Cycling through the Winter
“It’s too cold”, “It’s too dark”, we’re all guilty of finding excuses to store away the bike through winter! Then come Feb/March, we’re regretting the excessive Christmas indulgence and our newfound lack of fitness!
We’d be lying if we said it was easy to keep going through winter, it isn’t. But what we can assure you of, is that it’ll pay dividends when it comes to your races and sportives at the start of the season! Motivation and some extra layers definitely tend to help, but we’ve pulled together seven more top winter tips to help you enjoy riding through the depths of the cold season.
1. Ride the Right Bike
It might seem like it goes without saying but don’t ride your best bike through the winter months. Riding a winter-specific bike will not only protect your pride and joy from the wintery road conditions (think salt and water) but it will also keep you comfortable and allow you to set up a winter bike to match the winter conditions.
It might be the North Western weather but Ribble have always been proud of their winter bikes and we have a selection of bikes designed for use throughout the year.
The new Ribble CGR (cross, gravel, road) range has mudguard and pannier mounts and disc brakes for a sure-footed winter workhorse. Whether your using it to commute or hitting the gravel, as our ultimate all-rounder – the CGR has you covered.
The new Endurance AL is the latest evolution of our iconic Winter Audax. With trickle down aero features from the Ribble SL, the AL has all the latest tech of our top range carbon road bikes, in an entry Alloy bike. With endurance geometry, disc and caliper versions and increased tyre clearance for up to 28mm tyres, it makes a very comfortable race bike, winter trainer or daily commuter.
The Endurance 725 complements the traditional looks of the Reynolds steel frame with contemporary geometry and design features with a multitude of build and specification options including disc or caliper brakes, plus full mudguard compatibility making the Endurance 725 the ideal all-season road bike for the rider looking for a retro style with modern performance and versatility.
2. Ride Hard Stay Warm
When the temperature has dropped close to freezing point consider changing up your training plan to a harder ride. One of the by-products of physical exertion is heat, so increasing the intensity of your ride will increase your body temperature and make the ride more bearable. It will reduce the amount of time you can spend on the bike but you will get in a good work out.
A heart rate monitor and cycling computer are a great way to track the level of effort you’re putting into the ride. We have a great range of cycling computers and accessories that can make all the difference when getting your winter training right.
3. Ride the Right Course
One of the girls in the office lives at the top of a hill and her ride always starts with a short but sharp descent “you’re freezing before you have even started” she remarks, but it raises an interesting point – when it’s already cold outside the last thing you should to do is get even colder by rolling down the road not exerting any effort in to a cold, bone-chilling wind, especially after a hot and sweaty 5 minute climb.
Mapping your ride out with a good cycling GPS will help you to plan rides on flat roads. You should also consider riding loops closer to home in case the weather really does turn and you end up needing to end the ride earlier than anticipated.
We offer some great deals on Garmins and Polar devices.
Shop Cycling Computers
4. Dress with Layers
The overall goal of layering is to capture a layer of air (insulation) between each layer of clothing before finalising your fetching ensemble with either a windproof or waterproof layer to regulate your body temperature whilst keeping you dry at the same time.
Base layers are designed to start of this process. A base layer is a layer that sits against the skin, they must trap a small layer of air between your skin and the garment that stays warm but they must also wick away moisture to stop you getting cold and damp.
Mid layers are worn over the top of the base layer, they trap an additional layer of warm air between the base layer and the mid layer and must be breathable. Sometimes a good mid layer like a good soft shell will be your final outer layer.
Outer layers keep the wind and rain out
Outer layers in cycling are usually waterproof. A good waterproof jacket will be breathable, waterproof and windproof protecting you from the rain and wind keeping you warm and dry.
5. Wear Gloves & Overshoes
Cold hands and feet are probably the most frustrating part of being cold, nothing is as bad as feet and hands so cold they hurt but with the right gloves and overshoes, shoes and socks it can be quite easy to overcome.
Gloves – As with clothing, warm hands rely on a combination of technical features. A good winter glove must keep the wind out and have a thermal inner to retain the heat. Check out our range of gloves for more inspiration.
Overshoes – An item of clothing limited to the cycling fraternity the overshoe or over sock is an additional layer of fabric that protects your feet. Put simply, they are a requirement for winter riding.
6. Find a Good Coffee Shop… But Keep Warm When You Stop
We can’t help with finding a good coffee shop (stick to google maps for that one!) but on long and lonely winter rides, sometimes the only way to stay upright and #keeppedalling is to stop and get warm with a hot drink and a slice of cake. However, it’s important to stay warm so consider taking an extra base layer in a waterproof bag in your jersey pocket to change in to.
7. Light The Way
Winter is dark. The clocks have gone back and having lights on the bike to see and be be seen with are an absolute essential.
There is also a legal requirement to ride with both a white front light and a red rear light. Always ride with lights and have a spare with you just in case.
Something we’ve missed? Comment with your winter tips below!