With half of the country still covered in snow, it’s pretty safe to say that winter has well and truly arrived in the UK. Many of us are probably thinking about packing the bike away for the next couple of months (if you haven’t already!) but we say you don’t have to!
Yes, cycling can become pretty daunting as the nights draw in and the frosts arrive - but by finding some motivation and taking a few simple steps to make sure you’re safe and comfortable, becoming a winter cyclist isn’t as difficult as you might think.
Below is a list of tips, hints and ideas to help you kickstart the new year as a hardy winter cyclist.
Always remember to dress for today’s weather - not yesterday’s! If you’re somebody who insists on wearing shorts whatever the temperature then good for you. But for the rest of us, it’s important to dress whatever is most comfortable. (We recommend full-length leggings!)
Having said that, one of the biggest winter cycling mistakes is to wrap up too warm. It’s great to feel feel nice and snug as you set off, but within the first few minutes you’ll feel hot and clammy - not ideal for a morning commute!
The key areas to focus on wrapping up well are the extremities - hands, feet, neck and ears. Gloves and well-insulated shoes can be life savers when it comes to winter cycling! We also recommend a thin headband that can be worn under a helmet for keeping your ears warm during winter.
As well as keeping your body at a good temperature, it’s also important to make sure you are clearly visible during daytime, darkness and all weather conditions. It’s crucial during winter to wear bright and reflective clothing so that you can clearly be seen by other road users and stay safe on the roads.
Don’t be an idiot - get some good bike lights! In the UK it’s the law.
Whether you’re cycling in a city or a rural area, lights are important not only for you to see where you’re going but also others can also see you. As you’re more likely to be cycling in darkness during the winter months it’s more important than ever to make sure that you are seen by other road users.
We know it’s fashionable right now to remove mudguards, but it’s not cool to splatter others in mud - be considerate and invest in some mudguards!
At WheelAle, we are firm believers that cycling and sustenance go hand in hand!
After braving the weather, you definitely deserve a slice of cake or a drink to warm up. Check out some of our cycling routes and recommendations which feature pit stops along the way!
If it’s completely dark and tipping with rain, get the bus, or train, or drive instead. You won’t get a medal for braving the ice or snow on a treacherous commute.
Once you get used to cycling in colder conditions, you’ll begin to enjoy it - but don’t be a hero and above all, keep yourself safe whilst cycling during the winter months.