With the mornings less refreshing to wake up to and the night's drawing earlier and darker, along with the erratic changes in weather, this is enough to signify that Winter is officially - non officially here. The constant battle between sunny showers and gale force winds make riding your bike outside feel like a gruelling chore. Fortunately though (if you're not in Scotland), not every single winter day brings bad weather and with the right forecast and plenty of preparation it's not all doom and gloom.
We'll give you enough of reasons to pluck up the courage to take on the elements and avoid slipping away to the turbo set up; while static training is viable enough, it doesn't ever feel as satisfying as challenging outdoor ride...
First things first - safety! It doesn't matter whether you're a seasoned pro and have a dedicated winter bike, or if it's the same trusty bike you use all year round, you have have have to get it serviced! Subtle changes such as re-greasing and new or tightened cables will make the world of a difference when it comes to comfortable riding. It might seem a bit counter intuitive as your bike will be subject to copious rides through rain, mud, grit and snow, but having a bike that’s in the best working order creates a massive impact to your riding capability during the unpredictable season. Plus, if you've ever had a mechanical out in the sticks during the winter months, you'll know how soul destroying it is trying to fiddle around and fix things when your fingers are frozen still and about to fall victim to frostbite.
Don't be chilly, wrap your... Let's take a look at winter kit - we're going to presume you have the right kit to wear because you'll have ready our Autumn/ Winter Gear blog, righhhhht...? It's also good to note, that with a trusty base layer, as with the layering of clothes that you can't avoid, you're bound to work up a sweat no matter how cold the air is. A good quality base layer will help regulate your body temperature and wick away moisture from the skin to ensure a comfortable ride and avoid any chance of catching a chill.
Now you’re ready to ride, but how far and how fast? The two biggest questions debated by cyclists at this time of year. But there's no real right answer to us, this decision is going to be made based on your goals, current fitness and motivation (or lack of). It will generally go one of two ways:
For improving your endurance, winter is arguably the best time. Riding long and hard will help build a strong fitness base for when Summer eventually comes back around; you'll be ready to put plenty or road miles behind you. Orr, there's the later of the two - regular short rides, this will improve your overall speed and you'll avoid most wind chill and rain!
Whatever the weather, whatever the ride, don't forget to enjoy it with a post ride tipple of your favourite dram. After all, the festive season is just around the corner after all...