For some cyclists, the onset of winter signals a period of hanging up their bike and taking to the indoor trainer while the rain, snow, ice and dicey road conditions are left in the outdoor world.
Of course, many cyclists continue riding regardless, and others even relish the challenge of tackling winter head-on.
We asked readers for their winter riding tips. As ever, the advice we received was as entertaining as it was useful.
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Proper layering. Keeping your core warm is essential. Invest in a good pair of gloves, shoe covers, wind-breaker and beanie. And smile! Smiling always keeps you warm.
Don’t overdress. Being on the cold side early in the ride, in my limited experience, is better. I layered up on my first winter ride and was solidly sweating about a quarter (six-ish miles) into it.
Pre-warmed shoes with “Li’l Hotties” [heat pack] in each under toes, bootie covers. Li’l Hotties in each glove between back of hand and glove. Balaclava. Light pad shorts/knickers under winter bib-tights (crotch protection), triple layers on top with high-viz yellow wind and/or rain jacket. Cover all exposed skin.
Set my bike next to the fireplace and have a cup of coffee.
I try my best to keep dry. Overshoes, waterproof jacket and gloves are necessary with maybe some lightweight, waterproof trousers and helmet cover in a waterproof cycling backpack. Not overdoing the layering helps too.
Turbo trainer in a centrally-heated garage!
If you must go out, just like skiing, it’s all about layering and quality breathable fabrics. However, I am sticking to the turbo and TrainerRoad this winter after falling on black ice and damaging my rotator cuff last winter!
Correct layering, for certain. Keeping head, hands and feet warm is essential. And definitely not shorts. Not in January. And I still see it. Sheer madness.
Be safe: use two rear LED lights, as the cold can degrade batteries very fast on long rides (good to have a backup). Put some reflective material on the back of the helmet helps. Clean brakes after every outing, as grit can degrade the braking surface on the wheels. Deflate tyres after every ride and re-inflate before, makes tubs (or inner tubes) last longer. Warmth: use a tube-scarf under my thermals as a last resort barrier against wind. Get an Ass-Saver mudguard, easy to install, no fuss and will avoid the worst of water on your back if you find puddles.
I have circulation issues so really get numb feet. My solution is a five-pronged attack of deep heat, toe warmers, thick walking socks, oversized winter boots and neoprene over-boots. A front mudguard makes a big difference as well in the wet.
Move to Cairns. Never a cold winter.