Are you prepared for riding in the Winter months? Here are our top tips for going into battle against the elements this winter…
If you are riding with others, or if you prefer to return home not caked in layers of grime off the roads, mudguards are your only option. The bigger and more protective the better. If you have full size mudguards, attach flaps to make your ride as dry as possible for yourself and ride mates. If your bike doesn’t have eyelets for traditional mudguards, there are a wide range of options to give a decent level of coverage.
Whatever bike you plan on riding this winter, make sure it is mechanically in good condition. At the very least, get into the habit of cleaning your drive train components and applying a lube to your chain regularly.
Dial ‘P’ for Position
If you are riding a different bike through winter, to protect your best bike, make sure you dial in your position properly. If your best bike is supremely comfy, try to match that riding position. If you have been having annoying aches and pains, use this time to adapt your riding position. It’s a good idea to take photos or mark positions before changes. Position changes should also be incremental, millimetres at a time to give yourself time to adapt.
Autumn and winter are peak season for punctures. As well as the bits of twigs and debris washed or fallen onto the roads, it is also THE worst time to be stopping and fixing a flat tyre. Invest in puncture protected tyres or try out tubeless with sealant.
Light & Reflective
Even if you do not plan to ride at night, it makes sense to add reflective tape to your bike for winter and also use daytime lights. The peak time for other road users not seeing cyclists, is the hour either side of dawn and dusk. At either end of the day it is darker, and motorists can be tired and less attentive – partly because of their sedentary lifestyle… Lights, reflective gear and brighter clothing all improve your chances of being seen.
In the same way that dirt and debris fall of waxed car’s paintwork, wax can also protect and keep your bike clean. Apply wax to your clean bike frame, wait a few minutes and polish off. As well as a layer of waxy protection, It’s oh-so-satisfying and your frame will look super shiny.
“No such thing as bad weather just bad clothes…” Invest in proper winter clothing and you will laugh in the face of Mr Jack Frost. Here are our clothing essentials for the chilly months;
A good quality winter jacket is essential, look for windproof and waterproof. A jacket is your upper body’s first line of defence against the elements, our full range of jackets is here
The least you can do in winter is keep your legs warm. Your legs are doing the hard graft, transporting you home or to the cafe, keep them warm! Look for water repellant and thermal materials and read our customer reviews to help narrow your choices. Check out our range of tights here
Having cold fingers on a long winter ride is just horrible. Keeping your extremities warm is essential if you are going to enjoy your ride. Our full range of gloves here
Your last line of defence against the weather, base layers do a great job of wicking away sweat from your body and keeping you dry and comfortable. On a long ride with a cafe stop, take a spare and keep fresh! Check out our Base layers here
Under helmet wear is vital in winter. Those helmet vents that keep you cool in summer? They make you freezing in winter! Avoid brain freeze with a thermal head warmer under your helmet. Check out our range of head warmers here
Cold feet are not nice at all. Luckily there are a wide range of overshoes to keep the worst of the weather away from your feet. For the ultimate in overshoes check out Spatzwear and never have cold / wet feet ever again. They are the choice of World Champions, Dutch and Belgian National Teams, and World Tour riders. Our full range of overshoes is here
The best way to look after your summer road bike is to get a dedicated ride for the winter months. While your pampered ride is hibernating, a winter specific bike can get stuck in to the pure ‘joy’ that is winter bike riding. If you are looking for an all weather mixed terrain bike that will shrug off any winter nastiness, our Merlin Roc is well worth a look. Check out the October 2019 Bike Radar review here and full spec & pricing here.
An altenative to a dedicated winter bike is a set of wheels & tyres for your regular ride. A set of wheels for winter will ensure your best wheels don’t get trashed through the winter onslaught. Most riders choose reliability in a winter wheelset, many wheel brands offer budget options, check out our rim brake wheels here and disc wheels here. Hard-wearing puncture resistant tyres are a must. A good example of a tough winter clincher tyre is the Continental Gatorhardshell (below). It is a regular Gatorskin tyre with an extra layer of polyamide in the casing and a wider Poly X anti puncture belt.
Get Off the Road!
Winter is a great time to venture off the roads. Get back to nature on the gravel tracks and green lanes (there are 27000 kilometres of Bridleways accross the UK), reconecting with stress-free riding – away from the traffic. Most bikes can handle a little off-road detour if ridden carefully. If you fancy getting more carried away and hitting the trails hard, check out our Gravel bikes here.