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It’s that time of the year again when the cold weather sets in, and cycling isn’t as appealing as it is during the summer months. But don’t let that stop you from getting on your bike! There are a few things you should know and do to make cycling in winter more comfortable and safe. In this blog post, we’ll share 25 tips for cycling in winter. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, we’ve got something for everyone. So read on to learn more!
1. Layering is crucial
Layering is so essential because it allows you to add or remove clothing as needed to regulate your body temperature. For example, if you start to feel too warm, you can unzip your jersey or remove a layer. And if you begin to feel cold, you can add a layer or two.
The typical winter layering system in cycling consists of base, middle, and outer layers. The base layer should be made of a warm fabric that wicks away sweat (like polyester or wool) and sits close to your skin. The middle layer is insulating and usually consists of a long sleeve cycling jersey.
Finally, the outer layer is a wind and waterproof jacket, protecting you from the elements (like Gore-Tex). For example, this C5 Gore-tex Shakedry Viz Jacket scored the highest in our review.
2. Stay dry (waterproofing is your friend)
One of the most important things to keep in mind when cycling in winter is to stay dry. This means wearing waterproof clothes or at least water resistant to protect you from the elements. By staying dry, you’ll stay warm and comfortable on your ride. The last thing you want is to get wet on a cold and windy winter day.
3. Invest in core winter gear
While you don’t need to go out and buy all the possible gear for winter cycling, a few key pieces of clothing will make a big difference. For example, we definitely recommend investing in:
– A winter jacket or long-sleeve jersey: This will be your go-to piece of clothing for winter riding, so make sure it’s warm, waterproof, and breathable.
– A pair of warm cycling tights: Tights made with thermal materials that are ideal for cold-weather riding.
– A good pair of gloves: Look for warm, waterproof, and breathable gloves.
Check out our in-depth article about cycling clothing for winter.
4. Protect your extremities
Your extremities are the parts of your body that are farthest from your core, like your hands, feet, and head. They are the first to get cold in winter because blood flow is directed to your core to keep your vital organs warm. That’s why the extremities need extra protection when cycling in winter. Here are a few tips:
– Wear warm gloves or mittens
– Wear thick socks
– Wear a hat or a cycling cap
– Wear shoe covers
By using the right gear to protect your extremities, you’ll be able to stay warm and comfortable on your ride, even in the coldest weather!
5. Warm up & stretch
It’s essential to warm up before any ride, but it’s especially important in winter. Warming up helps increase blood flow to your muscles and increases your body temperature so you can perform at your best. A ten-minute warm-up, followed by some light stretching, is ideal.
6. Carry needed supplies with you
Bring along a spare inner tube, tire pump, and any other tools or supplies you might need in case of a puncture or a mechanical issue. You can consider bringing CO2 cartridges instead of a pump for faster picture repair. It’s not pleasant to replace a tire in the cold, so having all the items you need with you will make a big difference.
7. Adjust your riding style
When cycling in winter, adjusting your riding style is important to account for the colder weather. This means taking it easy when cycling on icy or slippery roads. Be sure to brake early and cautiously and avoid skidding on turns.
8. Plan your route wisely
When cycling in winter, it’s essential to plan your route wisely. This means avoiding busy streets and hills, which can be icy or slippery. Instead, stick to quieter roads that are less likely to be icy and snowy routes.
The weather is another thing to consider when planning your journey. If it’s forecasted to be a particularly cold day, dress accordingly and plan a course that’s not too long.
9. Stay visible
Bike lights help you stay visible to drivers and pedestrians, which will help to keep you safer. In addition to using bike lights, it’s also important to wear bright clothing and reflective when cycling in the dark. This will make you more visible to others.
10. Watch out for ice and snow on the road
Be aware of the dangers that ice and snow can pose on the road. Icy and slippery roads can cause you to lose control of your bike and crash. If the roads are particularly icy or dangerous, it’s best to stay home and not cycle.
11. Be aware of changing weather conditions
While cycling, it is vital to keep an eye on the weather conditions. If it starts to rain or snow, it’s best to head home quickly to avoid getting caught in bad weather. Cycling in the rain or snow can be dangerous and lead to accidents.
12. Take care of your bike during the winter months
This includes cleaning your bike regularly, keeping it covered or in a garage when not used, and making sure the drivetrain is lubricated. By properly caring for your bike during the winter, you can extend its lifespan and keep it running smoothly for years to come!
13. Ride with others for safety and company
Riding with others provides a sense of safety and companionship while cycling in the cold. When cycling in a group, you’ll be able to keep an eye on each other and help out if someone falls or has a problem. This can help make your ride safer and more enjoyable.
14. Drink plenty of fluids
Always drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. This is especially important when cycling in cold weather, as you’ll lose more body heat and moisture through sweating. When cycling, drink a sufficient amount of fluids to keep your body hydrated and warm.
15. Eat before and after your ride
Eating before and after your ride helps provide your body with the energy it needs to cycle in the cold weather and helps restore energy levels after your ride.
Before your ride, eating a light meal high in carbohydrates is important. This will give your body the energy it needs to cycle for long periods. After your ride, it’s crucial to eat a meal that is high in protein. This will aid in the regeneration of muscle tissue that was damaged during cycling.
By eating before and after your ride, you’ll be able to stay energized and recover quicker!
16. Protect your skin
Don’t underestimate the power of cold and sun, even in winter! Be sure to apply sunscreen to any exposed skin before heading out, and use lip balm to keep your lips hydrated.
In addition, you may want to consider wearing a face mask to protect your skin from the cold. A face mask can help keep your face warm and protected from the wind and snow. As an alternative, you can also use neckwarmers to cover your face from cold.
17. Get your bike serviced before winter starts
Getting your bike serviced ensures that the brakes, gears, and other components are working properly. This will help ensure that your bike is in good condition for cycling in the cold weather.
18. Use fenders
Fenders are a crucial element of winter biking gear. They help keep you dry and your bike clean by preventing snow and water from spraying onto you and your bike. Fenders also help protect your bike from salt and grit that builds up on the roads in winter. If not cleaned off regularly, this can wear out your components much more quickly.
19. Use the right tires
When cycling in winter, it’s important to use the right tires for the conditions. For example, wider tires with more treads will provide better snow and ice traction. If you live in a region where winter weather is common, studded tires designed for ice usage might be a good option.
20. Use extra caution at night
Use extra caution when riding at night. This is because it’s more difficult for drivers to see cyclists in low-light conditions. To ensure drivers can see you, wear clothing that reflects light and use lights on your bike. Also, be aware of your surroundings and avoid riding in areas with poor visibility.
21. Wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet is always required, but it’s especially important when cycling in winter. This is because you’re more likely to fall on slick surfaces, and a helmet can help protect your head from serious injuries. A helmet also helps to keep your head warmer.
22. Try a fat bike
A fat bike is perfect for winter cycling – it has oversized tires that provide plenty of traction on snow and ice. Fat bikes are also more stable than regular bikes, which can help you stay safe on slippery surfaces.
23. Take advantage of indoor cycling classes
If the weather outside is too cold or snowy for cycling, take advantage of indoor cycling classes. These classes will keep you in shape and ready to head out on the roads when the weather improves.
24. Use a home trainer
If you want to stay in shape during the winter but don’t want to venture outside, consider using a home trainer. This piece of equipment allows you to ride your bike indoors without going out in the cold weather.
25. Enjoy the ride
In winter, many cyclists just give up riding until the warm weather returns. But winter cycling can be enjoyable if you take the proper precautions and invest in the right clothing. So get out there and enjoy the ride!
So there you have it, everything you need to know about cycling in winter. By following these 25 tips, you can stay safe and comfortable on your bike all season long. Just remember to dress for the weather, take your time on slippery roads, and be prepared for any unexpected challenges that come your way. With a bit of preparation and careful cycling, you can enjoy all the benefits of cycling throughout the winter. Happy pedaling!
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