8 Tips to keep you riding all year

Fact: riding over the summer months is much easier than keeping up the pedalling momentum past October.

However, that doesn’t make it any less rewarding, any less fun or any less convenient.

Here are 8 ways to make sure you don’t stop getting out on your bike as the weather turns, and help ensure you enjoy it all year round:

1) Get your bike sorted

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A badly maintained bike can ruin your riding – repeated punctures, squeaky or rubbing brakes or ineffective gears all add up to a lousy ride. Over the winter months, your bike needs more TLC – so take some time to check the cables are in good condition, keep an eye on your brake pads, and replace the tyres for more winter worthy versions. Don’t forget to take a look at our Bike Doctor app if you’d like to do this maintenance yourself. Otherwise, take a look at some of our most recommended bike shops in London.

2) Wrap up

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Autumn riding doesn’t mean an entirely new wardrobe – just a few handy accessories to beef up your existing cycling kit. Leg warmers and arm warmers can transform your jersey and shorts to cosy cover-ups, a base layer should keep your core temperature up, and good gloves, overshoes, a buff and a cap will make sure your extremities are toasty. Accessories are in-expensive and they make all the difference. Here are our top tips on autumn clothing.

3) Light up

You really can ride off road, in the pitch black with the right lights

You really can ride off road, in the pitch black with the right lights

A really good set of lights enables you to ride on unlit, country roads and even off-road way after the sun has gone down, and before it’s come up. In the darker months, drivers are often all tucked up inside and the roads can be blissfully quiet at these times – so take an 800+ lumen front beam out and enjoy yourself. Do make sure you ride responsively with it – don’t dazzle oncoming road users, and always take up a back-up set. My personal favourite lights is the Exposure Diablo – not cheap – but well worth it for the reliable 24/7 riding freedom it provides. Here’s our definitive bike light guide.

4) Take it off-road

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Sometimes slogging it on wet, greasy, leafy tarmac gets old – and that’s fine. I tend to get out on a cyclocross bike over the autumn and winter months – riding through mud and forests is great fun, wonderful for your bike handling skills, and it’s refreshing if you usually stick to tarmac. If you’ve got a MTB or CX bike, your set – and putting some mud friendly tyres on a sporty hybrid bike will also give you the opportunity to get on the trails.

5) Enter an event

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Struggling with motivation? Scare yourself into getting the miles in by entering an event. Your challenge could be a winter sportive (or MTB event), or if you’re thinking long term, it could be an early spring ride that requires some serious building up to. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you know requires some extra effort from you, and if you can, enlist a buddy to sign up with you, so you can work towards to goal together.

6) Ride for treats

An awesome mug always heels warmer

An awesome mug always feels warmer

If you commute to and from work, make sure there is something nice waiting for you at either end. One winter, I had some absolutely divine Vanilla flavoured coffee in my desk draw, and it was a wonderful warm-up treat after cold morning miles.

7) Train indoors

A turbo trainer allows you to ride indoors

A turbo trainer allows you to ride indoors

If most of your riding is commuting, this option wont serve that purpose – but it will drastically boost your fitness. Training indoors with a turbo trainer means there are no distractions – no roundabouts, no traffic lights – and no descents or freewheeling. That means every second of pedaling counts, and you can pedal super hard with your eyes closed if need be – not something that’s possible on the road.

Training on the turbo trainer is hugely effective for boosting power on the bike, but you should always start with a session in mind, as simply pedaling for the same duration as you would outside will be mind numbing and you won’t put the effort in. Here’s our guide to turbo training.

8) Take a break when you need to

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Lashing it down with so much rain you can’t see where you’re going? Caught the office bug? Just feel really tired? Winter takes it’s toll, and we can’t be at our best for 12 months of the year. It is ok to take a break sometimes, especially if you ride events or race in the summer – so take the opportunity to enjoy a little downtime when you need to, you deserve it.

Have you got any tips to add?

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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.

5 Responses to 8 Tips to keep you riding all year

  1. Roger 22/10/2014 at 10:07 am #

    The delights of cycling in winter are many:

    You don’t have to wait at a freezing bus stop – cycling my be cold for the first five minutes but after that…

    You’re not exposed to the coughs and sneezes of public transport and the drunken Christmas misery

    You get home nice and warm so whilst you cool down the radiators warm up

  2. Phil 23/10/2014 at 8:21 am #

    Cold weather gives me a bit more of an incentive to keep moving. Feet, hands, head and body need to be kept warm- in that order- or it can be a real drag trying to defrost extremities.

  3. Tom 24/10/2014 at 2:16 pm #

    9. Think about how miserable going to work by tube is.

    • Ross 24/10/2014 at 9:59 pm #

      I could never go back to taking public transport. I ride all year round in rain sunshine or snow. Not had so much as a sniffle for 3 years that I’ve been riding. Gone now is the annual chest infection.

  4. Spencer 25/10/2014 at 12:01 am #

    Numbers cycling on my commute are getting less which is pleasant, however the numbers of cars seems to be increasing which isn’t so great.

    Also discovered it is safer cycling in the rain with panniers than with a backpack. Lower centre of gravity means less likely to come off when cornering (though the road rash and bashed up elbow gained whilst making this awesome discovery are still recovering).

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