When cycling during winter there’s nothing worse than feeling cold. It’s uncomfortable, saps your energy and takes all the joy out of being on a bike in the first place.
I’ve been cycle commuting across London for 10 years now and I’ve had time, through trial and error, to work out what works best for me on those chilly mornings when I’d rather be tucked up in bed. I generally wear fleecy longs, thick woollen hiking socks and trainers (I don’t do the cycling shoe thing on my commute) to keep my bottom half warm, and up top I wear a wicking t-shirt (long or short sleeved depending on how cold it is), a fleece, a waterproof/windproof jacket, gloves and helmet.
The only part that ever feels exposed is my face, my ears and my neck. (I have long hair but tie it up in a pony tail when I cycle, although, occasionally out of sheer desperation, I’ve been known to keep it down on those really icy mornings simply to keep me warm.)
And then, only a few weeks ago, a colleague joked that maybe I should wear a balaclava and be done with it. “Or what about a buff?” suggested another. And so this is how I came to try the Reflective BUFF®, a “tube” of material which you wear around your neck to keep the draughts at bay.
What I like about the Reflective BUFF®
- It’s lightweight (just 41g), so it’s comfortable and unobtrusive.
- It’s long (52cm), which means you can tuck plenty of it under your collar and pull it up to cover your mouth and nose, if you so wish. (An instruction sheet that came with mine suggests that you can wear it in plenty of different ways, such as a head covering, hair tie or face mask.)
- It’s soft (it’s made out of 100% polyester micro fibre), so doesn’t feel scratchy against your skin.
- It has two retro-reflective strips on either side, which can help make you more visible in low light conditions.
- You can throw it in the washing machine and it comes out looking like new. I’ve washed mine several times now in non-bio detergent and the reflective strips don’t appear to have deteriorated in any way.
- It keeps you really warm! Wearing it has been a bit of a revelation — I had no idea so much cold air was going down the back of my neck until I started wearing this.
What I don’t like about the Reflective BUFF®
- It’s slightly too big — I reckon about 2.5cm off the existing 24.5cm width would make it the perfect size for my head/neck. Perhaps a ladies’ version is needed?
- The reflective strip can feel a little cold against your face, but this is easily solved by making sure the strips are on either side of your head when you put it on.
I really like this buff — but let’s be honest, it’d be hard not to like a piece of super-soft material that keeps your neck/face warm. It’s promptly become part of my regular winter cycling kit — and I’m beginning to wonder how I’ve cycle commuted for so long without one.
Where can you buy?
My Reflective BUFF® was supplied to me for review purposes by Kitshack.com.