Are you ready for winter cycling? Winter is almost here and with COVID-19 restrictions starting to be removed across the country. It’s the ideal time to have your rig ready for the cooler, foggy months.
What do you have to do to keep riding, when it gets colder? Learn to dress on the bike for fun, for example. Even though it will mean investing in winter clothing, it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Try out these tips to keep warm and make smart decisions when cycling on the road throughout this winter.
Rule of thumb – Winter Cycling:
While training for a cold-weather ride, a simple rule of thumb is to start only a little cold. After only 10 minutes of pedalling, you’ll warm up quite beautifully. If you overdress, it can be uncomfortable to overheat, so you can have to try a little before you get it right.
Tip 1: There is no bad weather, only bad clothes.
Rule number one is to layer your core one for staying warm on the bike. It will not only keep you warmer than only choosing a single thick jacket, it will also make it easier to adapt to temperature changes. Use: Cover your core with:
- A base layer which wicks away humidity.
- A mid-layer with good thermal insulation properties for heat retention.
- An external layer of windshield cloth to block cold air and wind
If it is very cold (below 30 degrees) you may also want to suggest layering your winter tights and arm warmers under your jacket with leg warmers over. Pack each one of them with an extra pair (they ‘re convenient to carry) so you can change off the pair you ‘re wearing mid-ride if they get muddy.
Tip 2: Stay Motivated
Set up frequent winter cycling with mates, make strong pacts with your closest riding buddies and stick to a strict regime. Don’t forget to maintain 1.5m.
Set reminders via apps such as Zwift Mobile Link if virtual training is your thing, get involved in daily group rides, and stick to minimum training hours per week whether you’re on the indoor trainer or on a bike.
Tip 3: Wear a Cap
Approximately 30 per cent of heat from the body is lost through the head. A vast supply of blood circulates through this region, so keeping your head warm will keep your body warm.
Differing types of head protection may be used depending on the extent of the temperature. Ear bands or ear warmers serve a good start. A synthetic fabric skull cap is a fine, lightweight remedy.
Tip 4: A bottle of warm tea
When it is really cold, cold and even room temperature fluids aren’t a good idea. Alternatively, keep warm by filling an insulated water bottle with warm tea — a trick widely used by the pros early and late season.
Tip 4: EAT EAT EAT
Eating before a ride is always important, but it is particularly important during winter. You do not only need the fuel for exercise, but even the food you eat can go a long way to getting you warm in the coldest temperatures. Before you ride, make sure you are getting a hearty meal (such as oatmeal) and carry extra food with you on the bike to stay on top.
Tip 5: Be seen
Winter months mean shorter days and temperatures that are frequently gloomy and overcast. It is surprising to see cyclists riding on busy streets or trails with no lights or inadequate lights.
So, make sure you have bright, visible front and rear lights are crucial and a legal requirement. Also, recommend visibility-enhancing reflective accessories and clothing.
Tip 6: Don’t forget your sunscreen
Although it is winter, when riding during the day, it is still important to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin, including your face. This is certainly relevant when there is snow on the ground, because snow can reflect almost 90 percent of UV radiation.
During those frigid winter rides, your skin can also dry out badly, so applying a protective such as sunscreen, moisturiser, or even vaseline will help keep your skin moisturised. Don’t forget the balm on your lip, too.
Hopefully these tips should help you keep pedalling even when the weather is pretty rough. Even though, let’s face it, a rough bike ride is better still than being squashed in a packed public transport or trapped in a car’s peak traffic like everybody else.
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