It’s that time of the year again in the northern hemisphere. Summer is a distant memory, it’s now either cold, wet or miserable, or maybe all three… Now is the time to zip up the protective layers and keep-on riding through. Follow our tips to keep the wheels turning through winter. Let’s resist the temptation for hibernation…
Riding a specific winter bike is good for two main reasons: Firstly, it ensures your best bike keeps in good shape, tucked away and pampered for the winter months. Secondly, it gives you an extra bike to look after and ‘bond’ with during those ‘epic’ winter rides. We have a wide range of bikes suitable for winter, the newest of which, the Merlin Malts also very handy performers off-road, if gravel tracks and rough stuff is your thing.
The old saying ” there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes” could have been written about cycling clothing. There is very little joy in riding in cold weather in wet in summer cycling kit. Specific seasonal clothing makes bike riding much more enjoyable. Specialist companies, such as Spatzwear (below) have made it their absolute focus and mission to produce clothing fir for purpose. Developed over years of splashing through the lanes of the Yorkshire Dales, Spatzwear provide clothing for the best riders in the World, read our Q&A with founder Tom Barras here.
Licence to Eat Cake
One piece of good news about bike riding in winter is that more calories will get burned. So you can reward yourself by eating more to compensate. Why not schedule in a cafe stop with your ride mates and make the most of winter. Warning though, the longer you stay in the warm welcoming embrace of the cafe, the harder it is to get back on the roads…
Check out the weather forecast the day before your ride. If you are heading out on a loop, try to get the wind behind you for the homeward bound section – nothing lifts the spirits more than getting some wind assistance after a tough ride.
Cold & Deflated?
Protection from punctures or running tubeless tyres, means that you will be less likely to have to remove gloves and start changing a tyre when the weather is ‘Baltic’. Either ‘self-heeling’ tubeless tyres or regular clinchers with puncture protection are a seriously good investment for the winter months. Check out our range of tyres here. and tubeless accessories here.
Riding around the time of sunrise and sunset is statistically the most dangerous. This is when the majority of motorist / cyclist collisions occur. Making yourself (even more) visible to (often distracted) drivers is a good thing. Read our lights blog. Check out our range of lights here.
Winter takes a heavy toll on bikes. However, a rigorous, regimented cleaning regime can stave off the nasty stuff that winter wants to do to your bike. Concentrate on the drivetrain components; chain, cassette, derailleurs and cables. By de-greasing your cassette and chain regularly you will minimise wear and keep it performing to its best. See our bike cleaning products here.
When the weather is not predictable, make a plan. Tell your nearest and dearest your plan, just incase things go wrong. Adding cold / wet / grim conditions to a roadside issue can make it much worse. There are no points awarded for being a hero, if the weather is particularly grim, stay at home. However, remember to go on social media and tell everyone about your ‘Epic’ ride. Which didn’t technically happen. ☺
‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved’ – Well it’s a bit like that old saying with winter riding. Chit-chat and group banter can alleviate the strong desire to ride home and go back to bed. When things go from average to bad and then awful, you can rely on ride mates to lighten the mood.
If all else fails and you cannot stand the grimness any longer – get on Zwift. Become submerged in the virtual world and you will soon realise how hard riding or racing on Zwift can be. Check out our range of Zwift compatible trainers here. Read about home trainers. Read about Zwift here.