Winter is almost upon us and many of us are concerned about the effects that the winter months will have on our self-care and fitness routines.
Cycling is the perfect mix of fun and exercise. You might think that cycling over the winter is a risky move but if done right it’s as safe as any other time of the year. It’s also a great activity to engage in as a family and one that the kids will love.
So whether you’ve decided to cycle to work, cycle just for exercise, or cycle as a part of a fun family day out here are the best rules to follow for cycling safely in the winter.
Not physically – though being physically bendy won’t hurt your cycling success. When cycling over the winter you will need to be flexible time terms of when and where you go. The weather can change quickly so if you do make plans try not to see them as set in stone.
If in doubt go slowly and beware of black ice on roads and frozen puddles on off-road tracks. Don’t be afraid to cut a ride short if you are uncomfortable with the conditions or the amount of light.
This is the golden rule all year round but particularly when cycling in the winter when you are more likely to be cycling in the dark.
Wearing a cycling helmet is an absolute must. Make sure to buy a good quality helmet and ensure that it is fitted properly before you set off. Have a look at some online guides for both adults and children if you’re unsure of what to look for. If you’re going to be cycling with the kids make sure they know the rules and the route before you set out.
Make sure you have proper lighting at the front and back of your bike. It is worth investing in reflective gear so that you can be seen easily by cars and other road users.
Invest In A Good Bicycle Lock
Whether you’re using your bike to commute or just to exercise a good bike lock is vital. Getting the right lock is important if you want your bike to be there when you get back.
Many opt for a lightweight cable lock for bicycles because of the ease of carrying them on your journey with you. As many reputable cycling authorities like Velosurance will tell you, it is important to note that lightweight cable locks for your bike are rarely effective against bike thieves – and even heavier ones are by no means foolproof.
While there is no perfect, theft proof lock for your bike, it is definitely better to go for a U-lock or a chain lock.
Make Your Bike Winter Safe
Mudguards are important for keeping you from needing to hose both you and your bike down at the end of every ride. They will keep most of the mud and muck from the winter roads and tracks off you and your bike.
It is also worth considering getting puncture-resistant tires, as they will be more likely to withstand the salt and grit as well as the general winter debris.
Safety In Numbers
While cycling can be plenty of fun alone, it might be a good idea to find a cycling group to join. A group of cyclists will be easier for other road users to see.
This also has the added benefit of adding a social element to your rides. Groups can also help you to push yourself and get the most out of your ride.
It is worth being cautious about who you cycle with during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Always check your local State guidance on meeting with groups for exercise.
Try Turbo Training
Sometimes the weather is just too cold or treacherous to go out with your bike. That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up on your workout. If you’re really serious about cycling and don’t want the winter weather to get you behind schedule you can get a Turbo trainer. These are trainers that hold your bike in place while you pedal – essentially making your bike into an exercise bike.
These can be set up wherever you have room for your bike, though it is best to set it up in a garage if you have one. If this isn’t an option then make sure you clean off any mud and dirt from your bike that you wouldn’t want in the house!
This option also gives you more flexibility with your training, meaning that you can do an online spin class or training routine to target the areas you want to improve. You could even have Netflix or a movie on while you cycle!
You should also bear in mind that turbo trainers can be noisy – so if you have young kids it might be worth setting up somewhere out of earshot if you plan to cycle after bedtime.