- BLOG -
Ok so it got cold! So what to do?
You have all of this hard earned summer fitness you want to keep or you just love riding your bike. Either way it’s not the end of the world, its just colder and sometimes wetter.
We all love summer when we can ride whenever we want (not really, but that’s our perception). Winter presents a few more challenges, namely those dished out by mother nature, but a bit of pragmatism can overcome this.
Whether you are riding Road, MTB, Gravel or Commuting, winter riding is all about appropriate clothing and a mix of outdoor and indoor trainer rides.
Indoor vs Outdoor
Simple, get outside and ride when you can. Top up your fitness with sessions on your indoor trainer.
Enjoy the fresh, crisp air & sunshine. Be happy about the fact that you are not sweltering or having to stop repeatedly to fill up water bottles. Meet up with friends and enjoy all of the social elements of cycling that we love.
It’s a tough one to juggle around other commitments, but where possible try and be flexible with your riding days and work around inclement weather.
Raining hard – make today a trainer day.
Wind blowing a gale – head inland away from the coast or go for an MTB ride. Wind is rarely an issue on the Mountain Bike as tree cover blocks out the majority of the wind!
Speaking of weather, always look at the 48 hour detailed forecast. The Day forecast runs from 9am to 9am. i.e Tuesday's Day forecast is for the 24hr period from 9am Tuesday to 9am Wednesday, so a Day forecast of 10mm of rain on Tuesday may actually arrive at 8am on Wednesday!
By checking the 48hour forecast on weatherzone or a similar app that breaks the forecast down to hour by hour increments you can work out much more accurately when to ride!
p.s. remember to allow a few extra minutes to get dressed into the extra winter gear if you are meeting up with friends.
Clothing is the difference between loving your winter ride and suffering in all of the wrong ways.
Winter riding clothing works best when considered in layers.
Head: A skull cap (thin beanie) or insulated headband are ideal to keep your head and ears warm.
Upper Torso & Arms:
Base Layer – merino wool is ideal as it wicks sweat away and does not itch.
Mid-Layer – Short Sleave jersey. Utilise your summer jerseys all year around
Arms – Arm warmers
Shell Layer – Wind and water resistant vest or jacket
Base and Mid-layer - Long sleeve jersey
Shell Layer – Wind and water resistant vest or jacket
Option 1 is more flexible because you are able to add or remove arm warmers and you can use the same jersey all year around.
Option 2 is not as flexible, but it is generally more comfortable and warmer as you have less layers and interfaces between various garments – it is also substantially quicker to get dressed into!
Vest or Jacket? Vests are a great option to use where you want an easily removable layer that can be stashed in a jersey pocket. Jackets keep more wind and water out and consequently are warmer. Heavier jackets generally will not fit in a jersey pocket whereas lighter jackets can be folded and stashed in jersey pocket.
Shop Headwear & Warmers, Jackets & Vests, Women's Jerseys, Men's Jerseys
Lower Torso and Legs:
Bibshorts and knee or leg warmers.
¾ or full length bibtights
Again option 1 is more flexible because you can remove your leg warmers if you get too hot and you can use the same bibshorts all year round.
Option 2 is warmer and more comfortable. Winter bibtights have a thin fleece lining similar to Knee warmers. This keeps your lower torso much warmer. Knee warmers are also somewhat notorious for disturbing the leg grippers on your bibshorts, causing the bibshorts to ride up and the knee warmer to slip down.
For the Mountain Bike - knee guards are a great winter addition - keeping you protected and warm!
Shop Women's shorts and bibtights, Men's shorts and bibtights
Long finger gloves are mandatory. Various thicknesses are available.
Toe warmers are great for moderate temperatures. Full shoe covers are necessary when it gets very cold and/or wet.
Shop Gloves, Toe & Shoe Covers
What to wear when?
The effect of temperature on different people is highly subjective and likewise the location of your ride will alter local temperatures e.g if you are riding along the Yarra River you will experience colder temperatures.
If we start with Summer jersey and shorts and add items as we get colder:
Sub 20 degrees - Add Arm warmers
Sub 15 degrees – Add vest & base layer
Sub 10 degrees - Add Knee warmers, long gloves, beanie or headband, toe warmers. Consider jacket instead of vest and ¾ or long bibtights instead of knee warmers.
Sub 5 degrees – Use Jacket and ¾ or full length bibtights, use shoe covers instead of toe covers and use heavier long finger gloves.
Indoor training used to be pretty monotonous, with the advent of Smart Trainers this all changed. Smart trainers are used in conjunction with training software which automatically controls the resistance that the trainer creates. Ride up a hill in the software training environment and the smart trainer increases resistance, ride down a hill and it makes it easier.
Smart Trainers can be broadly classified into two types, Wheel on or Direct Drive.
Wheel on trainers like the Bkool Pro use your bike's wheel to drive the roller which creates the resistance that you ride against.
With direct drive trainers like the Wahoo Kickr and Kinetic R1 your bike’s rear wheel is removed and your bike frame is mounted onto the trainer which is fitted with a cassette. Your normal bike chain then drives the cassette fitted to the trainer.
There is a raft of different training apps available including Zwift, Sufferfest, Bkool, Trainer road etc etc. Some software platforms like Zwift are geared towards racing other riders online whereas programs like Sufferfest are focused on interval style training.
All of the Smart Trainers we stock work with all of the major software platforms. We can also explain how to set them up - saving you hours of time reading manuals!
Shop Smart Trainers
Often the hardest part of winter training is motivation. Having an event or trip to aim for can certainly help. Velothon in Queensland is coming up soon, Amy’s Gran Fondo is a great season starter in September. There is VRS road racing through winter, various road and mountain bike club levels races and participation events. Another option to provide some motivation is starting a training plan either via a coach or those offered via software platforms like Sufferfest.
Mud and hero dirt! Some of the best MTB riding conditions are found when the ground gets a bit wet!
Drop in store to try on some of the great clothing range we have in stock and to check out Smart Trainers from Wahoo, Bkool and Kinetic.
The Cycling Fix Team
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