Winter cycle training

Photoraph by Graham Watson. The peloton races through a snowstorm in the 2013 Milan San Remo
Photoraph by Graham Watson

Winter is upon us so here are my top tips for riding and training during the cold months.

Ice.  Always check for frost on car windscreens and if in doubt don’t take the risk. Also have a look at the temperature range from your point of departure to your destination.  Your destination maybe 2-3 degrees lower than your start point pushing the temperature below 0.  Also watch out for stretches of road next to lakes and water which may be colder. Avoid shady parts of the roads which may be prone to ice, frozen leaves and other slippy debris.

Tyres. Change to winter tyres with some good grip levels. And remember to stay off wet manhole covers and painted surfaces. Adjust your lean angle too so you’re more upright. Slow down a bit more and increase braking distance.

Layers. Keep warm by layering up. Each layer traps a warm layer of air beneath it so keep testing how many layers work for you.  Numb hands lead to poor brake and gear control. Make sure your hands are warm. If one pair of gloves isn’t suffice isn’t buy a thermal glove inner.

Hydration. It’s easy to forget to drink regularly when it’s cold. Keep sipping at the water bottle.

Lights. Use 2 sets of lights, one as a back up. If you head to work early and back late you may be riding 100% of the time in dark.

Cleaning and checking.  Increase the frequency of your cleaning and check your bike more regularly.  Clear brake blocks of crud and clean wheel rims to maintain a good braking surface.  Wipe down and dry off the bike if you’ve ridden through the rain.

Incentivise. Whether it’s cake or a new accessory think of a way to treat yourself for braving the elements.

Enjoy. Some of the best sunrises and sunsets can be seen during the cold months so don’t forget to enjoy the riding.

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