Winter is coming, it’s a fact that we can’t avoid no matter how much we hope. Short days, cold rides, low visibility. We’ll soon be spending our days dreaming of a short lived summer & wishing we were somewhere hot! We’ve compiled a list of our 5 best tips to keep you on the bike with a smile on your face this winter.
Check the Weather
This sounds trivial although in winter checking the weather becomes all the more important. It’s very easy to get caught out in the rain with the wrong gear on. Fine for a warm summer shower, but when it’s cold & chills you through, you’ll want to be prepared. A quick glance at the weather app will tell you what you’re in for.
This can also be great to check the temperatures. If you’re fresh out of bed or haven’t quite ventured out into the cold yet, it can be hard to gauge just what you’re in for. You might not have processed that it’s frosted over or there’s some remaining black ice on the roads. Making sure you know what the conditions will be like could save you a crash!
2. Dress Appropriately
Another fact that seems basic. You might think that your brand new short sleeve jersey looks fantastic, although it’s no use wearing it without a base layer, cause you won’t last long! And it’s no use looking fantastic if you’re going to give yourself hyperthermia. Make sure you have the right amount of base layers & thermals, it’s always better to be slightly too warm than far too cold.
This stretches right down to your extremities. You’re only as strong as your weakest point. If you don’t have suitable gloves or shoes/shoe covers, then you might be heading home early to warm them through! Neck warmers/hats can also be great to keep your face warm when you’re really up against it.
Winter jackets & thermal leggings aren’t the only thing you’re going to need. Make sure you’re fully stocked up before you head out there on the road, because freezing cold isn’t a nice place to be! It can be dangerous as well as uncomfortable.
3. Bike Maintenance
The one we all avoid, the dreaded bike maintenance. When you get back from a long, damp, drizzly day in the saddle and the last thing you want to do is clean your bike. We’ve all been there. It’s never fun. But keeping your bike in check could save you a lot of hassle down the line.
Hose it down, get rid of the grub & at the very least put a bit of oil on it. Checking your brakes are in good order & tires aren’t worn really could save you out on the road. Mechanicals aren’t great at the best of times, but if something fails when you’re descending an icy road, that’s not a situation you want to find yourself in.
Regular visits to the local bike shop will help you avoid this, they won’t charge you a fortune if you ask for a quick check over the bike. They’ll be able to advise you of any problems in advance, before it’s too late.
4. Be Seen
This can be one of the most important things to note when out in winter, & not just for the roadies among us. Being seen could no only save you an accident, but it could save your life. Knowing when the sun sets is great, but you could still be caught out after dark if you leave it too close.
Always prepare for the unknown, take lights so that both vehicles and other riders can see you. A good set of lights will also help you see what’s coming up to avoid crashes before they happen. Along with a lot of winter gear, lights are always worth the investment.
Being seen can also translate into your kit. Ranges such as the Altura Night Vision range are fantastic for cars and other vehicles to see you from a long way off. They’ll also keep you dry and warm, so it’s a win win. Safety is top of the menu when you’re out for a long winter ride.
5. Double Check your Route
Finally, double checking your route can save you a lot of hassle out on the road. Not only will you be out for longer tan expected if you don’t check the route, but it could also save you from hitting any unexpected terrains.
The last thing you need is to hit a corner feeling secure, only to find that the other side is a mud bath/puddle or similar. Riding routes that you know well can really help improve your safety. Sticking to more popular routes & trails, that don’t necessarily have to be the busy ones, will really help this.
We hope these tips help you manage to have fun through the winter this year. And most of all, stay safe!