Winter Cycling Tips
In Adelaide, we are very fortunate to have mild winters. In many parts of the world training all through winter would be unthinkable, and these Winter cycling tips would be called “Spring/Autumn Riding Tips”. So how do I get through the winter months when it’s a struggle to get out of a warm bed?
Find people to ride with and make it fun…
Organising efforts along the route or mini races when the weather gets worse. Try using small loops and having ‘points races’ or town sign sprints. In other words ride harder for less time. By doing some intervals along the route it allow you to warm up. When descending on straight roads, pedal fast and put some power down to keep your legs and body from freezing from the colder air. However, always be a bit more cautious cornering in the winter months with the reduced grip from wet and slippery roads plus the chance of debris on the roads.
If possible start a little later so you aren’t starting in cold morning temperatures . Apart from anything it’s safer and better for the morale if its light and a bit warmer. Plus extra sleep in winter is beneficial to help the immune system recover from day to day training.
Get Prepped for Winter
Winterise your bike- get yourself some mudguards, they will help in many ways. First they will stop your bike parts wearing prematurely by preventing some of the road spray and grime getting onto your drivetrain. Your riding partners will also thank you for not giving them a face full of the classic Belgian tan (Dirt). They will also prevent you from getting your feet/ legs and back soaked with cold dirty water from the roads, which will help keep you warmer and comfortable for longer. Even the small “Ass-savers” can make a noticeable difference.
Get some winter tyres- nobody likes getting a puncture, but in winter they can be a whole lot worse. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road in a downpour fiddling around fixing tyres in the cold or wet. Run a slightly lower tyre pressure (around 80 PSI) to give yourself some better grip on the road surface. I’d personally recommend the Specialized Roubaix Pro or Continental GP 4000s for good puncture resistance without sacrificing grip.
Invest in some good lights for when the weather is inclement. If it’s darker or raining you should always be using lights and making yourself as visible as possible to not put yourself at risk. You can get quality rechargeable tail-lights which will last even your longest rides for less than $100AUD , so there’s really no reason not to.
If you don’t like riding outdoors invest in a good trainer. I’m a big fan of the new direct-mount trainers that allow you to directly attach your bike with the removal of your rear wheel. They have much better power transfer, resistance and don’t suffer from slip and tyre wear which are common complaints with wheel or rim based trainers. Many brands have their own models now and some even have electronic/ computer based software for interactive workouts when paired with software as Zwift. This will allow you to get some quality training done even on the foulest of days.
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