Keep those winter wheels turning

Winter is almost upon us. The mornings are darker, colder, and it’s at this time of year that the motivation to get on your bike starts to slip.  Don’t let the excuses get hold, there are some really simple ways to keep yourself on your bike.

 

1.LAYER UP

My first winter as a cyclist back in London was a chilly affair, and only conquered due to choosing the correct clothing combos for my rides. While we feel all the cold differently, layering means you can undress as the ride progresses, or relayer if the weather turns nasty.  Some key kit items to add to your cycling apparel are:

  • Base layer – either long sleeved or sleeveless, thermal and wicking to get the sweat away from your body is essential
  • Full finger gloves – essential to have good grip on the inside and windproof on the outside
  • Windproof gilet – bright is best to help with visibility
  • Arm warmers – an essential layering item can be used on top of your based later, or on bare arms
  • Knee or leg warmers – layer with knee and leg warmers as an easy way to boost your cosiness and can be easily removed as you warm up on your ride
  • Toe covers or full booties – cold tootsies be gone! An essential piece of winter kit that fits over your cycling shoes. Waterproof options are a good idea if winter comes with rain or snow
  • Full length cycle knicks – a great idea if you don’t want to layer up or use leg warmers
  • Wind proof jacket – ensure this is breathable and cycle specific so you don’t end up looking like a human parachute or overheat. Should be tight and bright to help with visibility. Can be waterproof, but windproof is essential
  • Buff or head band – to keep your ears warm. You will think of nothing else!
  • A simple outdoor thermometer stuck to the outside of your window to check before you head out is a good way to judge the temps before you head out so you can dress accordingly

 

2.BE PREPARED

If you plan to ride in the morning, get EVERYTHING you need ready the night before. Lay out your kit and nutrition. This includes your bike ready with tyres pumped, lights charged and fitted, and bottles filled and in their cages.  Being prepared stops the excuses from under the dooner when the alarm goes off.

 

3.INDOOR TRAINER SESSIONS

A necessary evil when it comes to winter training, these sessions mean you can continue to increase your aerobic fitness, strength and improve cycling technique when the weather outside isn’t appealing.  You can either join an indoor cycle studio (ensure it is specific enough to your chosen goals), or buy yourself a turbo trainer and download sessions from the internet.  Set yourself up in the garage with your buddies and take turns setting the sessions for each other, or join the many using online cycling platforms such as ZWIFT.

 

4.RIDE WITH FRIENDS

One of the key things that keeps us cycling is the social aspect of riding.  Arranging to ride with friends on a weekly basis is a key motivator to many.  It doesn’t matter if it’s your regular Sunday ride, a hill strength session in your local neighbourhood, or a joint commute to work with friends, knowing your friends are waiting for you is a good kick up the bum when the alarm clock goes off in the morning.

 

5.SET A GOAL

An obvious but important motivation throughout winter is to set a spring cycle event or benchmark. Setting yourself a goal to train for means you are less likely to come up with reasons to not head out on your rides.  This goal could be an event that lights that fire in you to train (make sure it scares you just enough!), one that you have entered into with friends (don’t be the weakest link in your team), or if events aren’t your thing, how about creating your own cycling milestone for which to train.

 

6.BE A BETTER RIDER

If you are fit and strong going into winter, then the only way to hold onto that or improve is to keep training. For every week you don’t train your fitness levels drop dramatically. Keeping up regular training is key for your continued cycle fitness and there is nothing worse that getting into spring with that ‘I wish’ feeling.  Keep in training, keep on improving, keep on riding.

 

7.GET A PLAN

If you have a plan for your training over the colder months, you are more likely to want to tick boxes, get involved and be results driven.  Employing the services of a coach to train you throughout winter is the perfect way to keep you on track. Coaches not only help guide you towards your goals, they are also the monkey on your back when it comes to hitting the snooze button! Big brother is indeed watching.

 

So…. as we wait for the grip of winters chill, get things in place now that will help you stay on track with your training, sustain your motivated, and ensure those pedals keep turning.  Trust me, you never regret getting up for a ride, the sunrises are worth it, the coffee tastes oh so good, and the feeling of getting the job done in chilly temps with your face frozen into a large grin, makes you a proper HERO!

 

If you need a training plan to keep you on track over winter, talk to us about our Athlete Training Programmes

Join us on our spring cycle training retreats for that added incentive to train throughout winter.


01 May 2017

By Sarah Anne

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