So with the Northern hemisphere winter half way through, regardless of whether you are a mountain biker or a road rider, its fair to say winter has been a challenge. Here’s some tips on getting through the last bit. After all, spring’s just around the corner…
Long Ride, Slow Cooker
If you are planning a long winter ride, try a little food prep as your warm up. A hearty casserole chucked in a slow cooker for 5 hours will be the best welcome home you will ever have. Just like the old Bisto gravy advert on TV, you might get a whiff of the impending feast as you get near home, providing the extra bit of motivation for the last bit…
Frozen Toes Ruin Rides. There is no escaping that fact. We’re very proud to stock the ultimate in overshoes, Spatz Pro. Not only do Spatz keep your feet dry they keep you warm too. Developed by former Pro cyclist Tom Barras, Spatz make the filthiest ride conditions much more bearable and keep your shoes immaculate too! The best riders in the world buy them – they are that good.
Pick your day
Instead of heading out of the door on you ritually scheduled routine ride, check out the weather and if there is a drier alternative. Leave your routine 9am Sunday morning ride if the forecast involves freezing rain, why not head out at 11 when it’s forecast to clear? Dodging the worst of the weather is a great way to improve moral and improve your winter riding.
Hand warmers are the ultimate treat when your fingers feel like they are about to fall off from the cold. Simply charge up in boiling water before you leave the house and press the metal disk to activate and bring the warm glow of life back to your suffering fingers.
Cover em up
Mountain Bikers love wearing shorts, however when the really wintry weather hits, it’s time to get covered up. Waterproof over trousers make life a lot more pleasant out on the trails, they are easy to ‘whip off’ afterwards in the trail centre car park. Your car interior will thank you.
Enjoy the sights
There are certain things which can only be seen and appreciated in winter. Rather than focus on the negative aspects; the cold, the dark, the rain, the frost, the ice, the wet snow, the frozen body parts.. Think about the nicer aspects of winter, like the sight of smoke playfully dancing from a cottage chimney, or a little robin-red-breast sat on a branch wondering where their next frozen meal will be coming from. Try to block out the negative and think positive.
Riding your road or MTB in winter is a sure-fire way to get a filthy bike. Not just the usual summer filth either, winter UK filth can include salt too. Spread on the roads too reduce the forming of icy patches, salt is enemy of the bike rider. If left, it will eat through bike components. A pressure washer is a good way to get the thick of the winter filth off your bike, avoid areas with bearings & seals though, such as the bottom bracket, headset and suspension seals. Once the filth has gone, its time to degrease and re lube the drivetrain, ready for the whole process to start again on the next ride. Never mind it will soon be spring…
Get Layered up
Treat yourself to a new base layer, pulling on a nice fresh one is a bit like having freshly laundered sheets on your bed. Building your clothing layers from base layer up to outer shell to get the most from your kit wardrobe. Dressing in layers is the most effective way to keep warm in winter. Air gets trapped between the layers and helps insulate from the worst of the weather.
A long winter ride can be made much more interesting if you change things up a bit. A one-way train ticket to somewhere just far enough away for a decent day ride could give you the change of roads & scenery without the cost of going on a cycling holiday. It could well still be challenging weather though, but it will be challenging somewhere different.
Setting goals for your riding next summer is a great way to keep a focus on your winter training. If you have entered an event or have a target, give yourself a reminder nudge each day by placing the date or photo of the event / ride somewhere where you will see it.