Keeping Fit During Winter
As a cyclist we keep ourselves fit during the summer, racking up the miles. But as winter comes, and it gets icy outside, we tend not to venture out as much. In this situation, it can be hard to sustain the motivation, especially when it’s cold and wet. But little do we know Cycling is one of the few sports that you can do all-year-round, even the UK’s weather doesn’t get quite that bad!
So we sat down, and had a think, and then did some more thinking, and finally came up with this ‘top tips’ list for you to read…
1. Dress for the weather
Now to most, this is an obvious one, but at times, we don’t think about it as much as we should. There’s an old saying; ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ and there is some truth in it. If you invest in some decent clothing, such as Gore or Altura, and really think about what you need, it can vastly improve your happiness when cycling, this also leads to improving your motivation too! Once you know you’ve got the clothes to keep you warm, you’ll be a lot less inclined to stay in, just because it’s a bit cold and damp outside.
2. Preparation is crucial
The last thing you want to do before going out on a ride is rushing around the house getting all your clothing together. What we suggest is that you get all your equipment ready the night before, for example, clothes laid out, tyres pumped up and lights charged up. This means you can step out of bed, and into your cycling gear, needing only to fill your bottle with water. This means you are relaxed, prepared, and ready to go.
3. Get some cycle lights
Yes riding in the dark isn’t as relaxing as a sunny day, but you can get around that, with a set of modern, bright lights, such as Cat Eye Going back to clothing, remember to buy something reflective, so this increases your visibility to other drivers hugely. Safety is something we push, as it can be dangerous if you haven’t got the right equipment.
4. Enter a cycle event
Once you’ve been on your bike for a while, and got many miles on the clock, you might want to compete against others with similar mind-sets. This also increases your fitness, as you are pushing yourself harder, in order to win the race. By entering competitions you will also meet other people with same interests, who then you might go riding with at the weekends.
5. Have a winter plan of action
Enter winter with a plan of action. Set goals for yourself, so you know you have something to achieve. These can anything from shortening the ride time of your morning commute, to setting a sprint time on your Sunday ride. Apps such as Strava allow you to track your route, progress and distance goals. You can share this through Social Media.
6. Cycle commuting
If commuting to work on your bike is something that you haven’t done it before, then why not give it a go? When could a better time to start than winter? If you start now, then the weather will only get better! Not only will it keep you fit, but you’ll also save money, as you won’t be paying fuel costs to get to work. This isn’t something you have to do every day, however once you start, it’s not so easy to stop (remember… motivation!)
7. Explore new cycle routes
If on your weekend ride, you keep cycling the same route, you’ll probably start to get quite bored, that’s why its often a good idea to jump on the tinterweb, and see where other people have been riding. Forums a great place for this kind of thing, as you will see reviews of cycle paths near you.
8. Meet a friend for a weekend ride
At the weekend, it can be a good time to meet your friend(s) for a ride. Exercising while socialising can be a great way to get or keep fit, if you don’t naturally enjoy exercising. Because you’re having a good time with your mates, you don’t realise how much effort you are putting in, on the trails, or on a canal path, or even on the A59, if you’re a roadie!
9. Ride with the local club
If you don’t know anyone who is into their cycling as much as yourself, then maybe it’s time to join the local cycle club. These are often on Saturday or Sunday mornings, or even on weekdays, sometimes in the evening. These are not only a great opportunity to meet new people, but also having a regular cycle meet can get you in the regime of a regular ride. Also, when the weather is bad, riding in large groups can often raise the spirits, as ‘your all in the same boat’. Click here to see local Cycle Clubs.
11. Get on the turbo
So if you really can’t face going outside, then maybe it’s time you looked at getting yourself a Turbo Trainer. If you don’t fancy the night riding, or can’t get out in the day, then a Turbo is for you. You can put them in the living room (if the wife will let you) or in the garage if you want to be alone. A great way to stay on it for longer is to have a TV in front of you, to keep you distracted from exercising, as it can get a bit tedious, looking at a brick wall. This is also something you can do with friends, if you have space, then invite your mate(s) round with their turbos, for a group session.