Here are some of our winter riding tips to help make your winter riding more fun.
Tip 1 – Embrace
One of our first winter riding tips and one of the hardest aspects of winter training is getting out of the door onto the bike: ‘from bed to shed’. Even the slightest distraction or reason not to ride. Such as not having your favourite socks clean, can be enough to return you to the warm embrace of your duvet.
Counter this by making sure all your kit is ready. Make a deal with yourself that, if you don’t feel like riding, as long as you’ve given it a 10-minute go, you can ditch the session.
Typically, once you’re out you’ll feel good and go on to complete a full ride.
Tip 2 – Lights
It is a good idea to have a good set of front and rear lights and make sure they are fully charged up.
These don’t need to be expensive. Flashing LEDs are fine for the daytime and can make a big difference in being seen in low light levels. However, If you are likely to be riding in the dark or low light a good quality chargeable light set is essential.
If you want to see hazards well before you reach them, we recommend something for the front with 1000 lumens or above for road riding and 2000+ lumens for offroad. For the rear 50-100 lumens is generally plenty to be seen from a long distance away.
Some of the latest lights are incredibly bright. So if you ride in a group or in traffic be considerate and turn the levels down to avoid dazzle.
Tip 3 – Clothing
Chance are it going to be cold, It’s better to wear multiple thin layers as opposed to one thick top. This will enable air to be trapped between the layers and keep you warm and also help with sweat-wicking.
Don’t forget to carry a waterproof top for the occasion that it gets wet or if you have to stop to fix a mechanic issue. Your body will cool down really quickly if you stop. Having something extra to put on can make a big difference. Using cycling-specific clothing will help a lot and if some of it is reflective then that’s a bonus.
Your extremities will feel the cold first. Hands, feet and ears can get really cold once the wind chill kicks in. Good quality thermal gloves and a headband or buff can be essential. Wear tights or trousers in the winter, there are no medals for being cold. If it’s likely to warm up later on consider arm and leg warmers that are easy to take on and off or though generally better reserved for spring.
Tip 4 – Happy Feet
Your feet can get really cold which can ruin a ride. Thermal-insulated and wicking socks will keep your feet dry and warm. Wear overshoes to double the insulation as standard shoes tend to have limited heat insulation or consider investing in winter-specific shoes to keep them dry and warm.
Tip 5 – Bike Maintenance
Riding during winter often means your bike is going to get wet and muddy and pick oil residue and salt up from the road.
It’s extra important to make sure you give the bike a good clean down after the ride. To avoid water getting into bearings and unnecessary wear to your drivetrain. Clean down the frame and main parts with a non-salt-based cycle cleaner.
Then clean the cassette, chain, chainring and jockey wheels and re-lube the chain with a bike-specific lube. We recommend a hydrodynamic chain lube for best performance.
Use a spray lube sparingly on springs and pivot points such as the front and rear mechs to stop them from seizing. While you are at it, It doesn’t do any harm to spray a little of this around the bottom bracket area to drive any moisture from the exterior seals.
Read our cleaning guide here.
Tip 6 – Tyres
Pre-ride always check your tyre pressures and examine the tyres for any damage or cuts.
Replace them if you find anything dangerous. The safe pressure range is written on the side of the tyre, aim for about halfway between the 2 numbers.
Depending on the condition you are likely to ride in it could be a good idea to put a winter tyre on. Something more durable than a summer performance tyre with more tread and a wider profile that will give you more traction.
Tip 7 – Mudguards
Love them or hate them mudguards keep you dry. These will keep your bike cleaner and also keep water away from your feet and up your back. Your riding buddies will appreciate them if you ride in a group to keep the spray down.
Tip 8 – Ice
If you get caught out by a patch of ice that you didn’t spot in time, ride as straight as possible and try not to brake or turn. You won’t get any grip from the ice and turning the front wheel will almost definitely result in a crash unless you are very skilful. Don’t panic, it’s possible to stay on the bike if you hold your nerve, sometimes!. But really it’s just best to avoid it.
That’s all our winter riding tips for today.