By Tina Andrews, Star Bikes
I’m not a hardened cyclist, but I am determined to stay riding throughout the winter. So I started looking for the tips for winter cycling. They all seemed to give similar advice which i thought I would share with you…
This seemed to be at the top of everyone’s list. Ensure you wear cycle specific clothing as the materials they use help absorb the sweat. Base layering is important – Start with a thermal base layer then add jersey, thin fleece and wind / waterproof jacket. You can always take layers off as you warm up during your ride. Good quality winter / windproof gloves will keep your hands warm – these are the most susceptible areas to getting cold first. You can now find all your winter clothing needs in our shop at Star Bikes!
Make sure that you have at least two tubes and a working pump. Be careful when using CO2 cartridges as these run out after only one or two inflations. In addition, when you operate them in low temperatures the gas can cause the head of the canister to freeze, including to your gloves or fingers.
3. Food and drink
I like this one!
Eating enough before and during a ride is as important in as it is at any other time of the year. Some energy bars can become very hard during low temperatures so either keep them somewhere warm or opt for a softer product such as gels. Keep drinking regularly too. It may not be obvious that you are sweating under all that clothing but fluid loss happens when cycling at any temperature. Of course, a cafe stop on longer rides is even more essential during winter, giving you a chance to have a hot drink and a slice of cake! Make sure you stay warm and don’t cool off too much when you’re stopped.
The days get darker quicker during winter, lights become essential even during the day. If you are riding on the road take care not to use too high a lumen as you can blind the other traffic. Our serfs lights have amazing lumen and great for riding up the Quantocks, they also have a life time warranty.
Wider tyres are recommended for winter riding, with extra puncture protection. Or go tubeless, this option can be expensive and difficult to fit, in store we have a compressor you are welcome to use. You will need tubeless ready tyres, sealant and tubeless valves.
Mudguards aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but is definitely appreciated by the rider behind you. It also keeps your backside and back drier!
Give your bike a regular look over, and try and wash off the accumulated grime regularly. Karcher OC3 portable cleaner is great for taking with you up on the hills. Check for wear and tear on rims and brake blocks as wet conditions can be harsh on these areas. Keep your chain oiled regularly and make sure that your cables are in good shape. Salty water off of gritted roads can play havoc with components and water getting into exposed cables can cause havoc with shifting.
8. Winter bike
Fat bikes are awesome, but you don’t necessarily need four-inch tires to have a blast in the snow. Winter cycling can be rough on bikes, though; rather than risking your primary bike, opt for that long-ignored mountain bike gathering dust in your rafters if you have one. For more stability on the snow, run the lowest tire pressure you can without getting a pinch flat. Depending on your weight, you might be able to ride 15 psi or lower. (Be sure to experiment with tire pressure in the fall, so you’re not changing flats in the middle of
winter.) If you want a bit more traction in icy conditions, consider investing in a pair of studded tires.
9. Be prepared
Think about the ride you are going on make sure you plan a sensible route to match predicted weather, take a charged phone with you and some money incase of emergency.
10. Get a turbo trainer
If all else fails and you really can’t face the weather, get a turbo trainer and cycle in the comfort of your own home!
By Tina Andrews, StarBikes
Star Bikes – A bicycle and repair shop offering a great range of bikes and clothing. They are based on 1a Southroad Workshops, Watchet.