My winter bike preparation has started. I was hoping to have bits and bobs on order already just in case the snow sneaks in before the end of October which fortunately seems impossible to believe at the moment as it is super-mild; I usually order my tyres from Germany and they take a little while to get here so it’s good not to leave things to the last minute and I could do with at least one new tyre. Last year’s rear tyre is missing a few studs after my chain came off, tangled with the frame and locked up my rear wheel ripping them out. That’s combined with the usual sideways displacement and elongation of the stud holes the rear suffers from (I’m obviously heavier than I think). Anyway, I’ve had to postpone all purchases due to four-wheeled vehicles that are far more expensive to repair than the two-wheeled push propelled variety. So fingers crossed the weather does hold out because I have nothing I can ride at the moment; even if I did re-use last years tyres, I have no wheels to put them on!

My main concern after last winter was doing something to sort my forks out - I’m not so keen on being unable to see, stop and steer again so if I can eliminate any of them that will be great. I don’t think there is anything I can do to stop my eyelashes sticking together in the freezing fog, nor can I really guarantee my brake cable won’t freeze up, but I made sure I’m not running a suicide hub anymore so when my brake cable does freeze up I know this year I’ll be able to slow down. As far as the steering goes, I tried to get my forks apart last year, but no amount of hammering would budge them. This year I’ve gone for a “levering” approach on the compression ring which has got them further out than last time and I think coupled with a bit more hammering it’ll come free. I won’t be able to replace the headset bearings, but having them apart will allow me to reassemble them coupled with as much grease as I can squeeze in, which should keep the moisture out and prevent freezing; I stumbled across a stash of grease cartridges in one of the old barns so have enough to keep me going for years now!

It looks like I will be giving getting a better rear light a miss for the third consecutive year, but I think I’ve finally solved the vibration issues that result in it randomly turning itself off by using a couple of little plaiting bands (thanks ponies!) to hold it more securely in its mount. And I was thinking my front lights would have to do, but I’ve actually managed to disassemble the dodgy one and get the lens out so I could clean it from all the rain that had worked its way in and then dried on the inside fogging it.