Winter Riding: 5 Tips for Surviving

winter riding

5 Tips for Getting the Most out of Winter Riding

Earlier, I shared a post about how to dress for winter riding.  Now I am going to share some tips on how to get the most out of your winter riding.  So here are 5 tips to have a safe and fun time riding outside this winter.

  1. Fill your bottles with warm water: Filling your bottles with warm water may seem counter productive.  But drinking a bit of warm water at the start of your ride is better than having an ice cube after two hours of riding.
  2. Pack extra food: While riding in the cold your body is using calories not only to keep you going but also to keep you warm so you are burning more calories than you do on a summer ride.  Since you are burning more calories you need to refuel more often.  Try eating every 30 minutes rather than every 45 minutes as you would do in warmer weather.
  3. Plan ahead: Being spontaneous and exploring is one of the things that makes biking so great but in the winter it is a good idea to plan your route ahead of time.  When planning your routes, make sure there are opportunities to shorten the ride if something goes wrong like the weather gets bad or you no longer can feel your toes.  Don’t be a hero, just head home.
  4. Be seen: Whether is fluorescent colours, reflective panels, or a set of lights, make sure vehicles can see you in the lower light levels of winter time.  Here are some more tips for dressing for winter.
  5. Avoid the grit: Grit and sand are often spread on the roads during the winter to provide traction but it often ends up towards the shoulder.  Riding in the grit and sand is just asking for a puncture because all sorts of sharp objects could be mixed in there.  So if the shoulder is gritty, ride a little further in road where its clear.
  6. Bonus: Just ride in doors: Avoid the cold, wet and darkness of winter and just ride inside.  Sure its boring, but riding the trainer has many benefits such as allowing you to perform very specific, structured workouts, if you can survive the boredom.  Check out my tips for surviving training indoors for some help.

After a couple rides outside over the holidays, these were some of the lessons I learned.  Sometimes it was the hard way, others it was just common sense.  I hope that these 5 tips for surviving winter riding will help you get the most out of your winter season.

Do you have any of your own tips for winter riding?  Please share them in the comments.

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