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Winter cycling survival

Posted 18.01.16 | By Dan Smith

Winter cycling survival: Keeping safe in the cold

There’s nothing better than riding along in the summer, taking in the warm sunshine in the best way possible, but you shouldn’t let the cold weather stop you from hopping in the saddle. In fact, getting out on your bike over the winter is great way to keep yourself active and enjoy the winter fresh air.

It can seem like a daunting prospect, since road conditions are often at their worst, but with careful planning and our winter cycling tips, you can enjoy everything cycling in winter has to offer.


The right gear

When it comes to winter cycling, short sleeves and shorts aren’t going to cut it. It’s an obvious factor but finding the right gear can sometimes feel like a real chore. However, it’s worth the effort, and expense, to make sure you can ride comfortably whatever the weather.

Avoid thick fleeces and waterproofs because, although they may protect you against the elements, they will make you sweat, which can accumulate under your clothes and make you feel uncomfortable. Instead, opt for cycling specific gear, such as thermal tights and thermal cycling gloves. Lightly tinted glasses will keep the spray out of your eyes and help protect them from the low winter sun.

The key is to always be prepared. Too much is always better than too little, especially when it comes to your extremities, which are likely to get coldest first.


The right tyres

Your summer tyres don’t stand a chance against the winter conditions, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you have wider tyres with much better tread. You’re more likely to face a puncture in worse weather as wet road conditions can make any debris even more hazardous so it may be worth investing in tyres with a degree of puncture protection too.


The right equipment

From mudguards to bright LED lights, especially during the shorter days, you need to make sure your bike is fully equipped to deal with all the problems that may come your way. Make sure you always have spare tubes and a working pump, and frequently give your bike an inspection to make sure your brake blocks, chains and gears are in tip top condition.

If something fails out on the road, make sure you have the right tools to fix it there and then. There’s little worse than being stranded by the side of the road on a very cold day!


The right conditions

There are some riders that love getting out on the bike, no matter the weather – fighting the cold and wind to get in that days ride. But there are times when conditions are just too bad to ride. Regardless of how skilled you are, or if you have the best ice-tyres going, it’s not worth the risk when facing high winds or icy roads. Know when it’s safe to ride and when it isn’t. You may be able to take your bike off-road on icy days, as the mud will have dried, but most times it’s better to just hook your bike up to a turbo trainer. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

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