That’s right, there’s no such thing as bad weather, you’re just wearing the wrong clothes.
OK there are times when it’s silly to go out in crazy conditions, but when it comes to cold or wet mornings, you just need to dress in the correct manner.
I’ve only just got back on the bike after six weeks in a moon boot and it will take more than some light rain to put me off.
So I thought I’d share my tips for riding in various weather conditions to help you stay fit, safe and healthy this winter.
In the wet.
– Drop your tyre’s air pressure – take out 10 psi out of your usual tyre pressure, this will help you to have better grip in the wet.
– Ensure you have good working lights – visibility is worse in the rain, so it’s important that cars can see you. I personally usually have two rear lights and a back up front light to help keep safe.
– Avoid the white lines – often the white lines painted on the roads have less grip than the rest of the road surface. It’s OK to ride over them but try and steer clear of them when you can and don’t turn over them as you increase your risk of falling.
– Wear good quality waterproof clothing – typically foot covers, rain jacket and good gloves are three of my go to items in the rain. If you keep your chest, feet and hands dry and warm you really reduce the risk of getting sick.
– Skip the coffee – painful I know, but you need to get out of your wet clothes ASAP and get into a warm shower and you’ll be set for the next ride.
– Have two pairs of bike shoes – if you are riding often you will benefit from two pairs of sets of bike shoes. There’s nothing worse than putting on wet shoes from the day before, so get home and stuff your wet shoes with newspaper to dry them out, and you’ll have a dry spare for the next day’s ride.
– Clean your bottles – one of the highest risks of sickness is drinking from dirty drink bottles. When you ride in the wet lots of dirt from the group flicks up into your drink bottles and drinking from these isn’t the most hygienic thing to do. So make sure post ride you clean your water bottles to stay healthy. PS I have some amazing BPA free Moore Performance water bottles for anyone that needs one.
In the cold
It’s not raining, but it’s cold, the tricks to make the ride more enjoyable are to:
Keep your Head, Chest, Hands and feet warm – you lose your heat quickest through these extremities and with good gloves, base layers, foot covers and something to cover your head you will stay warm and again avoid risk of sickness.
Layer up – layering up helps you stay warm and if you are out there for some time, then you can remove layers such as arm warmers and wind vests to maintain a nice comfy body temperature.
Remember to drink – when it’s cold it’s easy to forget to drink, you don’t need to go overboard, but drinking to thirst helps you to avoid dehydration and performance deterioration.
Warm up well – in the cold you may take longer to warm up, so be prepared to start a little slower. Going out too hard too early can lead to muscular injuries.
Ride with friends – There are tremendous benefits to riding in a group. It can be a more enjoyable experience, you can take turns shielding each other from a biting wind and sharing conversation makes the time go by faster. It’s also safer and more convenient if someone has a mechanical problem.
Take care of your bike – same goes for riding in the rain. Winter riding can wreak havoc on your bicycle so pay attention to its care and upkeep. Make sure you clean the bike, chain, gears, brakes and wheel rims on a regular basis. That means after every ride in wet conditions. It also means lubing the chain and gears on a more frequent basis. You may want to get a tune-up at your local bike shop at the beginning and end of winter to make sure it is in good repair.