The merriest season is here! It is winter time. The time when the Christmas trees lit up, the time when red and white is seen everywhere when gifts start flowing in and more and more cakes are flown out of ovens. With all the sweetness and coziness around, we are here to remind you that riding is still an essential part of your routine, we are here to keep you going with the biking. We do not want our dearest bikers to lose out on the fun of cycling in winter because we believe there is nothing more refreshing than finding ways to sweat yourself out in the chills of this weather. Take it from us, the cycling survival guide, to stay warm, healthy and also adventurous in winters. These tips will help to keep you riding.
The onset of winter shouldn’t be a hindrance in your routine, we will help you and prepare you for the weather and biking conditions and situations. To think about cycling in the colds and chills, the entire idea may seem very daunting (at the same time haunting) because well, we all know how difficult it is to pull yourself out of the cozy bed and blanket. It is hard even for those who are experienced in riding in the colder months many times before.
Although we admit that one cannot beat the task of cruising around on a bicycle in the summer, with short sleeves and sunglasses, and the scorching heat that befalls, but there’s still a lot of enjoyment that can be derived from winter-riding, let alone just the benefits of keeping the legs turning and fresh air gushing and caressing your face. Now it’s the time to gear you up to face a winter of cycling
The most obvious and arguably important factor in winter weather riding is, of course, clothing. The right windproof, thermal and waterproof gear can keep you dry and warm on rides so that you barely notice how cold it is. A full set of winter clothing can at first seem like a large expense, but choosing carefully and layering up can give you a range of clothing to suit a range of temperatures. There’s a temptation to throw on thick fleeces and waterproofs to stave off the cold, but you also have to consider that they will make you sweat, even when the temperature is nudging zero. Sweat can accumulate under your clothes to make you feel wet, cold and clammy. Not sure whether you have enough clothes on (or too many)? Then go outside before your ride and see how it feels. Remember that the effort of riding will warm you up a bit. You can try for yourself and choose the perfect cycling outfit for yourself according to your own needs.
It’s a sad fact that the worse the weather, the more likely you are to get a puncture. Wet road conditions create some kind of magical lubrication for thorns, shards of glass and sharp pieces of flint to stab their way through the carcass of your tyre and into your inner tube. This happens mostly at the most inconvenient times of the ride. Make sure that you have at least two tubes and a working pump – and you have to check that it works if you haven’t used it for a while. In addition, when you operate them in low temperatures, the gas can cause the head of the canister to freeze, including to your gloves or fingers. We say this from bitter experience. If you are riding in a group, make sure before you set out that between you, you have enough tubes and pumps. Don’t rely on someone else having it all.
- FOOD & DRINK
Eating enough before and during a ride is as important in winter as it is at any other time of year. Be aware that some energy bars can become very hard during low temperatures, so either keep them somewhere warm (e.g. a jersey back pocket) or opt for a softer product. Keep drinking regularly too. It may not be obvious that you are sweating under all that clothing, but fluid loss happens when cycling at any temperature. If the temperature is really cold, then mix your drink with hot or warm water to stave off the chilling effect, at least for a while. Of course, a café stop on longer rides is even more essential during winter, giving you a chance to have a hot drink and a large slice of cake. Make sure you stay warm and don’t cool off too much when you are stopped.
Hovering around damp, mucky lanes on your 23mm racing rubber is not the best idea for a number of reasons, not least the lack of grip and risk of slicing up expensive rubber. We’d opt for tyres that offer a degree of puncture protection and are harder wearing. There are a few perennial favourites for winter riding, but many other tyre manufacturers offer similar models. They don’t stop all punctures, but every little thing helps. Tubeless tyres and solid tyres are also an option, those these are currently slightly more expensive and fiddlier to install than regular tyres and tubes.
We’re seeing more and more riders using lights all year round in daylight as a way of highlighting their presence to other road users. In winter, this is arguably more important as it can get very gloomy on overcast winter days when the sun is at its weakest. Small, light and very bright rechargeable LED lights can be commonly found and won’t break the bank. 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.
These are the essential list that you’d need to keep in mind when preparing yourself for winters. Include these and you’re good to go. Book your Yulu and get on the roads!