There are many reasons why cycling in winter is awesome, but there remains no doubt that heading out for a ride requires a lot more planning in the cold season than during the rest of the year. We have prepared a list of 10 things to avoid when braving the cold by bike. Keep warm, stay dry and cycle on!
1. Wearing the wrong clothes
Make sure you’re warm but not too hot during your ride – wearing gloves and overshoes is a must in the cold season, as cold extremities will quickly make your ride miserable. Wearing glasses helps to keep water out of your eyes, but remember not to take them off until you finish your ride to prevent the water from getting on the inside of the lenses. Don’t forget to always bring a waterproof jacket to make sure you won’t get wet in all weather conditions.
2. Not having a plan
Even though it’s the off-season, it’s important to have a training plan to follow. Having a plan in place will let you set goals and help you motivate yourself to get out there and ride when its cold outside and staying in becomes very tempting. Start off by taking a fitness test to analyse your strengths and weaknesses and to determine where you’re at.
3. Being too heroic
Albeit it might feel great to be able to say that you and your bike have braved the coldest temperatures, the strongest winds and the iciest roads, sometimes it’s a better call to just stay in. Cycling on icy roads or in snowstorms does no one any favours, can be very dangerous and is simply not worth the risk of slipping and injuring yourself.
4. Renouncing important kit
When heading out in the cold season, you should always be prepared for any circumstances that might arise. Equipping your bike with a mudguard is a must if you want to finish your ride with a dry bottom. The more lights on your bike, the better your visibility. Use winter tires, always bring a spare inner tube in case of a puncture and take some money with you in case you do get stranded somewhere due to a double puncture.
5. Choosing the wrong bike
Cycling in winter is harsher on your bike than cycling in summer – rain, snow, cold temperatures and salt can really get to your bike – make sure to clean your bike after every ride and to store it in a dry place, or even better, get a winter bike so you don’t have to put a mudguard on your best road bike.
6. Not taking enough time to recover
To improve your fitness, you need to give your body time to recover between training sessions or you won’t see any results. Do not stick to your training program no matter what happens but stay flexible – if you’re not motivated to ride and feel unwell, this might be a sign that your body isn’t ready to ride again.
7. Getting sick
While being outside in the cold a lot strengthens your immune system as your body is getting used to the strain over time, you should still give your body time to adjust. If your body isn’t used to being in the cold, especially if you’re not dressed correctly, you could easily catch a bug that keeps you from riding. Make sure you’re not overtraining, wash your hands to prevent infections from spreading and avoid hot, crowded places especially after coming back from a hard ride in the cold.
8. Not being careful enough
Accidents can happen more easily in the winter. Remember to slow down before curves, or stay inside and take a ride on a stationary bike if the weather is particularly bad instead. If you can’t resist the temptation to head out, deflate your tires a bit to get a better grip.
9. Not leaving the house without lights
Don’t underestimate how short the days are in the cold season. Put up both front and rear lights, however, affixing a rear light to your bike is a must if you want cars to spot you in the dark. Best leave the lights on your bike all year round.
10. Forgetting to enjoy the ride
After all, there’s nothing better than flying over empty roads and feeling the satisfaction of a successful workout!
Do you have more advice on what to avoid when cycling the the cold season? ❄️
Let us know in the comments!