TOP TIPS FOR WINTER LONG RIDES
Posted on November 23 2021
Winter cycling on the roads can be exhilarating but you need to make sure you are properly prepared to enjoy those lovely sunrises and sunsets, by wearing the right kit and planning your rides whatever the conditions might be. Here we’ve put together some hints and tips you might need to make the most of your winter riding.
In the winter when the light is generally poorer, if you cycle in a group, you will be more noticeable than when you’re cycling alone. Going out as part of a group also helps with motivation on those cold wet days when you might be looking for excuses to get out of a ride. So, dust down your contact book and get social with your winter cycling!
In a group or even as a duo, you’ll always have someone alongside should you run into trouble, and to give a helping hand with any mechanical issues. Maybe it’s even time to join that local cycle club you’ve had an eye on?
You also need to ensure you make yourself as visible as possible. You can’t have enough lights, particularly when riding in urban areas, but you need to make sure they are working correctly and positioned where they can best be seen. Check for any obstructions and check how securely they have been affixed and also do a quick check before each journey for added safety. Small, light and very bright rechargeable LED lights are now a great go-to and they are also relatively inexpensive. Having lights with you at all times also relieves the worry that you will get caught in the dark during shorter days. Make sure that your lights are charged (or you have fresh batteries) before every ride.
Remember that the position you adopt on you ride on the road is also vital. Take command of your space in the road as this will give you a little extra safety space and be extra cautious when you see cars signalling as their vision might be impaired by misted windscreens.
When it’s wet, it’ll take you longer to stop when braking in the wet, so make sure you take this into account. Also, road markings and manhole covers can be more slippery in the wet, so take extra care when riding across them. Your vision is also compromised in darker winter conditions, so you need to become very good at anticipating other road users’ behaviour and watch out for fallen leaves as they create a slippery surface. If you’re riding in a group leave a bit more room between you and your fellow cyclists.
Keep Fuelled & Tooled
You burn more calories riding in the cold and wet so make sure you are properly stocked with preferably lightweight provisions including food, protein bars and snacks and energy drinks. Keep drinking regularly as well. It may not be obvious that you are sweating under all your clothing, and that fluid loss happens when cycling at any temperature.
Don’t forget your bike might need some TLC as well so ensure you are carrying a couple of spare inner tubes and a multi-tool, to get you out of any mechanical jam you might find yourself in.
Take It Slow
When actually cycling on cold days you need to bear in mind It might take a while for your body, especially your joints and muscles, to warm up properly, so take it easy at first and don't burst into a sprint as soon as you set off. Leave extra time for your body to warm up make sure that you cycle slower in wet and snowy conditions. There's no need to risk your safety for the sake of a few minutes.
Don’t push yourself too hard. Taking some time off the bike can actually be an ideal way to recharge your batteries and take stock of your cycling and what you want to achieve. Fitness will start to drop after a couple of weeks of inactivity – and will take nearly three times as long to recondition – so taking a complete rest from cycling isn’t a good idea, but you can embrace a sensibly modified training routine. You can also supplement what you are not doing in the saddle with regular gym sessions targeting specific, relevant muscle groups. If you are not sure what gym routines best complement cycling book in a couple of sessions with a specialist PT and work with them on creating the perfect programme for yourself.
Beware, as conditions can change quickly, with cold fronts descending with the sun so ensure you have plenty of layers to rely on, to ensure you have a number of options for creating optimum comfort conditions. The right windproof, thermal and waterproof gear should keep you dry, comfortable and warm on winter rides so that you barely notice how cold it is.
Check out Megmeister’s Thermal Winter Jerseys for men and women. These have been designed utilising renowned M.I.T.I Thermoroubaix fabrics, treated with DRW, that keep the rider warm and dry throughout winter cycle rides, in the most challenging weather and temperature conditions without the excessive bulk and discomfort experienced with other brands’ winter jerseys.
A jacket will also be essential and they don’t come any better featured and winter-proof than the Megmeister men’s and women’s 4 Seasons Winter Jacket that has been designed by cycle specialists in conjunction with team riders and features a raft of technical features as well as being made from a hard-wearing high-performance fabric. The jacket is water resistant and insulated to meet the additional demands of winter cycling. The clever integration of an advanced outer membrane with a luxury, merino lining provides the perfect balance between dry, warmth and breathability.
Then there’s the super lightweight, highly versatile Megmeister Hybrid Wind Vest that combines enhanced water resistant and wind proof capabilities with excellent thermoregulation in a single design for both men and women braving the variable conditions of winter riding. It comes with safety-first reflective elements and 2 pre-cut slits to allow easy access to jersey pockets. What’s more the Hybrid Wind Vest folds up easily to fit in your back pocket in order to be ready when you need some extra insulation and wind protection.