A bitter sweet time of the year, winter miles = summer miles as they say, but the winter miles also create more cleaning than a mineral oil explosion.
Clean your bike after every use, dry your shoes or they smell like something died inside them, making sure all your kit is warm enough and re-waterproofed, adding in an extra 20 minutes to layer up and a 40 minute shower at the end to remind your body of its natural temperature, it really is a fiasco.
So you need to do some training, after-all this is the time where you can just focus on enjoying your bike, rather than having ‘deadlines’ per say.
The Cyclist Made Rules to Winter Training
One rule to remember is, winter training doesn’t have to be completed on the road, you can do it on any bike. Sometimes, a change in discipline actually refreshes your mindset and helps you dig a little deeper. We love a good off-road/gravel ride to reboot, it can be as tough or as easy as you like, it’s muddy (dancing in the mud, kind of mud) and your bike is a little more ‘prepared’ for winter riding. Lots of our staff members take to the MTB in the winter, because it allows for a baptism of adrenaline and handling skills.
The second rule is, you don’t need to be doing intense training, it’s all about consistency in the winter, obviously different things work for different people, but if you can get the bulky hours in then this will help build your base fitness – the starting point for any athlete’s training. If you need to do intervals, or you don’t have time for big hours then you can always use a turbo – there is no shame in a torturous turbo session, in fact – gold stars for getting it done! The turbo is also a place to do intensity without subjecting your body to the winter strains.
Thirdly, the biggest morale comes from socialising, get out with some friends, join a new club for your Sunday social and make sure they have a mudguard policy. There is nothing worse than riding in a group when your fellow friends who don’t have mudguards.
Ok, mudguards are not the most attractive accessory and they certainly aren’t fulfilling the aero category, but they will help you and your friends stay dryer, they will help your bike stay cleaner and in a better condition – what more could you want?
A flask of whatever hot drink of your choice is also recommended, you can buy flask’s that have ‘straws’ and easy drinking tops for cycling, that ft into standard bottle cages. Great because a quick sip provides a radiating warmth throughout your body.
Coffee and Cake Is A Must, But When?
Now, a café stop is a must, because secretly it’s the only reason we all ride bikes… right?! But the question is, do you stop mid-ride and then turn into an iceberg, stuck to your bike for the 10 minute smash out of the café, to reheat your body? Or do you wait until the end of the ride, so you only have to roll home and into a shower that is so hot it sets your limbs on fire. In Hazel's words:
If I'm too close to home for a coffee, I won't bother stopping because it's too cold.
A quick round up of CE staff suggests mid ride is still favourable in the winter, why you might ask? The general consensus is, by the time we get close enough to ‘home’ for your coffee, we don’t want to stop and sit in cold or soggy clothing because we’re 10 minutes away from a nice warm shower. Therefore, we would rather stop mid-ride, dry our outer clothing on radiators or log burners in the café, have a reboot of energy – which also reheats your body, take on the wee post-café smash and cruise home. Also, if you stop mid-ride then you have no choice but to ride home… its all about setting yourself up for a win.
Remember, consistency is key and turbo’s are your saviour… or a spin class? Either way, we will provide your caffeine fix for your mid/post ride stop, and some eye candy while you ponder over the lovely weather you chose to ride in.
Get on ya bikes CE Legends! 😊