Preparing yourself for winter cycling

06 December 2016
Man on bike

As important as preparing your bike, you need to ensure YOU are comfortable when out on your bike in the winter.

Here are our top tips on how to get yourself ready for cycling this winter:​

Clothing

What you wear is a key consideration when cycling in winter.

Don’t be tempted to wrap up in your thickest, warmest coat as you are likely to end up too hot, even at this time of year.

  • In cold weather layers are key; several thinner garments will keep you warm but then individual layers can also be removed and easily stowed in a bag or pannier to stop you overheating.
  • Carry waterproofs in case of wet weather – a lightweight jacket and over-trousers should be sufficient for most journeys.
  • Don’t forget gloves when cycling in cold conditions. Gloves can also help stop your hands slipping on the handlebars when it is wet.
  • Sunglasses – essential in bright sun, particularly when it is low in the sky as it often is at this time of year.

Check out this guide to layering clothing for winter riding:

Layering

As is so often said, there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing.

Being seen

When cycling in the dark, it is also a good idea to wear clothing or accessories that help you to be seen more easily by other road users.

Especially important at night is to include a reflective component that will make you stand out in the beam of car headlights.

Many cycling clothes have amazingly effective reflective elements such as piping on the seams or flaps on pockets that are discreet and so can pass as normal and often quite stylish clothes in the daytime. It is also worth considering high-vis or fluorescent colours, especially at dawn and dusk when the light is flat and not all cars will have their lights on.  A brightly coloured rucksack or bag cover will help to add extra visibility.

This great article from Road CC tells you everything you need to know about reflective clothing.

Tools

You don’t need to cart a whole bike workshop with you when you go out on the bike, but the following are essential in case you need to make running repairs:

  • A multi-tool
  • Bicycle pump
  • A spare inner-tube
  • Puncture repair kit

Above all, ensure your mobile phone has sufficient charge to last the duration of your trip in case of emergency.

Plan your route

We would always recommend you plan your route in advance, but it is especially important at this time of year.

With limited daylight and the possibility of poor weather conditions, the last thing you want is to find yourself in an unfamiliar location.

You may also find it easier using better lit routes or routes that are quieter and less trafficked.

Use our cycle maps, or the Cycle Streets journey planner to help find the best route for you.


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