Winter Riding

I came across this article online a few years ago, and thought it was some good basic information for winter riding.

How to prepare yourself for winter riding

Cycling during the winter season can be considered quite a challenge. Shortened daylight hours and the possibility of rainy or icy conditions are just some of the main challenges that eager cyclists have to deal with. While there’s not much we can do to change the conditions of the winter weather, we can still get better prepared for them.

Anyone who’s ever gone cycling in winter can tell you that the right approach is all about being visible, remaining warm and keeping dry. While preparations to the bike will include wider tires, lights, reflectors and mudguards, these last ones will win you favor from club members should you train with others on group rides.

When it comes to winter clothing, you can choose from many different options. The most appropriate clothing for winter cycling is made of big thin layers, instead of one or two thick ones. Multiple layers help keeping the air inside, which acts as a natural insulator. If you start getting warmed up from the effort of pushing the pedals around, it’s easy to simply remove one layer at a time rather than have to shed a big one and risk getting a cold. As in any sports in the past few years, cycling clothing has become much more technical. There are many great choices when it comes to thermal / base layers, stretchy polyester and breathable over jackets. If your budget is rather limited and can’t afford expensive gear, then it’s least worth staying away from cotton, which can hardly keep you warm, instead steer towards synthetic or woolen materials.

Now, regarding the visibility point of view it’s worth mentioning that the upper body is the largest area bikers are likely to see. With this in mind, it’s wise to wear a jacket or jersey in fluorescent colors or something that has reflective strips. The same goes for the hats and gloves that you’re using. On this point, reflective strips on pedals or shoes are also very important, as it’s the very action of the peddling motion that will catch the biker’s eye.

Cycling in the rain can be a stifling experience if you don’t get properly equipped. Again, there are many options ranging from small low cost capes to top quality breathable jackets and leg-wear. If you plan to cycle on a regular basis, it’s well worth investing in more substantial gear. Some of the best options provide a combination of being waterproof but are also designed in bright and florescent colors. Finding something that properly covers both options has obvious tremendous benefits.

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