It’s that time of year again, with the nights drawing in and the temperature falling. For those hardy souls who see winter riding as a way to keep the fitness levels topped up during the winter months, it’s time to think about your winter bike. The good news is that practically all of our current line up of bikes has been designed with all-season riding in mind. In ‘How to winterise your Ribble bike’ we share our top tips for how to get your bike ready for racking up those winter miles so that you are fighting fit for the start of the new season.
Those fortunate enough to own multiple bikes will likely have a bike specifically designated for winter rides. Be it that old ‘best bike’ that’s now been relegated to winter duties or a bombproof winter hack bought specifically to keep your best bike, for best.
But, what do you do if you only have the one bike and still wish to carry on riding through the winter? Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that you can take to improve your riding experience during the winter months. Here are our top tips;
Anyone who has ridden through winter before will tell you that the roads can become a little grimy at this time of year. Having surface water sprayed up your back to leave the inevitable dirty stripe is far from ideal. The answer to this, of course, is mudguards! Love them or loathe them, they do an admirable job of protecting your clothing, bike and body from the effects of road spray.
Not to mention that if you intend on taking part in the weekly club rides, mudguards are essential. If you turn up for a club ride without mudguards you could be banned from riding altogether! At best, you will be relegated to a tail-end charlie position for the entirety of the ride. Combine mudguards with waterproof socks and overshoes for toasty warm comfort and dry feet throughout your rides.
The really great news is that if you own one of our current range of bikes almost every single one of them has built-in mounts for mudguards!
Sometimes fitting guards is simply not enough. A good set of mudguards will provide decent coverage but they don’t stop all the spray from hitting the unlucky recipient behind. Fitting a rear mudflap takes care of this. They can be purchased online in a variety of designs. Or if you’re feeling thrifty, why not make your own?
Mudflaps can be crafted from many objects, washing up bottles, old water bottles and even worn-out MTB tyres. Simply attach your ‘pièce de résistance’ to the bottom section of the guard using self-tapping screws.
The tyres, not you! With the additional grit and debris that you can expect to encounter on the roads, a good puncture-resistant tyre is your best friend. Nobody wants to be stuck at the side of the road checking the tyre for the cause of a puncture with frozen fingers. If the frame has adequate clearance for mudguards and wider tyres why not put something a little wider on for a bit of additional comfort? After all, winter rides are about clocking up the training miles rather than going full gas, right?
In terms of the Ribble range, the Endurance road bikes tyre clearance maxes out at 25mm with mudguards fitted. If you have a CGR gravel bike you can fit mudguards with tyres up to 40mm in width. Should you need clarification of what tyre size you can fit with mudguards help is at hand. You can check out the FAQ section situated at the foot of the main page of each bike or contact us for assistance.
Lights, lights, baby
It could be argued that lights should be fitted year-round to ensure you remain more visible at all times. What is definitely not up for debate is that with the hours of daylight being shorter, some decent lights are essential. Even if you are not going to be riding in full darkness, having your lights on during those grey days is highly recommended. Another top tip is to have a backup set of lights just in case you forget to charge them, the battery run’s out or one is on the blink (pun intended!).
There are 2 types of lights, those to be seen or those to see by. If your rides mainly encompass well-lit streets then the former is probably all you will ever need. However, if you regularly ride along country lanes or poorly lit roadways, a high powered front light of at least 800 lumens+ output is the best option. Just remember to dip the beam to avoid burning out peoples retinas!
Protect your ride
If the bike has cables that come into contact with the paintwork at any point, its a good idea to add a little protection. The most obvious spot is on the headtube where turning the handlebars causes the cables to rub away the paintwork. You can purchase ready-made patch kits or apply helicopter/gorilla tape. This will protect your paintwork and reduce any cable rattle over uneven surfaces. While you’re at it, why not apply some to the crank arms to prevent any overshoe chafing damaging the chainset.
Keep it clean, keep it mean
Damp weather and road grime are a poor combination for your bike’s drivetrain. Which is why keeping on top of maintenance after every ride is essential to your bike’s efficiency. It’s a great idea to give the bike a good rinse down after any ride. A good wash down with soapy water, rinse off and application of lube to the drivetrain should keep everything ticking over nicely.
Frequently degreasing the chain and cassette before reapplying lube as part of your regular maintenance should also prevent ‘ghost shifts’. The occasional squirt of lube down the cables won’t hurt either to avoid them becoming sticky and inefficient.
We hope you’ve found our guide useful and feel a little more motivated to keep up your training through the winter. And remember, winter miles = summer smiles!! Got a handy winter tip of your own? Let us and our fellow readers know in the comments section below.
Tom Louge was a man who has a bike for every occasion. That was until he found the one bike to replace them all, the CGR SL. Read his story here.
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