24 jan 2017
BEAT THE WINTER, RIDE MORE AND WIN!
It’s cold, it’s wet, and it’s dark. Winter is a hard time for cycling – but it can be beaten. Here’s FSA’s tips for how to get through it, and come out the other side a stronger, fitter, better rider.
Get all your gear ready the night before, so all you’ve got to do is get changed and go. Make arrangements with friends – it’s harder to cancel. Join a club and benefit from the mutual motivation – and the relentless banter if you don’t show. Or even consider hiring a coach – sure, you could bag some serious upgrades for your bike for the cost of six month’s coaching, but your new knowledge, fitness and focus is a worthy investment too.
Then there are the mind games. Trick yourself into going out by telling yourself that, if you’re really hating it, you can bail out after 15 minutes. The chances are you won’t: once you’re riding, it’s fun. It’s the getting out there that was the hard bit.
The right winter gear is one of the best investments you’ll make, and the fundamental basis is getting some quality layers! A good, sweat-wicking base layer is the best starting place for keeping you warm and comfortable – which is in turn vital to motivation. Get a few thin ones, rather than one thick one, so they can be rotated in the wash – so you’ve always got something clean, dry and fresh – or they can be combined and worn together for extra warmth on the days that demand it.
A windproof softshell is more comfortable and far less sweaty than a full waterproof. Unless it’s pouring, it’s a better bet. Likewise, windproof gloves worn with liners are a greater advantage than cheap, chunky ’thermal’ ones. Go for full-length bib tights, and two thin pairs of socks if they’ll fit, or the staple of medium socks combined with overshoes.
Quality kit does cost money. There are good deals to be had, but also bad deals if you scrimp. If decent clothing helps you keep riding through the winter it’s a worthwhile investment that will pay off all year long.