Most people live in an area where the weather can prevent cyclists from riding part of the year. Bad weather, limited sunlight and poor road conditions can force cyclists inside. However, it is possible to stay active outside in the winter and here are some of the important things to consider to overcome the conditions.
This tip seems obvious but it is vitally important. If you get wet and cold, your training session is not going to be as enjoyable nor will you get the same benefit. The following articles of clothing can be useful while riding outdoors in winter.
- Water proof shoe covers
- Wind proof jacket
- Thermal base layer
- Thermal tights
- Hats and neck warmers
When choosing your kit, remember that water repellent gear might be better than water proof because water proof clothes can trap in sweat making you actually wetter.
It is always best if you can buy a bike specifically for using in the winter. If you can’t, get a specific bad-weather bike, the following modifications to your bike are useful for riding in bad weather.
- Wider tires with better grip can give you more traction
- Fenders keep you and your bike dry on wet roads
- Heavier components – save the light race gear for the summer
- Lights – keep you and the road visible
When it is colder and you do not sweat as much you might not be as thirsty as usual. However, it is still just as important to stay hydrated in cold weather. You can also consider heating up your drinks before the ride on especially cold days.
Don’t forget to eat. Eating keeps blood sugar stable and keeps you warm.
Know your route
Make sure you know the road conditions you are riding on. There is already enough danger on a bike, especially when riding in wet, cold or dark conditions. Knowing the roads you are riding will help you avoid extra obstacles. It is also wise to avoid long descents where wind chill can be a factor.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, it is just better do your training indoors. This can be especially fun with modern equipment and games like Zwift. You can also check out our 5 Essential and Effective Indoor Cycling Training Sessions or 7 Tips for your indoor cycling. If you can not go out, there is no shame in riding inside.