conquering winter cycling

Insights for Training and Riding in Chilly Conditions

In the world of cycling, winter can often feel like the season of hibernation. But for those of us who are truly dedicated to keeping those wheels turning year-round and preparing for their next epic cycling event, winter riding can be a rewarding adventure filled with its own unique set of challenges and inspirations.
Join me as we explore the tips and insights on how to master the art of winter cycling.


Essential Winter Gear:

When it comes to winter cycling, gear becomes your best friend. Layering is the name of the game, allowing you to stay warm while ensuring proper temperature regulation as you generate heat during your rides. Here are some key gear essentials:

  • Thermal cycling jerseys and bib tights to provide that crucial insulation.
  • Windproof and water-resistant outer layers to shield you from the biting cold and unpredictable weather.
  • Don’t skimp on gloves and shoe covers; these protect your extremities from frosty discomfort.
  • Cosy thermal socks and a snug-fitting hat to trap precious heat.
  • Don’t forget your clear or tinted cycling glasses – essential to shield your eyes from the winter winds and debris.
Choosing the Right Tyres and Maintenance:

Winter roads can be as unpredictable as the weather.
Tyre choice can make or break your ride. Opt for wider, more robust tires with excellent tread patterns for enhanced traction on slippery surfaces.
Keep a keen eye on tyre pressure, which tends to drop in colder weather. Slightly lower pressure can provide better grip, so be sure to keep them pumped up to the right level.

Adapted Training Routines:

Training during winter requires some modifications to your usual routine. Instead of long, steady-state rides, focus on shorter bursts of high-intensity efforts to generate that much-needed warmth and build strength.
If outdoor conditions are less than ideal, consider indoor cycling sessions on a trainer or stationary bike to maintain your fitness.

Safety First:

Safety should always be a top priority during winter cycling.
With reduced daylight hours and potentially icy roads, visibility is crucial. Invest in bright, reflective clothing and high-quality lights to ensure you’re seen by other road users.
Ride cautiously on wet or icy surfaces, avoid sudden movements, and provide yourself with extra braking distance to stay safe.

Nutrition and Hydration in the Cold:

Proper nutrition and hydration are essential year-round, and that includes winter.
Cold air can lead to increased fluid loss through respiration, so remember to drink regularly, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Consume warm, energy-rich foods before and after your rides. Carry easily digestible energy gels, chews, and bars to fuel your efforts.

Embrace the Winter Challenge:

Lastly, embrace the challenge of winter cycling. It toughens your resolve and builds mental resilience, preparing you for the unpredictable conditions of multi-day tours.
Even in winter, there’s a unique beauty in the landscapes you’ll encounter, and the sense of accomplishment after a chilly ride is truly rewarding.
In conclusion, mastering winter cycling and training requires the right gear, adapted routines, safety precautions, and a resilient mindset. Armed with these tips, you can continue to pedal through the coldest months, maintain your fitness, and be well-prepared for next year’s adventure.
So, layer up, hit the road, and make winter cycling your next thrilling ride!

Adriano Placidi  

DS and Founder of Volta Pro Tours

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