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Your Winter Cycling 101

WINTER CYCLING 101

Just because it’s winter there’s no need to stop riding. With a few careful choices of kit and understanding what type of riding to do, winter cycling can be a fun and rewarding experience.

Our Winter Cycling 101 is your go-to list for keeping the pedals turning this winter!

Your Bike

Of course, fundamental to your winter cycling is making sure your bike is suitable for some cold and wet miles. A few component and accessory adaptions and your bike will become a trusty steed to take you through the harshest of weathers.

THE BIKE ITSELF

Mudguards

GOOD TYRES

LIGHTS

Protect it from the elementS

YOUR CLOTHES

No matter how hard you ride, you won’t be able to keep yourself warm in the mercury is as low as zero. The range of clothing on the market is endless, but there are a few key things to know when you’re considering your winter cycling wardrobe.

THE MAIN LAYER

The three Ws: Warm, windproof, waterproof!

Investing in a solid winter jacket will mean you keep riding through the winter. If you select the right item, the garment should work for all your winter rides, and so will be worth the money!

Remember, when selecting your jacket, there’s more to it than just warmth. As with your gloves, having a windproof element will make an enormous difference to your entire sense of warmth, so opt for something to block out those wintery winds! Likewise, waterproofing is vital. You can never completely trust the weather forecast in winter, so having a jacket with at least an element of waterproofing will make a huge difference.

At PRO BIKE TOOL, we really rate the Castelli Alpha or Void Armour jacket for an all-eventuality go-to top.

BASELAYER

The core is king

Alongside your extremities, your core is essential for ensuring overall warmth. A good baselayer to wear under your jersey or jacket is a vital part of your wardrobe.

You want your baselayer to be made of merino if possible. This is a wool that is renowned as being super-warm, but perhaps just as importantly, is excellent at wicking sweat and regulating body temperature. Although it may be cold outside, you will work up a sweat, and so you don’t want to have that moisture on your skin, making you uncomfortable and cold – merino will prevent this

The extremities

KEEP THOSE TOES TOASTY!

Ensuring that your extremities are warm makes a huge difference to how you feel overall. If your fingers and toes are warm, your whole body will feel warm. For your feet, a good pair of merino socks is the first step.

We love Pongo’s merino range for warmth, comfort, and style. For the really cold or wet days, get yourself a pair of overshoes to give you an extra barrier – most overshoes are waterproof and thermal. On your hands, you ideally want gloves that are windproof – your fingers take a lot of the wind as you ride and blocking this certainly helps overall warmth.

And of course, keep that head warm! You lose a huge amount of body heat through your head, and so a cap or thin skullcap beneath your helmet will save you some warmth. In the coolest of temperatures, a hat covering your ears is highly advisable

Your Riding

Your winter cycling needs to adapt to the elements to keep you safe and get you in good shape for the spring. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of the cooler months.

Steady she goes

For road riders, winter is the time to do your ‘base training’ – that is, long lower intensity riding that will build your aerobic capacity. To get fit and ready for summer, you want to use these winter months to do some steady rides of at least two to three hours, keeping the intensity level low – you should be able to easily chat with your ride buddies... no puffing and panting! This type of riding is essential to building a platform of endurance for you to build on when the warmer months arrive.

Mix it up

If you only ride on the road, winter is a great time to get off-road with an MTB, cyclocross bike, or gravel bike. When you’re off the tarmac and on rough terrain, the risk of hitting ice is minimised, and you can get a great workout in less time than you would in the same time on the road. And it’s a great way to build your bike handling skills for the summer!

Don’t forget to drink

Any history of illnesses or imbalances in your body will play a large part in the way the bike is fitted to you. Issues with, for example, knee pains or tendonitis, can be eased a surprisingly large amount by your saddle fore-aft and height. Furthermore, ankle or foot problems can be addressed by cleat position or adding wedges underneath one cleat or the other to tilt your foot or effectively make one leg ‘shorter’.

Go Zwift!

Remember, much as we all love to go ride in the great outdoors, sometimes it’s just not safe to get out. If you’re ever in doubt, it’s time to get on the turbo trainer. With the decrease in cost of ‘smart’ trainers and growth in platforms such as Zwift, riding indoors is becoming more fun and interactive – so give it a try!

Like this PRO BIKE TOOL article about Your Winter Cycling 101! Why not Share it with your fellow cyclists!

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