Survival guides to cycle in winter (Part 2)

  1. Use a winter bike

Some people keep a specific bike just for winter because they know that cold weather can be harsh on bikes. Usually, to cope with a slower winter pace they are equipped with wider tyres, cheaper parts, lights and mudguards, and perhaps have lower gears.

An aluminium-framed road bike with puncture-resistant tyres, lights and mudguards makes the perfect winter machine.

You can reasonably expect to see your average speed drop and your winter bike may be heavy, but when you switch back to your ‘best’ bike in the spring, you’ll be flying.

We’d say go for it if you can afford a winter bike. Otherwise, your regular bike should be ‘winterised’.

Many keep hold of an old bike and turn it into a winter machine when they buy a new one. Others will go out and specifically buy a bike for the purpose: winter bikes are popular as cyclocross bikes, as are cheaper mountain bikes with slicks, aluminium-framed road bikes, and hybrids.

  1. Food and beverage

It important eating enough before and during a ride in winter as it is at any other time of year. So either keep some energy bars somewhere warm (such as a jersey back pocket) or opt for a softer product, for example gels and be aware that during low temperatures can become very hard.

You should regularly too. It may not be obvious that fluid loss happens when cycling at any temperature or you are sweating under all that clothing.

Mix your drink with warm or hot water to stave off the chilling effect if the temperature is really cold, at least for a while.

Of course, a café stop on longer rides giving you a chance to have a large slice of cake and a hot drink is even more essential during winter. Make sure you don’t cool off too much and stay warm when you are stopped.