Winter is upon us! But don’t let a bit of cold weather stop you getting out on your bike. With the right approach and some basic equipment, riding in winter can be fun - and incredibly rewarding.
Here are some of our top tips to keep you pedalling whatever the weather.
Wrap up warm. Start with your core. If you keep your body nice and warm it won’t steal warmth from your hands and feet to make up for it. Don’t have an insulated gilet to hand? No problem, the low-tech option of putting some newspaper down the front of your jacket works really well. Trust us.
Get weatherproof. Once you have a solid base think about keeping the wind, water, or even mud, out. A wind and waterproof jacket and overtrousers will keep your body toasty and dry.
Bright is best. It’s important to be seen on duller days and at night time. Dig out your loudest layers or invest in some reflective accessories. Our friends at Proviz make amazing hi-viz gear (see above) and you can even win some in the daily Winter Wheelers prize drawings.
Not the face. We love neck gaiters. They are a cheap and versatile way to keep the cold air off your neck and ears. They also double up as a mask which is great if you forget to pack one.
Toasty tootsies. If you suffer from cold feet, thicker socks are a must. Want to go one step further? Overshoes will keep the draught out and have the added bonus of keeping your shoes clean too! If it’s wet out there, you can put your feet in plastic bags before putting your socks on. It feels a bit strange at first, but it works better than even the fanciest waterproof socks.
Talk to the hand. Likewise gloves are a cold weather essential and the brighter the better. Loffi, one of our Winter Wheelers sponsors, make gloves that are waterproof, windproof and have happy reflective faces on them so you can clearly communicate your intentions to other road users!
Light it up. Get yourself a set of lights to help you see and be seen. Or, go to the next level like Tom, and strip light your whole bike. This isn’t just for night riding, on a cloudy day it really helps you stand out on the road. Beryl Laserlights ensure that drivers know you're there even if you're in their blind spot. Neat!
Give your bike some TLC. Cooler weather and tougher conditions are hard on your bike. Check out our Basic Bike Maintenance page, have a look on YouTube or book your bike in for a service. You can find your local bike shop here if you're logged into the site.
The joy of fenders. Seriously, fenders are great! They stop you getting surface water and mud all over yourself and, more importantly, the person behind you. We really love Paul’s fun fender hack.
Get a grip. That’s what we all want when we’re riding! In winter the roads are wetter and there is more debris. Try having your tires at a lower pressure, so you have more contact and grip with the road.
Keep it clean! The salt and water you kick up when cycling in winter are bad for your bike, so it's a good idea to give it a clean as often as possible, with a degreaser to dislodge moisture and gunk from moving parts where necessary. Wet weather chain oil also helps to keep you running smoothly through nasty weather.
Most importantly, enjoy it! If you're well prepared, riding on a crisp winter morning or battling through rain and cold on the way home can be invigorating, exciting and rewarding. Plus you'll reap all the brilliant benefits of biking right through the winter and arrive in spring feeling fitter and healthier than ever. Winter miles make for summer smiles.
Don’t forget to share your Winter Wheelers adventures with us in the Stories or on social media using #WinterWheelers.