5 Tips To Keep You Riding This Winter
Do you or any of your family or friends cycle to work? The onset of winter shouldn’t stop you riding. Don’t let the weather keep you off your bike – just follow this handy 5 tips to keep you in the saddle over the festive period and into 2016.
The last thing you want is to start 2016 by yourself and stranded at the edge of a freezing cold road. It’s always wise to keep on top of your bike’s maintenance and winter is the time you reap the rewards for that dedication to your bike’s cause. Pay close attention to moving parts – such as your chain, gears, cables, hubs and bottom bracket – and keep your chain oiled regularly. The roads will very likely have been gritted at the start of a new year, so make sure your cables are in good shape and able to withstand exposure to salt and water.
Winter is often the time to invest in tyres that offer lots of puncture protection and are harder wearing than normal. Tubeless and solid tyres are an inexpensive option – and offer good protection – but we’d recommend pushing the bike out that little bit further and investing in Continental Gatorskins, for example.
Make sure that your lights are charged and that you have fresh batteries before every ride (this may sound obvious, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded!). Remember that the sun is at its weakest in winter, too, so using your lights in daylight during these dark months will highlight your presence to other road users. Don’t get caught out by the shorter days, either, and remember to always have your lights with you – small and bright rechargeable LED lights are easily purchased and won’t cost the earth.
This is an important one and often quite tricky to get right. If you have time, wear what you have planned and go outside for a quick warm-up cycle to see if your clothes suffice. What you need by differ each day, so, while it may seem expensive initially to prepare for winter, the pay-out will pay-off in the long run. Clothing essentials for cycling in winter include waterproof jacket, thermal bib tights, thermal/wicking undervest, windproof gilet/jersey, overshoes, windproof/thermal gloves and clear glasses.
Now for the best bit of preparing for winter: food and drink! Don’t worry, we’re not going to send your calorie count racing, but eating enough before and during a ride is as important in winter as it is at any other time of year. Tips for drinking include mixing your chosen drink with hot or warm water to keep the chill off or, on longer rides, make sure you have time for cafe stops etc. Lots of cyclists enjoy an energy bar on a ride, but it’s worth remembering that they can often become hard during cold weather, so perhaps opt for gels instead.