This blog was originally published in January 2018, as such some aspects of the content may be out of date.
Foolishly, I convinced myself that the passing winter solstice and the start of a new year meant that spring was just around the corner. Well, a fortnight of dark mornings, rain, sleet and snow has quickly reminded me otherwise. If, like me, you’ve found yourself limited to a paltry diet of commuter rides, static bike sessions and wistful memories of summers gone then fear not. We’ve got a few tips to help you keep riding right through to spring.
Ride with friends
Riding in a group is a great idea any time of the year, but it can be particularly helpful to get you out in the winter. There’s no greater motivation than peer pressure and a week of abuse from your mates to stop you from dodging that Saturday morning ride. Plus, riding in a group will help protect you from the worst of the elements (just make sure you take your turn at the front!).
Check the forecast
We’ve found riding in the Peaks that weather forecasts can be about as useful as something that’s well, not very useful… But even so, its good to have a vague clue of what conditions to expect. Choose your bike, route, clothing and equipment accordingly. There’s few experiences less pleasant on a bike than getting caught in torrential sleet in just a jersey and a base layer.
Get out on a mountain bike
This one is naturally aimed predominantly at the roadies out there. Don’t fancy facing the weather because you reckon you’ll get soaked and covered in mud? Well that’s half the fun of riding on the trails! Even if you don’t fancy deviating onto singletrack, you’ll find you’re much less likely to spend your time getting to know the icy tarmac if you’re on the wider tyres.
Keep your bike well maintained
You go out on your trusty steed and it gets absolutely covered in grit and mud. No matter, you’ll give it a good wash just as soon as you get home. But then you get home, and a warm shower and a cup of tea beckons and you figure you’ll sort it out next time, one missed scrub down won’t hurt. You repeat this process for 4-6 weeks until your chain is practically orange with rust, your gears are crunching and your brakes are a myth. By this point, you’ve sucked all the joy out of actually riding your bike and decide to just bin the whole thing off until about April 24th. All this can be avoided if you just give your bike 10 minutes of TLC after a ride.
Treat yo’ self
When you do summon up the courage to get out on your bike in the depths of winter, you deserve a reward. So have the traybake AND the slice of cake, have two cups of coffee instead of one, stop off in that pub you’ve meant to check out every time you’ve ridden past it for the past 2 years. You’ve earned it!
Get the right gear
We think this one is the most important (although we might be a touch biased). People say there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. With that in mind, its worth working out exactly what works for you, at what temperatures. Fortunately, we’ve put together our best lines of winter clothing to keep you dry and warm until the sun finally returns, and we’ve wacked at least 30% off them all! Take a look here.
How do you keep yourself motivated to get out on two wheels over the winter? Let us know @PolarisBikewear.