Cycling in Cold Weather: A Guide

In Healthy Living, Leg Training, Methods & Success Mindset, Workout Tipsby Matt

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Temperatures may be dropping, but it doesn’t have to mean you need to store your bike away or stop your cycling hobby altogether. In this short guide, we’ll help you fully prepare and stay motivated for cycling in the changing weather conditions. 

Wear Correct Clothing

Like with any exercise, your body will naturally warm up when you cycle. However, you won’t be able to shield off the icy blasts of wind or rain when it hits. To get the best out of your cycling workouts and beat the chill during the colder months, use cycle-specific clothing such as windproof, thermal, waterproof gear, as well as cycling arm warmers, cycling gloves, or overshoes. Good quality gear will help keep you dry from the wet weather as well as prevent sweat from accumulating underneath your clothes. 

Fuel your Body 

Remember, food is fuel! Giving your body all of the nutrients that it needs to function before and after a ride is especially important during the cooler months. It’s also just as vital to rehydrate before and after your workout – fluid loss through sweat during a cycle can happen at any temperature. Where necessary, a café or convenience store stop for energy boosting snacks can help during longer cycles. 

Maintain your Bike 

Now that you’ve taken care of yourself, it’s time to focus on your bike. For safety precautions, it’s best to regularly check that your bike’s lights are charged, or that you at least have spare fresh batteries with you before each ride. For peace of mind for both yourself and drivers while out on the road, opt for small and bright LED lights that are rechargeable. To be prepared for punctures, always carry enough tubes and pumps for easy and quick repair during your ride, or consider installing winter road bike tyres as a more safe-proof option. As cold weather can often be harsh on bikes, many people choose to purchase a specific bike just for the chillier seasons. 

Pay attention to your bike’s moving parts such as your gears, chain, cables, hubs, and bottom bracket, and remember to clean off any grime. It’s also worthwhile to examine wear on brake blocks and rims, as wet weather can do particular damage to these areas. Keeping on top of all these areas will reduce the risk of any mechanical mishaps. Much like driving a car, the last thing anyone wants is to find themselves in a breakdown situation during very cold weather. 

Prepare 

To avoid any cycling accidents, you’ll ultimately need to do some preparation beforehand. You can do this by utilizing cycling apps and plotting a sensible route in line with the predicted weather. Before heading out on a ride, make sure that your phone is fully charged, and that you have a place to secure money in case of any emergencies. Depending on your tolerance to bad weather it can also be a good idea to cycle with a friend or family member in particularly treacherous weather conditions.