With the short days and the downward slide of the mercury, winter can be as welcome as a as a bacon sandwich at a bar mitzvah for cyclists. So I thought I’d take a minute to provide 3 top tips to help keep you on your bike and rack up the miles over the next couple of months.
1) Whilst most of your body can maintain a fairly high temperature during a winter ride, cold conditions can cause real discomfort to your extremities, particularly your fingers and toes. Whilst thick, insulated gloves can provide the added protection you need, the reduction in flexibility and grip could prove dangerous if sudden braking is required. As a solution, head to the kitchen and modify a pair of rubber washing-up gloves by trimming them at the wrist. Wear them underneath regular cycling or cotton gloves for an extra layer of insulation without compromising on flexibility and grip strength.
2) At the polar opposite of your body are your toes, which also feel the cold more than other areas. If you wear specialist cycling shoes or well fitting trainers then adding thicker or extra socks might not be possible if you still want your feet to fit inside them. As with the first tip, the solution to this is also in the kitchen. Wear your normal cotton socks but then wrap them in a layer or two (depending on the temperature) of Cling Film before putting your outer-footwear over the top.. The cling film will insulate your feet but won’t add bulk so that your shoes will still fit. Just makesure you wash your socks and feet as soon as you get home, the cling-film wrap isn’t particularly breathable.
3) Just as your body needs a bit of extra protection in winter, so to does your bike. Many roads will be getting gritted regularly to prevent them from freezing and ice forming. Whilst this is great in the respect that it keeps many routes open and available to cyclists, the salt contained within the grit is a real hazard for bikes as it can greatly increase rusting. After every winter ride, wash your bike with warm soapy water and before it dries apply a liberal amount of GT85 to all the moving parts. This should keep you running smoothly all year.
I hope someone finds these useful, if you’d like me to add to this list then just let me know.
(I don’t have shares in any rubber glove or cling-film manufacturers or in GT85)