Winter Cycling Tips Everyone Should Know

Winter is fast approaching, it’s getting colder and roads are getting damper and muddier. But this shouldn’t stop us from enjoying the fresh air and keeping healthy. In this article, we suggest some tips to help you through the cold wet months coming.

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Keep warm and dry:
The clothing you wear is one of the most important and hardest things to get right. There are many layer mistakes people make, such as the temptation to wear fleeces to keep warm. The biggest problem isn’t getting cold—it’s actually getting too warm and sweaty. In summer, this isn’t a big deal. In winter, it can get you into serious trouble. Once you stop moving, hypothermia can strike in less than five minutes on cold, windy days. Even the most breathable jackets simply can’t let the moisture you create escape fast enough, and regardless of what the weather is doing, you’ll end up getting wet from the inside. It’s always best to go a layer less as the effort of riding will warm you up. Waterproof jackets, thermal or moisture-wicking undervests and thermal bib tights are all essentials for cycling in winter.

Remember to not forget to wear gloves and overshoes. Good quality windproof materials will make all the difference as the hands and feet are always the first areas to get cold. An option is to also invest in some thermal socks and have a scarf or a cap/headband to go under the helmet. Eyewear is also great for keeping dirt and harmful objects out of your face, as well as give your eyes protection from UV exposure.

Food and drink:
In winter, it is very easy to forget that you sweat a lot under all the layers of clothing. Your body is losing fluids just as much as any other month, it’s just not as obvious. Many people will forget to hydrate properly throughout the ride. It is also a good idea to mix in hot/warm water into your drink to help you keep warm.

Just the same, keeping your body nourished with the right nutrients is very important, if not more, as dark winter months tend to leave you feeling fatigued and demotivated. Read our “expert tips on food nutrition and cycling competition” to find out how to fuel your body properly. 

Extra tip: if you use energy bars during your rides, be aware that during the low temperatures they can become hard. Try storing them in your back pocket to keep them warm or instead look into getting some energy gels. 

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Food and drink:
In winter, it is very easy to forget that you sweat a lot under all the layers of clothing. Your body is losing fluids just as much as any other month, it’s just not as obvious. Many people will forget to hydrate properly throughout the ride. It is also a good idea to mix in hot/warm water into your drink to help you keep warm.

Just the same, keeping your body nourished with the right nutrients is very important, if not more, as dark winter months tend to leave you feeling fatigued and demotivated. Read our “expert tips on food nutrition and cycling competition” to find out how to fuel your body properly. 

Extra tip: if you use energy bars during your rides, be aware that during the low temperatures they can become hard. Try storing them in your back pocket to keep them warm or instead look into getting some energy gels. 

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Pick the right tires:
Winter months are not just cold, but also muddy. Roads get filled with dirt and grit, increasing chances of punctures and slipping, making riding more dangerous without the right tires. It is important to invest in tires that are high grip, wider and have good puncture protection.

Currently, there are no dedicated “winter” tires, instead, brands sell “all-season” tires that are suitable for all weather and conditions. These tires tend to have additional, extra layers of tough material and thicker rubber threads. No-one wants to have to change a flat in freezing temperatures!

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Protect yourself and your bike with mudguards
If you plan to ride regularly through the winter months ahead, then you are very likely to get wet. Water and mud road spray quickly contribute to you getting wet and cold and your bike getting dirty. Mudguards are available for pretty much any bike and are a great investment to make sure you are staying dry and warm during these months and saving you time cleaning your bike after every ride.

If your road bike doesn’t fit mudguards or you simply don’t want them on permanently, Bum Savers are a great flexible, portable option that fits easily in your bag or pocket.

The water on the roads can cause your chain, cassette, chainrings, derailleurs and brake callipers to get dirty and filled with mud. We suggest getting the full-length mudguards as they offer the best protection for yourself and your bike. Believe us, your cycling friends will also thank you!

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