Winter cycling tips

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It’s cold, dark and miserable and getting out on the bike is a challenge for many of us when winter comes. Whether you’re new to cycling this year and want some advice, or just need some fresh motivation to keep going through until spring, here are some tips for riding through winter.

  1. Dress for the Weather

The wind, rain and the cold can put many people off cycling through the winter, but with the latest cycle clothing it’s perfectly possible to insulate and protect yourself from the elements so you can cycle quite happily through the winter. There’s the old saying ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ and there is some truth in it. If you spend some money on really good quality cycling clothing it can immeasurably boost your happiness when cycling, and you’ll be less inclined to postpone a ride because it’s a bit damp or chilly out there.

2. Preparation is key

If you want to commute to work or get up early for a morning ride before heading to the office, then don’t leave everything until the morning. Get all your clothing, kit and bike prepared the evening before, so when you wake up everything is laid out and ready to go, and minimises time spent looking for a pair of gloves or a lost sock. I lay my cycling kit for the ride out beside the bed, so I literally step out of bed and straight into my kit. Likewise, having the bike ready, with lights charged and fitted and tyres inflated, means I can just fill a water bottle and head straight out.

3. Lights! Lights! Lights!

4. Have a winter plan

Having a goal to give you a sense of purpose can be a great way to get you outdoors on the bike when the weather conditions might be less than favourable. It can be anything from deciding to commute to work twice a week, to setting a weekly or monthly distance or duration goal. Participating in our SJ Cycling Monthly Challenges is the perfect way to keep you motivated and have a target in sight.

5. Explore new routes

One tactic I favour for keeping my cycling motivation topped up is to avoid riding the same routes all the time. Instead, I spend a lot of time plotting new routes (using my favoured www.komoot.com) to explore roads around my local area and to discover new roads, and new ways of linking up existing roads. It keeps it interesting. We will continue to organize weekly sunday rides and incorporating as many new and interesting routes as possible.

6. It’s only weather

Just remember, it’s only weather, so don’t let it put you off riding in it, instead embrace the cold and rain. We’re fortunate on this small island that the weather never gets really that bad, the winter is mostly mild and is well suited to year-round cycling. And the colder and wetter it is, well that’s more ‘epic’ points in the bank.

Don’t think too much about how bad you think it might be, instead don’t think about it at all. Just get dressed and get out the door, and get riding. Most of the time it’s never as bad as you think it will be. And the reward for having gotten out will be immeasurable.

7. Cake!

If you do brave the rain, the wind and/or cold, then you’ve thoroughly deserved a slice, nay a slab of cake when you get home. What better reason for getting out in the winter than looking forward to some cake and everyone knows cake tastes better after an epic bike ride.

We look forward to seeing you on our rides, after all it’s just #MindOverMatter and we will be on site to help you keep motivated and energized.

Next week we will share some key items (and links + discounts!) you need to have to ensure a comfortable ride during winter from clothing to footwear to bike accessories.