The days might have started becoming a little longer, but for the present, we’re still firmly in winter’s icy grasp! If you’re a cyclist, the colder weather can present a challenge to your two-wheeled adventures. But with the right equipment, a well-maintained bike and a can-do attitude, cycling in winter can be a really rewarding activity. Find out just what you need in order to get out and about this winter with our helpful tips!
Get the right cycle clothing
Dressing correctly for cooler conditions is really important and can go a long way to making you feel far more enthusiastic about getting out on your bike! Wearing thin layers can be important. If you find yourself overheating, it means you’ll have the option of removing items.
If you do get hot and sweaty, a thin base layer with the ability to wick water away can be a great idea to provide warmth, while keeping you dry.
Between your base and outer layers, an insulating thermal top can help to really lock in the heat if you find yourself in icy conditions.
A jacket that’s both windproof and waterproof will protect you from the elements. Make sure it’s also light and won’t restrict movement!
Full length bib tights will give you the opportunity for maximum movement, as well as acting as a thermal layer, keeping your legs cosy no matter how long you spend on the road.
Your feet, hands and head can all lose heat incredibly quickly! So make sure they’re properly covered with an under-helmet cap, neck warmer, windproof and windproof gloves, as well as winter socks and overshoes.
Visibility on the road is important all year round, but especially so during the poorer driving and riding conditions winter can bring. A good set of lights for your bike is absolutely essential, and it might also be wise to carry spares just in case you run out of battery! It may not look cool, but high-vis clothing and reflective strips can really help you stand out to other road users!
Do you have the right bike tyres?
If you’re road cycling during winter, you’ll definitely notice changes to the road conditions. Even if it isn’t icy or snowy, fallen leaves and rainwater can transform a normally perfect surface into a slippery death trap! This will inevitably mean that your slim road bike tyres won’t give you anything like the grip you usually enjoy. One option is to invest in some thicker, more durable winter tyres with greater tread. You can also get tubeless or solid tyres that will be more difficult to puncture. Deflating your tyres just a little can also help to increase their grip on the road!
Mud and maintenance
Winter weather can mean you have to pay greater attention to your bike’s moving parts, as well as spending more time keeping it clean. Cold temperatures can cause parts to freeze, and mud can really cake up around your chain. Grit and salt on the roads can also cause your bike to rust, so ensuring you clean down your cycle more regularly is an absolute must. One simple thing you can do to avoid picking up so much grime, especially on your clothing, is to fit mudguards.
No matter what state your bike is in, during periods of bad weather, it’s important to remember to exercise more caution on the road and perhaps to take it a little slower than normal. If you do hit a patch of ice, try not to panic, make sure you steer straight, stop pedalling and do your best not to brake, as all this might do is cause you to skid. Also do your best to anticipate the behaviour of other road users, especially during periods of poor visibility. Allow them plenty of space to get things wrong!
The last thing you’ll want in the middle of winter is for your cycle to break down while you’re in the middle of nowhere! Unfortunately, this can happen, and so it makes sense to be prepared. Take a waterproof saddle bag along on your ride, containing some spare tubes, chain links and a multi-tool set. Also ensure you have a decent tyre pump. Just in case you do end up stuck out in the cold for longer than anticipated, or encounter a spot of bother, make sure to take your phone, money and food and drink with you on your adventures!
Get a winter bike
Some people decide to ditch their usual machine altogether over winter, having invested in a winter bike! Obviously, this could be a costly option, but having access to a bike that’s specially suited to the cold weather, is heavier, with fatter tyres and less expensive parts, could make it easier to keep cycling. That way, if anything does become damaged quickly, it can be easily replaced! At the end of the day, if conditions become too bad, or you just can’t face the chill, why not get a turbo trainer to hook your bike up to? That way, you can still get all the health benefits of a good bike ride, but from the comfort of your own home!
Hopefully we’ve given you some inspiration to carry on cycling all year round! If your passion is for adventures of the two-wheeled variety, you might want to consider taking out cycle insurance to help protect your gear against anything unexpected. At The Insurance Emporium, our Cycle Insurance comes with cover for Theft, Accidental Loss Or Damage as standard, and then you can customise your policy with our range of Optional Benefits, such as New For Old. You could also grab up to 35% discount* on your policy. Head to our product pages to find out more!
* The 35% discount is made up of 25% Introductory Discount plus 5% Age Related and Security Discounts (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
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