15 reasons why cycling in the winter is great

The nights are drawing in and there's significantly more rain around. This means that winter is here, but that's no reason to stop riding your bike

1. Everything looks better in the winter sun

CA Winter bike test by Chris Catchpole (44)

Winter sun is amazing. Partly because it’s so rare, but also because everything looks so much better in it.

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While it does actually blind you a lot of the time, shining off the puddles on the road, the sunshine glimmers off the trees, off the passing cars and off other riders’ aero helmets.

2. It’s a great excuse to buy more kit

Your legs get cold in the winter; best to buy some leg warmers, and knee warmers…and ankle warmers. Then there’s shoe covers, where there’s a plethora of options: windproof, waterproof, showerproof, drizzleproof.

Or there’s the little things that just cover your toes, because full shoe covers are sometimes just too much.

Jackets! There’s loads of jackets you can buy, and baselayers and skullcaps. You name it, you need to buy it.

3. It’s even more important to find a coffee stop

(Photo: Jesse Wild)

Photo: Jesse Wild

It gets cold in the winter, so its imperative that you drink lots of coffee to warm you up. There’s also cake there, which you have to eat to keep your fat reserves up over the long winter months.

4. You can justify going for shorter rides

CA Roubaix bike test

While winter sun is great, there aren’t many hours of it, which can be a positive in some ways.

Firstly, you needn’t get up at 6am to go for a ride because it will still be dark.

Secondly, you can get away with the excuse that you only did a short ride because darkness was setting in.

5. You don’t feel guilty for not smashing every ride


The majority of sportives and races tend to take place in the summer months when the weather is better and the days are longer, meaning you’re in a constant state of ‘training’ as soon as the clocks go forward.

>>> Six moans and truths about winter cycling

In the winter though, your season’s goals will have been completed (successfully or not) and you can relax in the knowledge that you can go back to just enjoying your rides and taking in your scenery.

6. There’s a smugness you feel when others say they’ve not been riding

Indoor Smart turbo training for winter by Chris Catchpole (43)-2

When your friends tell you they’ve hung up their bike for the winter, you can hold the high ground for a few months.

7. It’s a great time to ride on other terrains

Loch Lomond ride snow sunrise by Andrew McCandlish 153

It may seem sacrilege to ignore your road bike in favour of a cyclocross steed, or a mountain bike, but trying out different disciplines can really benefit your riding when you return to the road.

8. It’s okay to ride your ‘other bike’

CA Winter bike test by Chris Catchpole (42)

Winter bikes are no longer rickety old things that are barely roadworthy, they’re actual bikes with real components.

What better excuse to treat yourself to a new bike?

9. You don’t work up as much of a sweat in the cold


Get your layering right and winter riding can be a treat. Get it wrong and you’ll be sweating like you’re climbing Alpe d’Huez in a heatwave.

10. It really tests your bike handling

(Photo: Andrew McCandlish)

Photo: Andrew McCandlish

With winter comes rain, snow, hail and all the other biblical weather conditions. Riding on partially icy roads can feel a bit dangerous, but styling it out of a skid on black ice makes you feel like you’ve mastered the road.

11. It keeps you fit


Well, you can’t sit on your couch eating mince pies all winter, can you?

12. There are often fewer cars on the roads


If your favourite riding spots are close to tourist attractions or areas of natural beauty, chances are fewer people will visit them in the winter, so there can be fewer cars on the roads.

This is not the case if you like to ride up and down the A1, though.

13. You can pretend you’re competing in the Belgian Classics

Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Photo: Yuzuru Sunada

Think of the Classics and you’ll likely think of riders covered head-to-toe in mud. That can be you!

14. All the pros are on holiday

With the professional season generally finishing around October, and starting again in January, the pros like to give themselves a few weeks off the bike to recover.

This is good news for us Regular Joes, because it means we can get back from our 20-mile spins and not see that Laurens Ten Dam has uploaded a 190-mile ‘training’ ride on Strava.

15. Cycling’s great

(Photo: Jesse Wild)

Photo: Jesse Wild

What more excuse do you need?