Winter! It's that time of year where finding the motivation to get out riding in the cool early morning can be tough. In many places around Australia, it is starting to get cold; however, that doesn't have to stop you from getting out on your bike and making the most of it. Follow these 5 tips to ensure a healthy and successful riding experience this winter.
1. Cold Weather Clothing
When dressing to remain warm whilst riding in winter, don’t forget to think about the main parts of the body that heat escapes from: the head, hands, feet and torso. Given that a large percentage of body heat escapes from your head, wearing either a head warmer or ear warmers under your helmet will ensure you remain warm. Long fingered gloves to protect your hands are a must, and thermal cycling socks are also essential in protecting your feet and toes from the cold.
Depending on how cold your environment is, thermal shoe covers could also be a great option for ensuring foot warmth. To keep your torso warm, wear numerous layers including a lightweight, breathable outer jacket that is both water and wind resistant. Moisture wicking fabrics will help to keep you drier and warmer. Use leg warmers to protect your knees when the temperature drops below 12 degrees as a general rule. Check out our great winter apparel here.
2. Maintain Your Bike
Given that the riding conditions during winter are tough on the rider, it only makes sense that they are equally harsh on your mode of transport! Make sure you keep your bike in tip top shape, with regular cleaning of all components, including the chain, gears, brakes and wheels. This also includes lubricating the chain and gears on a more frequent basis. It is also a good idea to consider getting a service at your local bike shop at the beginning and end of winter to help it remain in great condition.
3. Increase Visibility
This tip applies for riding in any conditions but becomes particularly important in winter when visibility is low and weather conditions are particularly poor, resulting in more traffic on the road. Ensure that you are always wearing highly visible clothing, and are making good use of reflectors and lights on your bike to significantly improve your visibility.
4. Use an Indoor Trainer
At the end of the day, cold, unbearable conditions are an unfortunate fact of winter. As cycling enthusiasts though, we just can’t let this stop us from getting a ride in. Given that your effectiveness in the saddle will be lower in cold and wet conditions, riding on an indoor trainer is the perfect solution, especially if you ride in competitive cycling events. Not only is an indoor trainer fantastic for high-intensity rides, it also provides a safer and warmer riding environment, allowing you to achieve the same training effect from the comfort of your house.
Another great benefit of a trainer, is that it still allows you to cycle in the elements, however you can be more selective about when that is. You can use your trainer for high-intensity workouts, whilst your outdoor rides for low to moderate intensity, or even leisurely rides. Check out our great range of Indoor Trainers here.
5. Plan Around the Weather
Whenever possible, try to avoid riding in very adverse conditions. Look at weather forecasts and plan your rides for the days and times that the weather is favourable if it is possible to do so. When you are out in cooler conditions, try to do the first half of your ride into a headwind and have the wind at your back for the return leg. This allows you to take on a headwind whilst you are fresh and energetic and reap the reward of a tailwind on your way back home. This tips applies in all conditions but is of particular importance in winter as it means you can avoid icy winds during the second half of your ride as you have started to tire.