With the winter season now fully upon us there are a few things us cyclists need to do to keep our bikes and bodies feeling happy. I think it is fair to say that in winter people choose to cycle less. The weather maybe a major factor, it might be that people fear the road more due to shorter daylight hours or the bad road conditions. But there are a fair few ways to keep you on the road and keep that level of fitness that summer brings up.
There a two kinds of cyclists that cycle all year round. Firstly the keen leisure type that gets there weekly workout on the bike and the hard core commuter. The commuter has a hard time in winter, having to layer up, combined with a decent hard-wearing outer shell to cover their normal work attire along with some wind and waterproof gloves (if they are sensible). But still on top of this has to find the courage to make their way outside every morning and get on their bike to work. There are ways to make your life easier as a commuter; one is to get your kit right and second choosing the bike and components that work for you. Then with the right clothing and you will find the ride comfortable and easy.
Staying happy is much easier with a good pair of gloves and a good hat that will protect not only your head but your ears as well. The strong wind and cold rain will be avoided further with waterproof shoe coverings, which also means you can still wear shoes you like-within reason.
For the leisure cyclist or road rider here are a couple tips and pointers to help keep your fitness up through the winter.
Set yourself a goal for the winter, this could be to ride 3 times in the week or just get out on your bike and ride 10 miles. Every goal will help keep you motivated and to keep putting the miles in. There is always the option of a turbo trainer if you don’t want to get wet, cold and dirty every time you wanna just get in a quick ride after work. A turbo trainer can be great to keep your overall fitness up, but it can be a bit mind numbing and harder to get motivated to get onto everyday. Nothing compares to actual road riding, so what I find the most motivating and fun is get out with your friends, make a date to go riding once a week with a couple buddies and you will be clocking up the miles in no time. Something to look forward to, like a decent bicycle tour to warmer climates is also a good way of keeping you into and on the bike.
As for the bicycle itself, I find the best thing to do when winter rolls around is to invest in a good set of tyres. I am currently using Gatorskin hardshells on my everyday bike and so far they have stood up to the weather perfectly without a single puncture. Also get your hands on a good set of mudguards, there is nothing worse than getting caught out in the rain. When it’s not raining mudguards are great so you don’t get the dirty water mark all the way up your back from ground water that never has the chance to dry out. There are many smart and innovated designs that won’t cutter the beautiful look you’ve worked so hard on. This can also be a great excuse to spend some monies to further pimp your bike!
Also keeping your bike serviced and up-to-date makes it more enjoyable and easy to ride.
There are obviously lots of other ways to still enjoy cycling in the winter months, mountain biking and cyclo-cross help to keep the fitness level up while making the most of what the weather brings. There are now more options for the track, as soon as the new London velodrome opens its door to the public. There has been talk of a velodrome opening in Cambridge, but doubt it will go through.
For help with getting your bike up to scratch and weather ready pop into the shop and have a look at some winter tyres and the wide range of mudguards we have in.