Do you cycle through winter? +£40 voucher competition!

Zalando Cycling

This competition is now closed!

We’ve got five £40 vouchers to giveaway from Zalando – read on and leave a comment to be entered in the competition!

As cyclists in London have been feeling a hint of the winter chills that are to come, readers have been asking about winter cycling gear. We’ve shared our tips on the blog and for this weeks comment Friday we’re asking:

When the real cold weather arrives, are you going to keep cycling?

There’s no place like London in the summer, but moody grey skies and gloomy weather reports are enough to make you want to stay under the warm duvet during the cold months.

I’d be interested in hearing from readers. Does the winter weather put you off cycling or do you enjoy it as much as the summer months? How do you cope with the colder weather?

My typical response when the rain is coming down is to hop on the tube. However, after a few days of this, I start missing my bike. It’s not long before I’m back on two wheels and putting my oyster card back in the draw where it belongs.

There’s a real joy to be discovered with winter cycling. It’s a fun challenge to battle with the elements, especially if you’ve got the right gear to prove you victorious. It’s also a great time to feel alive. The wind and rain lashing against me, gives me all the more drive to pedal to my destination.

However, I know not everyone feels the same. There are certainly less cyclists around during the winter months. Those you do see are snuggly wrapped up with scarves and wooly hats. Their bikes being destined to spend winter time in the garage, shed or hallway of their homes.

What are your thoughts on winter cycling. Leave a comment below!

Competition details

Zalando were kind enough to provide us with the five vouchers and they have a great selection of cycling clothes to spend it on. To enter the competition, you must be based in the UK. Each reader gets one entry and the four winners are randomly chosen and contacted through the email address they provide in the comment form below. Our usual competition rules apply and no purchase is necessary to enter. Note that there is a minimum purchase amount for the vouchers which is half the value of the voucher code, in this case £20.

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153 Responses to Do you cycle through winter? +£40 voucher competition!

  1. Jon Malcolm 20/09/2013 at 8:22 am #

    Last year I achieved a 100% commuting cycle rate through winter, including all of the snowy days. I found the dark mornings and evenings more of a challenge to my motivation than the weather as such.

    My recreational cycling certainly falls off a little but I detest commuting by car or public transport so much that I can’t imagine not hopping onto my bike on a morning at this point.

  2. Neil Findlay 20/09/2013 at 8:27 am #

    For the past 3 years cycle in all conditions, bar the worst snow. even then resort to walking instead.

    only downside is the crud that gets picked up by the bike, no matter how well oiled, and prepped you are going into the winter season, the bike always looks a tad worse for wear coming out the other side of it.

    Salt – good for melting the ice, bad for the frame!

  3. Raz 20/09/2013 at 8:53 am #

    Winter.. A time for long miles and easy riding. But there is something really nice in the Challenge of sitting on a bike for 6 or more hours in the freezing weather, a real character building activity.

    When riding in winter I feel there are two types of riding; there are the nice rides in dry but bitterly cold weather, where you feel encapsulated in a bubble of wind proof and thermal clothing – the only thing getting cold is the end of your nose and cheeks. Then there are the hard man rides in rain and cold where the first half an hour seems bearable until the wet sets in and your gloves become ineffective and the squelch starts in your shoes… Never enjoyable until after the event when comparing the hard man-ness of your rides with fellow hard men.

    Then there is the snow.. A further extension of the hard man’s ability, where usually a mandatory cyclocross style carry of the bike from the house to the gritted road occurs, followed by a frantic scratching of ice out of the SPD cleats. It’s in these conditions that you start to chuckle to yourself about how foolish you actually are, when the slush is firing up into the mud guards and sprays out of each side all over your legs and feet somehow managing to find the bit at the top of your overshoes allowing the melting snow to seep into your shoes.

    So all in all, as you can probably tell winter is one of my favourite times to ride as there is a challenge in being committed enough to ride through winter without giving up. Keep cycling!

  4. Chris 20/09/2013 at 8:56 am #

    I keep riding through winter, the money it saves comes in handy for more presents and I actually love cycling in the cold, not so much the wet but it could be worse.

    Just started updating my winter cycling kit too, would recommend checking out sport persuit for some good lights at the moment, still need a nice new winter jacket though……

    http://www.sportpursuit.com/join/Chris_Brown_8337

  5. Mik 20/09/2013 at 9:20 am #

    I cycled through last year, it’s a 25 mile round trip for me from where I park the car in to work and back, if I didn’t cycle I’d be driving and then walking a mile and a half anyway as it’s the only sensible way for me to do the commute.

    I’ve decent showers at work so I don’t mind arriving wet although putting on cold damp kit when it’s time to ride home isn’t the best. I have come to detest windy days a lot more than wet ones.

    Trying to avoid the snow and ice is all well and good, but I found the weather in the morning often bore no relation to the weather in the evening and after the first time I rode in in sunshine and rode back in driving sleet it seemed pointless to try and avoid it.

    I did manage to pick up an injury in February, after the cold weather had given up, riding through an area with a bit of a microclimate that I should have remembered and losing the front completely on a patch of black ice. It’s made me a bit more wary, but I can’t imagine not riding, when I have to bring the car in, sitting in nose to tail traffic thinking how I’d still be moving if I was on the bike just grates too much!

  6. Damian 20/09/2013 at 9:20 am #

    Continue to ride through the winter, a bit bleak at times, just found last year that overshoes are essential.

  7. Sarah 20/09/2013 at 9:29 am #

    I almost look forward to the colder days – fewer cyclists on the road! I’ll cycle through pretty much anything other than really strong winds and ice – don’t feel safe in traffic in the former, have been bounced off a couple of buses down the A5 in past times, and it can be just too tricky to see ice in the dark on the way home. Otherwise, rain, hail, snow and I’ll cycle. The reasons I hate the tube don’t go away just because it’s colder and wet. That said, it did take a little bit more of a self pep talk to continue the daily 12 miles round trip through last March.

  8. Charlie Bladon 20/09/2013 at 9:34 am #

    It’s only really depressing riding in and home again in the dark both ways. But worth it as when the days get longer it feels fantastic.

    Whatever the weather it beats the tube.

  9. Toby Field 20/09/2013 at 9:35 am #

    I cycle throughout the winter using the car when needed. The cold isn’t the problem, the dark is, as has been already mentioned. Trying to get up in the mornings is a struggle but riding in the dark is no longer a problem since I upgraded my front light to a Lezyne Super Drive XL last winter. I have a 2 mile stretch with no street lights whatsoever. I can now sometimes take the longer unlit route if I wish.

  10. Ted Daniells 20/09/2013 at 9:38 am #

    I enjoy cycling into work whatever the weather.

  11. Jo 20/09/2013 at 9:40 am #

    My non-cyclist friends always ask the boring question “isn’t it too cold?”. Yes it is when you first hop on your bike, especially if you forget your gloves. But after two minutes, when the blood starts pumping you’re quickly nice and toasty. I’ve done train and bus commuting and remember well shivvering on a platform or at a bus stop. Now that IS cold.

  12. Donal 20/09/2013 at 9:47 am #

    I try to cycle as much during the winter as I do during the summer. It’s so much nicer than getting stuck on a train, tube or bus. I tend to put some of the money I save towards new cycling kit and more hot chocolate! So there’s certainly an upside to it. I also notice a marked change in my mood (for the positive) if I have cycled or run to work,
    I’m very lucky in that I have showers and tumble dryers at my office, so I can get stuff dry before heading home again.

  13. L'Anglaisfou 20/09/2013 at 9:47 am #

    I have cycled through winter for the last 9 years. Temperatures down to -20. The alternative to a 30 min cycle ride for me is a 90 min public transport marathon involving 2 busses and a tram.

    Only once did I baulk at going when I went outside to find that it was raining and 1cm of black ice had covered the road. No one moved that day, even in cars came down our hill sideways.

    I use a standard hybrid in winter with spiked tyres without problems on loose and packed snow black ice can still be a bit tricky especially on bends and I have had the rear wheel slide a bit even with the spikes.

    I tend not to clip in on snowy days rather use a pair of light summer treking boots. Ski gloves are a must in the morning at anything below -10. Otherwise just full finger gloves with liners. I wear a thin cotton balaclava along with a beany hat under my helmet.

  14. David Harvey Williams 20/09/2013 at 9:47 am #

    A day not on the bike is a day wasted. We lost our car in January last year so it was every journey by bike.
    Switching to CX tyres on the road bike helps cope with the wetter, slipperier conditions. The answer for the body is layers and a radiator to dry things out. Fleecy lined bib tights are invaluable as is under-helmet skull cap.
    I tend to drop the long 50-60 mile rides as the cold does catch up eventually but everyday around Richmond Park keeps up the weekly mileage.
    I have a 29er this winter so even the snow shouldn’t be too much of a barrier

  15. James 20/09/2013 at 9:48 am #

    I fully intend on doing so, just need to find suitable gloves! I do like that there are fewer cyclists on the road (or so it seems) but really do not like the slippery man hole covers that plague the London streets!

  16. Jade 20/09/2013 at 9:49 am #

    I’m going sure as hell going to try!! I only started cycling daily in June so have yet to experience winter on a bike!

  17. Jade 20/09/2013 at 9:50 am #

    I’m going sure as hell going to try!! I only started cycling daily in June so have yet to experience winter on a bike! Sounds like the motivation to get out of bed will be the most difficult bit!

  18. Mike 20/09/2013 at 9:54 am #

    I ride every day, just like I have done for the past 17 years…. Until it gets really muddy and dark I’ll be riding offroad, the only concession to rain is using a shorter and less mud-prone route.

    Tips:
    Enjoy your ride. Even if it’s awful.
    Keep a full set of clean clothes at work.
    A hot shower is wonderful on a cold morning…
    Skullcap on frosty days.
    Good winter gloves.
    Bike love:wash the bike twice a week when it’s muddy and make sure you oil the chain lots. Mud specific tyres are a Good Thing.
    Snow is fun. Slush less so.
    Smile nicely at the tenth person who asks you if you rode in on a wet/snowy day.
    If the weather looks ok go for a lunchtime rides to stretch the legs and offset the shorter commutes.
    CO2 inflator helps for punctures when it’s cold.
    Layer clothing so you can adjust warmth,it’s often not as cold as you think.

  19. james 20/09/2013 at 10:01 am #

    The mornings are the worst…looking out, your mind makes all kind of excuses…but once you get kitted up (layers are best), and get on the bike, you soon warm up.

    The only times I relent is if it is overly windy or icy/snowy – and thus becomes dangerous

  20. Freya 20/09/2013 at 10:02 am #

    I’ve cycled to/from work in all weathers in Oxford, Manchester, Sydney and London. I like cycling in cold weather and don’t really mind cycling in rain – so long as I have the right tyres and mudguards!
    Snow has got me on public transport a few times but I’ve always got back on my bike at the first opportunity.
    I’ve been ill recently and haven’t been able to do much cycling. Last weekend I got out my bag of cycling gear and started checking what I have – and what now fits! It’s time to get out and about!

  21. Jack 20/09/2013 at 10:11 am #

    I cycle all year round, and one thing that’s for certain is this: cycling in the summer is a lot more fun if you’ve endured the wind, rain and snow during the other three seasons. Yes, waking up in the morning and hearing the rain battering down can make getting out of bed a challenge – let alone getting on a bike – but there’s still no better feeling than cycling, whatever the weather.

  22. Joel Levitt 20/09/2013 at 10:13 am #

    I have a bit of a hit and miss relationship with the colder weather but that mainly had to do with putting wet clothes on at the end of the day or just having the wrong clothes.
    This year however i’m determined to get on with it and have bought some Castelli nanoflex gear which worked wonders in yesterdays rain in keeping me warm.
    Wind is the worst for me to be honest but clothing doesn’t always work to nullify that so i just get on with it.
    I also have a 25mi commute so only cycle home (get the train in the morning) this means that i never have an excuse as i’ll be going home to a nice warm shower.

  23. Alan Moore 20/09/2013 at 10:19 am #

    I have a coat. And some gloves. Only really heavy rain stops me.

  24. KP 20/09/2013 at 10:22 am #

    The best part of my day is my commute… whatever the weather!

  25. Kevin 20/09/2013 at 10:23 am #

    I try and cycle to work every day. Only rule for me is ice think twice!

  26. Jozudave 20/09/2013 at 10:23 am #

    Although cycling is obviously nicer in summer I honestly don’t mind cycling in the winter. In fact I positively need it because the 30min morning commute by bike is sometimes literally the only sunlight I will have all day. If you go by tube (which I never do these days) then you can go a whole day with pretty much no sunshine. Not healthy!

    I don’t particularly mind if it’s cold either as long as you don’t forget something critical like your gloves or headscarf.

    Only proper snow stops me as it’s pretty dangerous to be sliding about on racing slicks.

  27. Mark 20/09/2013 at 10:25 am #

    Just got my winter bike on the road this week. With panniers, mudguards and steel frame, I’m moving a lot slower… but moving all winter I will be.

  28. Anthony Shaw 20/09/2013 at 10:28 am #

    Sweaty smelly bodies, big fat bellies, crowded platforms, those reading the Metro taking your eye out and lemmings shuffling from one train to another……I’ll stick with my bike thanks. It might be wet and cold but I’ll take that all the time.

  29. Francois 20/09/2013 at 10:30 am #

    “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
    ― John Steinbeck

  30. Alex 20/09/2013 at 10:32 am #

    I’d much rather be on my bike in winter than on a muggy tube or bus. My biggest problem is that I tend to wrap up warm for the start of the journey but then get too hot and take my gloves off as they’re the easiest thing to deal with mid-cycle. This results in dry, cracked and bleeding hands that no moisturiser can save!

  31. Adam 20/09/2013 at 10:33 am #

    As I only started cycling in July, so far I’ve only experienced a fabulous summer of cycling to and from work (14 miles each way) and a bit of wet weather over the last week or so. But, I’m hoping the buzz I get from being on the bike will not be dulled by cold, wet, windy and dark mornings.

    Being new to cycling, I have of course been doing a lot of research into winter cycling clothing that’ll keep me warm and dry (but not sweaty) and http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk has helped with that. Any other helpful tips will be greatly appreciated!

  32. Paul 20/09/2013 at 10:35 am #

    There’s not a lot that will stop me cycling: the day after snow when it’s melted and refrozen hard and glassy is about the only time – too scared of the potential damage to my precious bike! The hardest bit is getting the clothing combinations right, balancing protection from the elements and not getting too hot whilst riding.

  33. louisedaniel 20/09/2013 at 10:38 am #

    Hi, I always cycle through winter, even in the snow. The rain isn’t nice but if you have a good wateproof jacket (that drops down over your bum) and trousers (preferably breathable), you should be fine. And a spare dry clothes at the office just in case… So you need warm flexible gloves, a warm hat that doesn’t obscure your vision or stop you from hearing important noises – motorbikes revving or hooting drivers; you need warm shoes – I wear snow boots when it gets really cold, but stylish ones I can wear all day at work and with a skirt! And you need a good bike bag or something waterproof to put your laptop or work bag or handbag in. And something to hand to dry your bike seat with or a removeable cover. It’s a lot of things to remember to take with you in case it rains or is freezing cold at 6am… I always have a bag of stuff ready. I find a sturdy hybrid bike is fine in wet with thick knobbly tyes. It can get slippery, especially on cobbled stone or potholed, badly maintained roads – of which they are plenty where I live in Paris. Having to wear glasses is a problem but I have a neat waterproof peaked cap that pulls down over my ears, which is brilliant for keeping the rain off.

    I think lights on your bike in wet weather in the day time are a good idea.

    Louise

  34. Peter May 20/09/2013 at 10:40 am #

    I try and keep going throughout the year, but I do find roads that have refrozen overnight really hard to cycle along. I take a left hand turn about 100 yards from my house, one year I hit a patch of black ice on that turning, off I came. The following day, off I came again. The third day as I lay on the ground I just laid there laughing, a couple walking past thought I had gone mad. My winter clothing, which is made up of a number of layers, help me bounce and keep me warm.

  35. Sarah-jane 20/09/2013 at 10:42 am #

    I don’t mind the winter as long as I am wrapped up warm! It seems like there are fewer cyclists on the road which is always a plus. I am still searching for the perfect gloves though.

    I am spoiled by great facilities at work, so even if I arrive wet my clothes are nice and dry for the way home.

    The only thing I really hate are those gale force wind days. The wind wins most times, and has lead to some pretty hairy moments!

  36. Simon 20/09/2013 at 10:48 am #

    I actually look forward to winter cycling. I’m far more prone to getting hot on my bike than cold so enjoy not arriving at work in a sweaty heap. My route to work is along pretty well used roads so snow didn’t prove a problem last year and I cycled all through that winter. Thicker shorts, a thin jacket, gloves and sometimes two pair of socks is all I’ve needed so far to keep the cold off. That said I’d love to get some waterproof socks for the really wet days…

  37. Martin 20/09/2013 at 10:53 am #

    Yep I keep going through the winter. You obviously need to keep dry and warm so I have found merino base layers with a breathable waterproof shell to do the trick.
    Also I ride fixed and this not only keeps you warm as you are always moving but you’re also less likely to have an off when it’s icy.

  38. Jason 20/09/2013 at 10:55 am #

    Yeah apart from the wind it can be better sometimes in the winter:

    – less cyclists in your way on narrow cycle paths/ASL’s :)

    – arrive at work less sweaty

    – when you have decent lights on you’re probably more visible to traffic than in the daytime

    Also it’s good to do that much exercise in the colder months when you’re more likely to put the weight on otherwise :)

  39. Tom 20/09/2013 at 10:58 am #

    I cycle throughout the year – just adding more layers and lights as winter arrives. A cold crisp morning can often make for the most enjoyable rides, less people out on the road, warm up quickly but don’t overheat. Dress for the second half of the ride not the first is the trick – you a chilly start but will get warmer when underway.

    Shorts whatever the weather, but increasing layers are added on top, still need to crack the cold toes though, no combination of socks quite does it. Can be less pleasant having to slip on damp kit back on after a rainy ride, but try and keep a spare baselayer in the office so can switch that over at least for each ride.

    Ice is the only thing I will stop for, and then only if it is likely to be on more than just side roads, else I just creep my way out to main roads, and take the primary position to keep where cars have cleared the way – cyclepaths tend to be a no go.

  40. Freddy 20/09/2013 at 10:58 am #

    I cycle all year round for over five years and in all weather conditions. My tips: Mudguard is a must. Heavy rain in London don’t usually last longer than 5 min so stop for a while if necessary. Don’t bother too much with “special” rainproof clothing as you will be sweating anyway. Don’t wear too many layers of clothing, only the necessary to keep you warm for the first 5 minutes of your ride. Check your brakes as stopping on wet takes longer.

  41. Jason Coyne 20/09/2013 at 10:59 am #

    Yes, cycle throughout winter. Only leave the bike at home if it’s icy or heavy snow. I love riding my bike, I simply choose the kit to match the weather.

  42. Lizzie 20/09/2013 at 11:04 am #

    I worry my bike hates me in the cold weather. I’d much prefer to lean agaist the wall in my flat all day than be locked up in the exposed courtyard at my office. Poor thing

  43. Mik 20/09/2013 at 11:07 am #

    I definitely modify my route to more major roads and don’t give quarter on taking the road when the weather is properly horrible and snowy.

    Motivation wise I found the mantra ‘This is how I get to work now’ was surprisingly effective, taking away the concept that riding was a novelty and just getting on with it. I might not enjoy every ride, but I’m significantly less grumpy than I would be staring at the brakelights of the car in front in the traffic.

  44. Jules 20/09/2013 at 11:13 am #

    Faff…..Its Winter all year round in the UK….get out and ride!!

  45. Phil Hamilton 20/09/2013 at 11:20 am #

    Cycling through the winter is ok, as long as you accept the fact that you need to dress appropriately – in warm clothes, which include base layer, mid layer and windproof and insulating top layer. Thermal tights, good quality socks and overshoes should see your bottom half well protected. Decent gloves are essential, and I favour a skull cap under my helmet. Glasses are essential all the year – you only get one set of eyes.
    Choose some hi-vis top layers so as to be seen, and spend a bit on decent lights so you can see where you are going – as well as being seen.
    Beware of ice – too many falls have made this the only condition which has me using another form of transport.

  46. Joy 20/09/2013 at 11:25 am #

    You know what – I look forward to the icy winter weather! The full reason being my own laziness. In the summer, a quick 10 minute cycle down the road is guaranteed to leave me perspiring in the least ladylike manner (probably because I can’t cycle anywhere without racing Strava and every man I overtake..)! In the winter, I can don my classy lady clothes, hop on my road bike, and power cycle to work without even looking at the shower! A good set of winter gloves and well ventilated helmet is all you need :)

  47. KB 20/09/2013 at 11:37 am #

    Winter cycling is chilly, but standing still on the windy train platform not moving is far worse in my opinion.

  48. Jen 20/09/2013 at 11:39 am #

    I love cycling to work in the winter, I never have the right kit but as soon as the blood starts pumping I’m happy. I’d much rather be riding in the pouring rain than squished on a stuffy bus; it’s exhilarating in the cold. I also love the wry smile you can share with a fellow cyclist when it’s particularly bad. Bring it on weather!

  49. James 20/09/2013 at 11:40 am #

    I jump on Boris bike when working in London 2-3 days a week – in all weather no matter what time of year. They can be hard to find when the sun is out but in winter almost a guarantee to find several racked and longing to be takren for a cycle! Best part is not having to worry about cycle maintenance or lights as all taken care of by the Mayor!

  50. Jordi Martorell 20/09/2013 at 11:44 am #

    Last year I cycled every single weekday (taking and picking up my daughter to and from the nursery in the child seat and then to and from work) through rain and snow – the journey was made worse by the fact that Victoria Park (which we cross) closes earlier as days become shorter and we had to take a roundabout way through roads – there were some terrible days, but if you are well covered up it can be done

    my top tip is: make sure you keep your feet dry, nothing worse than wet feet in the cold in my opinion

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