of other solutions. When a sidewall goes it certainly makes a bang. Duct Tape, the stuff is legendary and will work. If you ride on roads with a poor surface it is highly recommended to have some stashed on the bike. Like any self respecting road geek the real question is not of use but where to put it so the bike still looks stunning. My tip is under the saddle. You can use various methods to attach and it will depend slightly on what saddle you have. The second option I had forced on me while I was on a ride in the Spring. The sidewall had gone and I was stuck by the side of the road wondering how I was going to get home (home was 20km away). Then it came to me, I reached round into my back pocket and consumed the contents of my gel packet. Once I had done this I took my keys to split the pack and Voila a makeshift Tyre Boot to get me home. Did it work, YES, but trust me on the Duck Tape, it works much better.
When the cold hits its easy to leave the tub/tube of hot stuff alone and save it only for days when you have your legs exposed. From my experience you'll be missing out on a whole extra layer of protection in Winter. There isn't a perfect tight out there, one that can be used in all conditions so using some warming product on the legs adds another barrier to the elements. It will help in the cold and the wet and allows you to pedal for that bit longer. The other benefit, and for me the really important one, is that your muscles are colder and shorter in Winter due to the weather. Adding a layer and massaging it in increases blood flow and limits the chances of damaging the legs. Try it out, I know the difference in not following this method. BTW if you use a bib tight with a chamois, remember creme first and balm second, not the other way around.
No3. Extremity Wear
Gloves, socks, hats and overshoes all come in options for every season. I can't recommend highly enough that you amass as wide a collection for the multiple riding conditions you'll face through the year. As a rule I'd recommend that you get options in the following categories Windproof, Thermal, Waterproof and Lightweight, but the trick is to apply these rules for all of the riding seasons. Spring and Fall will be the same, Winter requires a bit more ammo and Summer has it's own problems. Have this in mind next time you buy and you won't end up with three of the same type but you'll have a wardrobe full of useful kit.