When mountain biking in winter, you have one simple decision to make. Don’t bother (stay at home, warm and dry) or embrace the elements! Basically, if you’re not willing to get caked head-to-toe in mud – then either stay home or make sure you stick to the roads! In fact, once you’re already covered in the mud, rain, ice or snow – you might actually find that cycling in challenging conditions will improve your riding.
Why? Well, if you’re comfortably managing the slippery trails, dry trails will be a walk in the park! Firstly, though, you need to have all the necessities. Here, Cycleplan have created this essential winter mountain biking checklist to make sure you leave nothing behind.
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Essential Winter Mountain Bike Equipment
Mudguards and fenders: Arguably the most essential bit of gear. Make sure you get mountain bike-specific mudguards – otherwise your face and visor will be coated in mud before too long.
Tyres: Rather than defensively sliding through muddy or icy trails, buy some specific mud tyres and boost your confidence to tackle every turn of the trails head on.
Puncture repair: In rainy and icy conditions, don’t bother attempting to fix your puncture on the trail side. Carry a CO2 cartridge for quick inflation and get yourself somewhere warm!
Drivetrain: Always use good quality wet lube and make sure you clean your drivetrain after EVERY ride.
Saddle: Consider lowering your saddle an inch or two. A lower centre of gravity makes things far easier to control if the going gets slippery.
Essential Winter Mountain Bike Clothing
Unless you thrive off being wet and cold for the majority of your ride – waterproofs are an absolutely essential piece of mountain biking kit. The three most vital bits are shorts, shoes, and socks. They’ll keep your lower body dry, meaning you can pedal comfortably! When cycling in winter, it can be tough to strike a balance between keeping warm and becoming too warm once you start to sweat. A good way around this is to buy yourself a top-quality base layer that wicks away sweat, so your body can still breathe. Once you’re all set with your waterproofs and base layer, get yourself a reflective jacket – cruicial for any cyclist, as you need to be easily and immediately visible – especially when cycling on the road. Last, but certainly not least, a head torch is a useful bit of kit with the light fading fast in winter.
What To Avoid
Winter mountain biking can be stunning – riding through glistening frozen fields with picturesque views. But, on the other hand, it can also be very dangerous as well. If you need proof, check out this funniest winter cycling fails blog!
We believe it goes without saying that all cyclists should protect themselves from the many hazards faced in winter, and Cycleplan offer the best insurance around. Their policies cover Public Liability, Personal Accident, Theft, Loss and Damage of Equipment: Get your instant quote online today.
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