Enjoying Winter Riding

For many the prospect of cycling throughout the winter months fills them with dread. Faced with endless hours on the turbo trainer or cold, wet and windy rides outside many amongst us all too often choose neither.

Below I’ll try and set out some of the reasons to embrace and enjoy riding over the winter in order to hopefully inspire you to get out there and start your training for next year.

 

The Weather

First of all the weather is not usually as bad as it looks out of the bedroom window. With the appropriate clothing I’m able to ride comfortably in temperatures down to just below freezing. I’ve found the key to staying warm and comfortable is to keep your hands, feet and head warm and dry.

  • Don a cap under your helmet to keep the wind off your head
  • Invest in a really good pair of winter cycling gloves.
  • A decent pair of waterproof over shoes will keep you feet dry and out of the wind

If your feet, hands and head a warm and dry the rest of your body can be easily regulated with lots of layers. In temperatures down to freezing I am usually fine with a just base layer, long sleeve jersey and wind proof gillet. In reality I’m only really cold for the first few minutes of a ride.¬†Pedalling¬†faster is always a good way to warm up ;-).

 

Just Enjoy It

For me the winter is the time to forget about average speeds, heart rates, goals and power outputs. Embrace it as a time to just get out and ride for fun. Forget about your training plan and just be safe in the knowledge that by getting out there and getting some miles in, you’re getting fitter

I actually often enjoy riding in the winter more than the summer. There is less traffic on the roads, the fresh air is invigorating and more often than not those still autumn/winter mornings are stunningly beautiful. For me the winter is a time to really remember how much I enjoy cycling.

Winter Cycling

Get Ahead

We’ve written before about the benefits of getting a good base of miles in over the winter. I always try to view winter miles as a bonus. For every ride I do i know I’ll benefit by being leaner and fitter next spring/summer when I start doing more specific training.

If you can maintain regular weekend rides over the winter and maybe throw in a spin or turbo session or two during the week you’ll get a massive head start to next season. It’s all too easy to avoid training in the winter. Instead forget about training and focus on just having fun on your winter rides.

 

Time for a Change

Riding in the winter can be a great time to try something new. If it’s really muddy or wet out there i’ll often head out on the trails on my mountain bike. Weather you’re on the mountain bike, trying some cycle cross or maybe training on a fixie the winter is a great time to flirt with some other forms of cycling, take a break from the road and just get out there and stay fit!

 

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