Seven Ways to Keep Riding Through this Winter

Don’t wait until January to start training for next summer, get ahead and start now before the coldest winter weather sets in. Mix things up too, just to keep you fresh, by adding some new things like off-road riding or running. Most importantly recognise that riding in the cold is challenging and needs more thought and preparation. To help keep you riding here are Sasha’s Seven Winter Riding tips...

  1. Buy good quality winter kit to make sure you stay warm whatever the weather throws at you. Avoid wearing black in winter and choose red or fluorescent coloured clothing including helmet and gloves. Layers are vital, starting with a wicking base layer, fleece-lined jersey and windproof jacket  (that can pack down and fit into your jersey pocket) and make sure there are no gaps. Winter three-quarter or full length tights are essential and don’t try and tough it out in shorts as cold weather is bad for knee joints. Pay attention to wearing lined gloves and water resistant socks such as Sealskinz.
  2. Keep water and dirt away by getting your local bike mechanic to fit mud guards, this is vital if you ride in a group. Check your tyres for wear and tear and fit winter rubber if necessary as the last thing you want to have to cope with is a puncture.
  3. Fit a small light to the rear of your helmet as well as your bike as it’s all too easy for the bike light to become obscured in winter. A front light is also a good idea but make sure both can be set to flashing mode to make you even more visible to other road users.
  4. Try to ride in a group or with friends in the winter for company and safety should you have a mechanical or worse fall off. It’s great when riding buddies are of a similar standard but as long as you are not left standing waiting at the top of climb in the cold for too long don’t worry. You can always ride down and meet them, then ride up again for extra training!
  5. Take some food with you as even if you’re planning to stop, you never know if that rural café is definitely going to be open, especially at this time of year. There is nothing worse than getting two hours into a ride, miles away from home and getting hungry, with no hope of food. It can be harder to work out when you need to drink when it’s cold, as you’re less likely to feel thirsty but make sure you’re regularly taking on fluid.
  6. Use long steady winter miles to build an endurance base for your riding. This is the foundation that you can put all your sprint, time trial and interval training on top of later.
  7. Finally, stay safe as a priority, even if that means cancelling your ride. Check the weather the day beforehand and if it’s going to be a few degrees above zero then don’t go out unless it’s off-road. If it’s frozen then definitely switch to mountain biking and stay off the road.


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