Every body loves riding in the warmth of the summer sun, but when it comes to the colder and darker days of winter there are noticeably fewer riders out on the roads. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little bit of preparation and the right mindset there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy those cold, crisp mornings and build a solid base of fitness ready for when the weather takes a turn for the better.
We have outlined some of the key considerations to make sure you get the most out of your winter training.
Dress For the Occasion: There’s truth in the old adage that says ‘there’s not such thing as bad weather, just bad kit’. The rain and cold can be off putting for some, but with the right kit there’s no reason why you can’t be warm and protected from the elements and ensuring that your hard earned fitness gains are not lost due to a few months of less than desirable weather. It’s always worth spending that bit extra and getting kit that’s going to do the job and last you a few dark winters.
Be Prepared: When it’s cold and dark outside it’s easy to find excuses for not going out and riding when we said we would, or we have a scheduled session on our training plan. That’s why you need to be prepared, and the best way to do this is lay all of your kit out the night before, make sure your bottles are full and your lights and Garmin are charged and on your bike so that all you have to do in the morning is get dressed and go.
Lights, Bike, Action: If you’re riding in the winter then you’re going to be riding in the dark on a fairly regular basis, which isn’t a problem so long as you’re ready for it. There are some great lights out there ideal for not only lighting the way, but enabling other road users to see you from a long way off. Personally we are huge fans of the Exposure range of lights, which have served us well on expeditions all over the world and enabled us to be on the road before day breaks and late into the night.
New Tyres: There’s a time and a place for skinny, slick tyres that you can fly around your local roads on chasing KOMs and PBs. Winter is not that time. The main concern for winter is avoiding any nasty spills on roads that can become slippery, and where possible avoiding punctures from an increased amount of debris on the roads. All of the top tyre manufacturers have a good selection of heavy duty tyres ideal for the winter months, giving you peace of mind and great durability.
Have a Goal: Be it a local race during winter or one of out Moroccan expeditions, it’s always good to have a focus and something to look forward to during the darker months. By having such a target there is always motivation to get up and get your training rides done, even if on some mornings it is far more tempting to stay in bed. You might think it’s just one missed session, but once you miss one it’s easier to miss two, and then three and so on. So have a goal and use it to stay focused.
Mental Strength: It’s important to have the right mental approach to riding in the winter, to ensure that you remain upbeat and positive despite the conditions being less than favourable. Not only will you be building physical fitness, but you will be building your mental strength by overcoming the elements. Stay positive, enjoy it for what it is and remember it can always be worse, you could not be cycling at all.