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. goonz 20/09/2013 at 11:54 am #

    Winter months give me the ideal training on my commutes for the spring and summer. Having cycled for a few years now I have ammassed a plethora of gear that keeps me just right in all weather.

    Some things will inevitably always happen. In extreme rain you WILL get wet however protected you are. In extreme cold you WILL have cold toes and fingers. Just wrap up better and pedal harder!

    Roads are definitely already quieter of cyclists which is better for me but I would be lying if I said on those coldest of winter mornings or when you look out the window and see the rain lashing down and your clothes are still a little damp from the previous nights wet commute I do think twice, thrice!

  2. Ivan 20/09/2013 at 11:54 am #

    There’s something invigorating about cycling in the winter
    Drivers in their bubbles
    look to their left, with a look of worried perplexity,
    the savage breeze, raking drops of rain across your face,
    the steady drip from the rim of your helmet, piercing the mighty stream of steam of your exhale.
    You pedal on at speed, slicing though the elements,
    entraining earth and water in the wind of your wake,
    and a fire burns inside you, fending off the bitter cold.
    Drivers in their bubbles
    wonder what its like, what it’s worth.
    It’s like mastering the elements,
    and it’s worth a try.

    • Ivan 20/09/2013 at 11:55 am #

      Two wheels master the elements

  3. Raivo 20/09/2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Cycling through wintry London is alright there could be little bit better lighting and during icy times cycle roads need gritting as well!

  4. Aman 20/09/2013 at 12:32 pm #

    It all about furry leggings for me! if I’ve got those on I feel like I can cycle in (almost) all conditions!

  5. Renee 20/09/2013 at 12:56 pm #

    I have recently relocated to London from the tropics, and am taking the weather one day at a time. I am hoping to commute, and continue my recreational/triathlon training cycling well into the winter. Surely it can’t be harder than 30-35C with 85%+ humidity?

  6. Paul Draper 20/09/2013 at 1:00 pm #

    My only problem is cold hands so I wear woollen liners in my gloves. I’m lucky enough to be able to cycle half my journey off road (but I need good lights as the path is unlit) and have showers at work. I only ceased cycling when the snow was too deep to be safe but otherwise continued all trough the winter. Using over trousers and plastic bags on my feet kept me dry in the worst rain and snow.

  7. Phil 20/09/2013 at 1:15 pm #

    I cycle all year round, -18 to +80. Keeping the chain clean and oiled is vital, so are good gloves, socks, and a Buff to cover everything except my eyes. A memory of what it’s like to cycle with feet soaked to the skin with freezing water, after having to slog through a 50m long by 30cm deep puddle covering the width of the Bristol cyclepath last winter: the good people at the Saltford Co-Op saved my feet, by allowing me to strip socks and shoes off, dry my feet and stand on some cardboard whilst my feet rewarmed. I then cut up a fleece beanie to improvise socks, wrapped my feet in them and a couple of donated carrier bags to keep them dry inside the wet shoes, and cycled the remaining 17 miles to work. My feet stayed warm until the last 7 miles or so, when the carrier bags ripped at the toes and the fleece started to get wet and freeze- not my finest winter moment, but I did avoid a non-freezing cold injury.

  8. Chris Bonner 20/09/2013 at 1:25 pm #

    I don’t cycle to work as its only a 5 min walk. But I do continue my weekend rides all through winter. The sense of freedom and achievement are so much sweeter when you been out in horrible weather rather than sat on the sofa.

    Ironically our club is normally busier over the winter months as racing season has ended and riders are trying to get so winter miles in their legs.

    There are 2 things I like to keep in mind when leaving my nice warm house to go out in the cold and wet…..

    1) there is no so thing as the wrong weather to ride, just the wrong gear.

    2) Winter miles = summer smiles.

    Go out, get wet, enjoy it and ride safe.

  9. Migui_blu 20/09/2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Schoolboy sports in shorts whatever the weather means the nerve ending in my legs don’t feel the cold! I cycled through the snow last year, stuck to the gritted roads if poss read the winter riding advice you posted last year Andreas, didn’t go for the snow studs but did get a cyclocross tyre for my front wheel. I love cycling in the rain but I’m lucky showers in the office and am able to dry my clothing at work quiet corner of the baking hot server room with excellent ventilation.

    The wind, no getting away from it.

  10. martin 20/09/2013 at 1:59 pm #

    I’ll be commuting by bike all winter, 12 mile round trip. I agree having the right kit makes it bearable and it does toughen you up. Can’t find gloves that are waterproof and warm though. Mittens this year I think!

  11. Philippa 20/09/2013 at 2:02 pm #

    I’ll try be on my bike in any weather but the worst thing about winter commuting in London is the greasy black puddle water! Of course it’s there all year round but in winter it just adds to the cold. I welcome the snow as it means avoiding cold soggy feet and drippy black streaks on everything.

  12. John Nugent 20/09/2013 at 2:04 pm #

    It’s all about having the right kit, really. My first winter of cycling was horrible, I was woefully unprepared. I’ve slowly realised how much of a difference wearing the right gear for the right weather makes. Buying my first merino neck buff was like a total epiphany – it keeps your whole face and neck warm and doesn’t make chill your breath. I’ve just bought a whole bunch of other kits (breathable rain jacket, overshoes, arm warmers) so I now can’t wait for the worst of it.

  13. Chris 20/09/2013 at 2:33 pm #

    Like Chris Bonner, I work a 10 minute walk from home, and the location of the office is a nasty road so its easy to walk than cycle.

    Having said that, I get out a couple of times in the evening to do circuits and head out on a club ride at weekends.

    Having the right clothing is a definite must, whether utility or sports cycling.

  14. Alexis 20/09/2013 at 2:46 pm #

    I do cycle all the winter to commute to work (6 miles round trip). I don’t have a lot a fancy gear, just a large good waterproof jacket that I can fit over my winter jacket, a waterproof over trouser, good gloves and a hat below my helmet.

    The experience is obviously less enjoyable than in summer and I would say that in the middle of the winter there are 50% less bikes parked at my job’s bike garage.

  15. Chris 20/09/2013 at 3:22 pm #

    I keep going through the winter but have to change my route as i don’t fancy the unlit canel path in the dark. The worst thing for me is cold fingers and toes. I put on a pair of ski gloves if it gets really cold but feel I have less control over gears / brakes with these rather than my cycling gloves.

    The other problem with the winter is when I get home in the cold / dark i don’t want to hang around outside to clean the bike – so at a time when you pick up more dirt from the wet roads, this isn’t getting cleaned as regularly so i wear out chain / cassette etc more quickly

  16. Damian 20/09/2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I’m not in London, but in Bristol, but I cycle commute all year round except when my kids have brought home the start-of-new-school-year colds (meaning I take the bus for a week).

    Between six and nine miles each way (depending on which way I go). Just wear slightly more thermal base layers and I’m good to go.

    I wear shorts (not lycra) all year, too, but wear thicker socks as the days get colder…

  17. benny g 20/09/2013 at 3:31 pm #

    Reducing bike usage over winter breaks my heart. Rain is the main problem as its no fun for anyone. Have tried snow but it hurts your eyes when you have enough speed

  18. Beth 20/09/2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Yes, I do, except for when there is significant ice/snow on the road due to accidents in the past (too dangerous to justify now). I struggle with below freezing temperatures even with warm clothes though (mostly feet). Rain isn’t a problem if I have the right clothing. It does seem to be about having the right preparations (equipment) and the right attitude.

  19. Lewis 20/09/2013 at 4:08 pm #

    A friend of a friend, who was in the army, said to me their attitude to clothing was ‘be bold, start cold’…I think that’s applicable to winter cycling…no matter how cold it is to start off with, getting too sweaty (and that sweat then chilling) is the worst.

    Good breathable fabrics and warmth via removable layers, that’s the key.

  20. Bracken Van Ryssen 20/09/2013 at 4:10 pm #

    I cycle throughout the winter months. I’d say the top reasons why I do so are:
    1) I arrive warmed up and refreshed, unlike those who have commuted in stuffier/colder forms of transport.
    2) It’s cheap, even factoring in the extra cold weather gear it works out as far cheaper than the other options.
    3) It’s fun there is something rarely bracing about being active in the mornings when there is a bit of a snap in the air.
    4) Why not… Humans are adaptable creatures just get out and go!
    5) Even when it snows, i find it is often way more hassle to dig your car out and warm it up than just to grab the bike out the garage.

  21. Dimitris 20/09/2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Winter cycling yes, unless there is ice. Otherwise it is really nice to ride next to frozen canals. It is all a matter of gear: layers, proper clothing and equipment.

    Warm gloves that are not too bulky are hard to find though!

  22. andy haigh 20/09/2013 at 4:23 pm #

    come rain or shine I cycle to work. I will ride when it snows but not the day after when its icy. apart from that it just a case of sucking it up and taking it!!

  23. Ryan Allain 20/09/2013 at 4:40 pm #

    I cycle into work the same amount in winter as the rest of the year. Typically I add heavier cycling gloves, a cap under my helmet and a heavier, water-proof jacket as well as shoe covers.

    Pedal hard enough and you’ll be plenty warm enough no matter the temperature (for London).

  24. Mark Dyne 20/09/2013 at 5:20 pm #

    It can be hard when the wind really picks up, but you still get to work with a great feeling and full grin.. especially when you hear about the trains being decimated be leaves or the wrong type of rain.

    Cycling through the winter is great training and with the right kit and some htfu it’s really rewarding. Winter miles = Summer smiles.

  25. Allysse 20/09/2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Last year I wasn’t able to cycle much in winter because I was quite sick, but I’m actually quite looking forward to it this year.
    I don’t commute as my work in 10min walk away from home, but I ride a lot during my days off. I’m really curious about how the roads and scenery will change, and I’m always up for a challenge on my bike, so I’m sure I’ll be enjoying battling with the elements.

  26. fern 20/09/2013 at 6:36 pm #

    I just love my ride to work, It is a tad over eight miles and through two big parks.
    With the right kit riding on a mid winter is morning is a beautiful experience. The only things that stops me is ice and that is usually only a few days a year.

  27. Tammela 20/09/2013 at 6:51 pm #

    I will definitely keep cycling to commute in the winter, like I did last winter. I know it will be cold, and that sometimes makes it hard for me to bundle up and get out the door — I’m not a big fan of putting on layers, then sweating while I ride — but, like you say, it’s always worth it. Wearing a hat under my helmet, as well as good gloves and a scarf or neck-warmer, are imperative to comfortable/enjoyable winter cycling. I’ve never road cycled in the winter but look forward to trying it this year.

  28. Adam Edwards 20/09/2013 at 7:06 pm #

    I started cycling in 2003 and have cycled through every winter since. Best moment was a work security guard who, as arrived on a particularly cold morning, said “I’ll give you your due, you’re no fair weather cyclist!” I felt positively smug!

  29. Toria 20/09/2013 at 7:27 pm #

    Of course!
    There’s nothing like a ride where your water bottle is frozen twenty miles in.
    The secret is knowing how to layer, layer, layer.

  30. Kellyman17 20/09/2013 at 7:39 pm #

    Love winter cycling. except in wind. hate wind. cycling in the rain has this amazing peace and quiet sensation for me, plus i always get very hot in summer, the shorts don’t get put away till early December for me and come back out in February!

  31. Mike 20/09/2013 at 7:49 pm #

    Over the last few winters I’ve developed a little grid of the temperature vs clothing so I can dress appropriately for the weather just but looking at the latest temperature report. It ensures I don’t get too hot or cold on the ride.

  32. Laura 20/09/2013 at 7:54 pm #

    Winter drives people back into their cars and onto public transport – more traffic jams, more crowding on trains, tubes and buses – more reason than ever to keep cycling!

  33. Laura 20/09/2013 at 9:13 pm #

    Winter cycling hurts my fingers. But the temporary pain is worth avoiding soggy & crammed tfl transport. I agree with Lewis – starting cold to avoid sweatiness is definitely the way to go. A good set of lights for darker evenings are important too!

  34. Lee Bailey 20/09/2013 at 9:15 pm #

    Definitely cycling all winter (except the very icy days when even the mountain bike wont be safe)

    Whilst spring & autumn can be a bit damp nothing beats cycling in the UK in the winter. It can be surprisingly dry and crisp and its a fantastic feeling cycling in the cold air as the sun just about creeps over the horizon.

    I am lucky that my commute goes through Richmond Park and watching the mist rise off the grass is always a fantastic start to the day.

    I just make sure that I look like a moving Christmas tree with more lights than Blackpool sea front.

    • Eve 20/09/2013 at 11:09 pm #

      I second that – I love cycling in the winter and Richmond Park covered in frost is absolutely glorious and such a calm oasis in comparison to the rush hour madness elsewhere.
      Cycling in the winter redefined what I consider cold – when the thermometer shows around 0 it’s perfect as I get my exercise but don’t get overheated and sweaty like in the winter.
      My winter gear – Lidl padded softshell tights (cheap as chips but I’m amazed how comfy they are and how well they last) and softshell gloves, thick walking socks (I hated having frozen feet), baselayer and Altura Night Vision waterproof jacket and I’m all set.

  35. Kelly 20/09/2013 at 9:21 pm #

    Winter, riding a bike. Some would think it is crazy, but it actually keeps you warm. I find if you are wrapped up enough, it is good. For me it is my neck I have to keep covered so I have big scarves, the other is my hands so I have good gloves.

    Since I started riding my bike year round I haven’t had a cold or flu…I think buses and the tube are like a petri dish, many people stuffed in confined spaces. I would rather be in the fresh air, free, independent, balancing on two wheels using my own force, it is my moment of zen.

  36. Graeme 20/09/2013 at 9:36 pm #

    I cycle to work all through winter. It takes the right gear to get through the winter, overshoes, the right gloves. layers on top and something to keep your face warm. This week has reminded me that it is getting colder and I’ve stated wearing arm and leg warmers again, until it gets too cold and I have to wear full length tights and tops. I swear by merino wool, you don’t want to be wet and cold.

  37. Kathy B 20/09/2013 at 10:16 pm #

    The way to stay dry and warm on your winter commute is basically not to mind looking like a complete wally! I recommend cycling capes as they keep both your top and legs dry and don’t make you sweat. Also recommend two layers of gloves – leather, topped with thin florescent cycling gloves. Also essential is a hat/helmet with a peak – never use a hood. I don’t have a car or other transport options so it doesn’t occur to me not to use my bike all year round.

  38. Steve Rogers 20/09/2013 at 11:08 pm #

    I’ve retired. “Gone professional” as they say at my club. So this should be the first winter I will ride through.

  39. Geraint 20/09/2013 at 11:38 pm #

    If it’s really snowing or icy I’ll change to my mtb, but really there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad kit.
    If I don’t cycle for two days I get so miserable and feel my blood pressure rising. There is a strange satisfaction at stopping at the Oval lights, looking around and chatting with the cyclist next to you, wondering where the all the others have gone!

  40. pityq 21/09/2013 at 12:25 am #

    Cold doesn’t bother me much but I hate cycling in rain.

  41. Graham Simpson 21/09/2013 at 12:37 am #

    Winter has never stopped me cycle, I love it. When the snow arrives I just can’t wait to get out there.

  42. Emma 21/09/2013 at 7:37 am #

    The main drawback to pedaling in winter is more punctures, but I bought tougher winter tires to cope.
    The advantages are numerous: For me it takes less time to bike to work than take public transport (8 mile round trip). You avoid the “tube epidemics” – since starting to commute by bike over a year ago I have had one cold which was at the end of a two-week holiday abroad (normally I get 2-3 colds a year!). If you can choose the right thing to wear you get less overheated than you do on the tube where everyone is wearing heavy coats and the heaters are on full blast. You arrive at work invigorated and everyone else is fed up by public transport/traffic jams and suffering from SAD.
    I wear a fleece ruff and weatherproof mittens (sooo much more efficient than gloves!) both from Kathmandu, and practically live in my sheepskin Bear Paw boots. I wear a thin beanie or a running headband that covers my ears under my helmet. I tended to take the bus when it was too rainy but this year I have waterproof trousers so I’ll probably just cycle through it. I too miss my bike when I haven’t ridden for more than a day or two….

  43. Dave A 21/09/2013 at 8:52 am #

    I cycle all the year round. I almost always where shorts, apart from really cold spells. Then I where my trusty spandex leggings.

    My upper body is where I pay most attention. I have a great merino wool top that doesn’t smell when I get sweaty.

  44. Simon 21/09/2013 at 8:54 am #

    I had to sell my car to make myself do it but now there is no excuse. Winter here I come.

  45. Rugbyplayeronabike 21/09/2013 at 9:14 am #

    It is never too wet to ride, there is only inadequate clothing!

  46. Ben 21/09/2013 at 10:26 am #

    I cycle to all my jobs, so don’t have a choice! Overshoes, waterproof trousers, and a decent jacket, full mudgards for the rain, and I’m all set. And when I turn up and peel off, having smart clothes underneath my drowned rat exterior, I feel like James Bond taking off his wetsuit to reveal his dinner suit:

  47. Todd 21/09/2013 at 11:21 am #

    I the right gear top to toes, yes toes very important!!

    Then out the door on the bike and 5mins your as warm as toast…. If you’ve got the right gear on.
    But doesn’t it feel great and when you arrive at work you feel so much more invigorated that if you caught the train.

  48. John 21/09/2013 at 1:16 pm #

    I ride all year road and change my clothes and bike for the winter to keep me going all year round. I put chunkier tyres on the bike which does slow you down and put an extra cheap light on the bike at the front and rear. In poundland you will get a front, rear and lots of batteries for £3. A buff or thin balaclava, good gloves and extra socks are a must but the main problem is how many layers of clothes to wear. Thick clothes restrict your movement to much so I have two options. A couple of layers of thin technical clothing which works well down to about -5. When it is colder I wear an electric waistcoat I bought in maplins several years ago to keep my body core warm.

  49. Fabian 21/09/2013 at 3:02 pm #

    It’s almost more pleasant in the winter months with the roads being emptier – just need to be careful during the autumnal season to avoid breaking on leaves.

    Never really understood the obsession with the buff when the scarf works and can also be worn off two wheels too.

  50. Cas Burke 21/09/2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I don’t mind the cold or rain, but I hate the wind. It seems like like I’m always riding into the wind. The story of my life I suppose.

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