5 tips for cycling in winter

Brian Canty
TheJournal.ie
5 tips for cycling in winter
5 tips for cycling in winter

Now that the winter is lashing the country with all its might and fury, you have the perfect reason to stay indoors and not get out on the bike.

Only you don’t, because as the saying goes in this sport; ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation, or motivation, or both.’

Having the appropriate clothing is only one of several ways we’ve come up with to help you get through a winter on the bike.

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This is the most obvious consideration when you’re planning to ride in winter so the first thing you’ll do is check what the weather will be like for your ride.

From there you can plan what to wear and layering is the most effective way to combat cold, wet conditions and rapidly changing temperatures – so buy good quality apparel.

What is ‘good quality’, you might ask.  The first word you’re looking for is waterproof, followed by windproof because when you’re wet it’s the wind that makes you cold.

Whether it’s breathable or not is the least of your priorities in the depths of winter.

It will all amount to quite a lot of money so be prepared for this.

You’re also going to need winter gloves and overshoes to keep your feet and fingers warm – these are the most susceptible areas to getting cold first.

Finally, the head and neck must also be protected so skull caps to wear underneath your helmet are as crucial as a lot of your bodily heat is lost through the head.

You’ll thank us when it starts to last 30 miles from home…

Train in a group

It’s much harder to motivate yourself to ride solo than it is in a group and never more so than in winter.

Riding in a group is more fun, you’ve a higher speed, it’s character building, the time goes a lot faster and you don’t feel the pain as much.

A solid group to go out with in the winter it makes a world of difference.

Chow it down

Eating enough before and during a ride is often overlooked and especially so in winter.

But it’s likely the time of year where you’re least fit so your breathing will be deeper – meaning you’ll become dehydrated as quickly as you would on a warm day.

Also, be aware that some energy bars can become very hard during low temperatures, so either keep them somewhere warm or just bring a sandwich or some fruit wrapped in foil.

Aim to eat a bar or a piece of fruit every hour and around 500ml of fluid every hour too.

Use mudguards

They might not look awesome but they’ll improve the comfort of your ride no end – and that of everyone else’s.

The oily spray that tyres wick up as you ride along can land directly into your face, your water bottle, up your back and soak your backside in a highly uncomfortable way.

It also impairs the visibility of whoever is behind you so for the sake of everyone, spend €20 on some mudguards.

Embrace the turbo trainer

If you absolutely cannot ride or are pressed for time, staying at home and riding the turbo is the next best option.

Used effectively, they are brilliant for maintaining and improving fitness and allow you to focus on very specific elements of your fitness. There are tonnes of training videos like Sufferfest that can guide you through a plan.

If it’s too much to bear on your own just join a spinning class and suffer with a group?

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