Winter cycling needs no introduction. It’s chilly and demotivating at times. But most of all, it’s a whole lot of fun, just like cycling the rest of the year. To keep riding through our English winter a few simple tweaks to your bike will make things easier for you and for your bike.
Mudguards not only prevent murky water from getting you soaked, they also prevent water from spraying into the face of whoever is unlucky enough to be riding behind you.
For mudguards you generally have two options. The first is the classic mountain bike mudguards you often see. They are cheap, easy to fit on almost any bike and they do the job.
There’s also mudguards that look similar to the ones in the picture above. They provide superior waterproofing but won’t fit all bicycle types. We’ve recommended the SKS Bluemels Mudguards previously and we stand by our recommendation.
If you don’t have the proper attachments on your frame then the intelligently designed Crud RoadRacer is a great alternative.
You can easily ride out the winter without mudguards but your bike won’t thank you for it. All that murky water that is flicked up from the road often contains mud and petrol residue. Not an ideal combination for your chain, derailleur and brakes.
If you are riding with thin tyres for speed (23mm or less) then you may wish to consider something a little wider (25mm and above). This will provide a smoother ride and better grip. Also, look for tyres with additional puncture protection. This will help you avoid standing by the side of the road repairing a puncture in the rain.
I’ve always relied on the Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres which provide good grip during winter and very strong puncture protection. However, the newer Schwalbe Durano tyre is also very impressive. It provides more speed as well as many miles of good service. However, it lacks quite the same level of puncture resistance.
(See also: Tips for riding safely in the winter)
If we face a particularly bad winter this year then studded tyres may be a consideration. These perform far better in patches of ice and will keep you upright in bad conditions.
Here are four of the best bike lights that are essential for the winter bike setup.
During winter you need to step-up your cleaning and lubricating routine as it is washed away by rain and there’s more danger of rust. Remember to not go overboard as dirt will stick to the lube you apply and cause damage to your bike.
(See also: Which part of your bike should you lubricate)
This is not the time of the year to skimp on bicycle maintenance. Loose brakes could lead to a disaster. Grab our Bike Doctor app or head to the nearest bike shop and make sure your bike is ready to go.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.