There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad kit, or so the saying goes. Here’s a guide to a few simple things to do to help keep you happy riding through the winter.
1. Mudguards are PRO
They’re not cool and they’re not sexy, but they will keep your feet dry and warm, and your back clean from spattered mud. Your riding companions will also thank you, since they’ll be able to ride behind you and avoid the worst of the spray from your back wheel. Permanent fenders affixed to an eyelet-equipped frame do the best job, but there are temporary versions that use rubber straps or simple clamps to fit on almost any road bike, no matter how tight the wheel clearances.
2. Take the proper tools for the job
It’s unlikely you’ll be riding your weight-weenie carbon bike through the winter, so it doesn’t matter if you carry a bit of extra weight on the frame. Why not load up with bigger tool kit and a better pump, or carry more inner tubes with you? Mechanicals are more frequent because of the amount of mud and debris on winter roads, and with better tools you’ll spend less time stopped in the cold sorting a problem out. Equally, tough winter tyres are more puncture resistant and keep you rolling more smoothly.
3. Think GPS
Take a GPS device with mapping and you’ll never get lost or stay out for too long. It’s also handy to have a speedometer and maybe a heart-rate monitor, so that you can keep your workout nice and gentle, before the bigger efforts of the spring.
4. Choose your clothes
When the weather gets really cold it pays to be prepared. In the UK and many other places in the northern hemisphere, long tights are a must. And a tough outer shell up top – a softshell jacket or rain jacket – will keep the elements at bay. Good gloves and overshoes, meanwhile, are an effective and relatively cheap way of keeping your toes and fingers dry. It’s much easier to feel happy to be out and about if your extremities haven’t turned into blocks of ice.
5. Choose your friends!
Generally everyone rides slower in winter, and nobody is doing the intense training and guts-out efforts of summer. So it’s a good time to band together and chat. Catch up with your friends and the kilometres will fly by. Before you know it, you’ll have built up a good training base for warmer times.
6. Stop and refuel
You’ll burn more calories in the cold, which is one reason why tea, coffee and cake are mandatory on social winter rides! Keep your core body temperature high with a nice hot drink and your spirits up with a treat. Keep smiling and you’ll keep motivated and keep getting out on the bike.
Ready to go? Check out how Strava can help you keep going in winter, in our Guide to Winter Training here.