Its getting cold outside and the snow will probably be coming down soon. So, are you ready for cycling in winter?
It is credible and thousands of fellow cyclists do it every year, its not complicated, but there are a few things you should think about before you take the plunge.
1. Are you warm enough? - You may think that just the act of cycling in the cold will keep you warm but what happens when you stop? All that sweat cools very quickly so make sure you layer up. A thermal base layer with a t-shirt over the top and then a long sleeved jersey will help create a warm barrier use windproof fabrics to keep out the cold and make sure you are wearing warm socks, or two pairs. A cap/woolly hat will keep your head warm and try a buff to stop those chilly winds going down your neck.
2. Is your bicycle ready? - For most bicycles the best thing you can do is give it a service, get the brake pads checked and make sure your batteries in your lights have been replaced. For bicycles with thin tyres you may wish to swap them for a deep tyre with more grip so if you normally ride on 700x23 slicks why not take it up to 700x25 with some grip, it'll slow you down, but you'll be glad of it in slippery conditions. Also take a little air out of the tyres check the Minimum pressure your tyres can run on and drop it down to just above that, this will give you a lot more grip.
3. Lights, lights and more lights. - Its amazing how quickly it gets dark now, so always carry your lights, they may just be needed to get home safely.
4. Are you eating enough? - In winter our bodies burn more calories to keep us warm, its important that you eat enough during these periods especially if you are cycling, your body will always thank you for that mince pie after a ride.
5. Snow is not a barrier. - Yes there may be 4 inches of snow on the roads but as a cyclist you potentially have the best form of transport available to you for those conditions. A chunky tyred hardtail mountain bike will make light work of the snow and if its that bad there will be fewer vehicles on the road. Take it steady and use main roads where you can. You may even enjoy it.