10 tips to keep you cycling through winter
Cycling through the winter months doesn’t sound appealing to everyone, but a winter bike ride with the right cycling kit and accessories can actually be really fun. Whether you’re a mountainbiker or someone who racks up the miles on a road bike, you can continue to enjoy cycling through the colder months. And you know: winter miles = summer smiles…
To keep you cycling happily through the winter, we’ve written this blog with tips for cyclists who like to brave the cold.
Probably the most important (and most obvious) tip for making winter cycling comfortable is: keep yourself warm! If it gets cold, wet or otherwise uncomfortable on the bike, even the die-hards will find it tough. Make sure you wrap up well, from top to toe.
Tip 1: Avoid the cold by wearing a cycling cap, beanie or buff
Did you know that you lose the most body heat through your head? Moisture and wind make your head cool more quickly. For that reason it’s sensible to wear a neck warmer and/or something on your head, under your helmet. A good cycling cap, buff or beanie will keep your head and neck not only warm, but much dryer too.
Tip 2: Put on warm, dry and breathable cycling clothing
You also need to wear insulating cycling kit to keep the rest of your body sufficiently warm. There’s no shortage of options when it comes to winter cycle wear. Besides a nice, warm cycling jersey and cycling jacket, make sure you have a good pair of winter cycling longs. Which winter cycle wear is best for different temperatures is included in this winter cycle wear buyers guide.
Cold is okay, but if it’s raining cats and dogs then cycling rain gear is called for. In addition to waterproof clothing, you also get water resistant clothing. The belief that waterproof clothing makes you sweaty is very much a thing of the past. You can read more about rain gear for cycling in our buyers guide.
Tip 3: Keep your feet warm by wearing winter cycling shoes or overshoes.
Cold feet is another reason why people prefer to leave their bikes in the garage over winter, but it’s really not necessary if you have a pair of winter cycling shoes. Winter MTB shoes and winter road shoes are wind- and waterproof so that you can enjoy cycling without frozen toes.
If you want to be absolutely sure of having warm feet, then get overshoes. They’ll keep the wet and the cold out, and have the added advantage of keeping your cycling shoes nice and clean. You can read more about the different type of overshoes in our cycling overshoe buyers guide.
Tip 4: Keep your hands warm and dry with cycling gloves
No cyclist likes to have cold hands. Luckily the is a wide range of cycling gloves to choose from, including ones for winter. And just like with other winter cycle wear, you have loads of options here. You can get superwarm, completely waterproof gloves if you want to brave the worst snow storms on your bike.
Good cycling gloves will not just keep your hands warm and dry, they’ll also give you better grip on the bars when it’s wet. Another advantage of cycling gloves is that they have padding to protect your hands and wrists from vibrations, which normal gloves don’t have. You can also move your fingers more easily than you can in normal gloves.
Tip 5: Wear reflective clothing
To be seen is absolutely essential for cyclists in the winter months. In these darker months cyclists are very difficult to see in the traffic. For this reason, wearing clothing with reflective elements, also called Hi-Vis cycle wear is a good idea. That way you can keep yourself and other road users safe.
Reflective elements don’t just ensure that you are better seen by other road users – it also helps them get an idea of how fast you are going. So, for your own safety, it’s a good idea to wear reflective cycling gear.
Tip 6: Use good bike lights
In addition to reflective gear, good bike lights are also integral to your safety. In the first place, it’s nice to be able to see around you well, especially if you’re going fast on a mountain bike or road bike. But even more important is that other road users can see you well. Read our bike lights buyers guide to find out more about the different kinds of bike lights.
Tip 7: Fit 4 season tyres on your road bike
You can safely cycle on the road bike in winter with the right tyres. 4 season tyres ensure that you have enough grip on colder days and therefore increase the level of safety.
4 season tyres have more grip and are more puncture resistant than summer tyres. It’s their softer compound that gives 4 season tyres more grip, and it makes them perfect for use in winter in cold and wet conditions.
Tip 8: Maintain your bike
As well as looking after yourself well in winter, you also need to take good care of your gravel, road, cyclo-cross or mountain bike. If you love your steel steed, look after it well. Salt on the roads in winter can cause your bike to rust more quickly. Your drivetrain will also need to be lubricated more often. If you want to keep your bike cleaner for longer you can fit mudguards on both a road bike or a mountain bike. Read our How-To guide on keeping your bike in tip-top condition.
Tip 9: Get your indoor trainer out of the attic/ garage
For those of us who really can’t handle the cold there is one more option: an indoor trainer. Come rain, hail or snow, you’ll always be warm and dry on an indoor trainer. It’s not just fun to train on an IDT, it’s actually also constructive. You can, for example, more easily train more accurately, to improve your FTP score so that, when spring rolls around, you’ll be fitter.
Tip 10: Reward yourself
Don’t have an indoor trainer? Push through in the cold and then reward yourself after your ride with a hot shower, and a cup of coffee with a warm slice of apple pie. It tastes even better when you know you worked for it! You can also treat yourself to cycling gifts when you meet certain goals. Then you’ll be motivated to jump on the bike again just to try the new goodies out! Cycling in winter doesn’t have to be a punishment.
Do you have a winter cycling tip of your own to share? Let us know in the comments