Winter can be a time when many people channel their inner bear and head into hibernation, choosing to stay indoors rather than head outside for exercise.
As important as engaging in physical activity and getting out on your bike during the summer and spring months is, it is just as crucial to do so during the cooler seasons. Despite the winter chill, there are several reasons that you should keep riding and will feel better than ever if you do.
You need to exercise regularly to build up your immunity system. As a result, you sleep better and cope better with those pesky colds and cases of flu. According to studies, riding a bike to work each day can also lower your risk of developing cancer by 45 per cent and nearly half your risk of heart disease. As well as enjoying some sun in winter, you’ll also be able to boost your vitamin D levels, which aid in the absorption of calcium and promote bone growth.
Biking through the winter will not only keep you physically fit and healthy, but it will also help you to become happier as well. The benefit of exercising is that it stimulates the release of chemicals in your brain that have the effect of improving your mood, keeping you positive even amid winter’s gloom.
Riding in winter is different from cycling in summer though, especially in the southern states where the cold mornings and evenings can really bite. So here are some ways you can prepare yourself and get the most out of your bike during winter.
Choosing the right clothes for winter riding
There is no question that preparing for riding in the cold will require some intelligent fashion choices. Winter is a time for function over fashion, and you will need to rug up to protect yourself against the biting cold.
But it is important to remember not to rug up too much, as the only thing more uncomfortable than a cold ride is boiling under several layers of clothes because you have overdressed.
When you are layering up or dressing for cold weather, it is a good idea to choose your clothes based on how you feel 15 minutes into your ride, not how you feel as soon as you start.
Once you have started, your heart rate, blood flow, and body temperature will increase as soon as you get started. Overdressing will make you too hot, and you will spend most of the rest of your ride sweating and feeling uncomfortable. So if you want to enjoy the rest of your ride, it is well worth it to have a couple of cold minutes in the beginning.
Safety first: ensure you are visible on the road
There is no question that reflective clothing is essential for cyclists to protect themselves while riding in cities or on the road. The importance of this is even greater during the winter months because the days are shorter, and the weather is gloomier, so you are more likely to find yourself riding in poor visibility situations.
For these reasons, it is also essential to have your lights attached to your bike during the daytime as you never know when the sun will disappear behind the clouds or when the winter rain might begin to fall.
Have your bike serviced and the tyres replaced
There is a range of reasons why should inspect and potentially replace parts and accessories on your bike during the colder parts of the year.
It is easy to take for granted the pristine riding conditions and surfaces we are treated to during spring and summer. During winter months, wet and slippery roads, or even icy roads during extreme weather conditions, can make it difficult for your tires to grip the road.
You will also notice that many cyclists are by the side of the road fixing punctures as winter begins. There are several reasons for this. First, as a result of cycling all summer long, your tyres might be getting a bit worn out, increasing the chances of a flat, plus an increase in rain during the winter tends to wash more debris onto the road, making punctures an even more significant problem.
A set of winter tyres may be slightly heavier, but they will be better equipped to handle sharp edges and thorns. Additionally, they often have a pronounced tread to increase grip when wet or on loose surfaces.
Your bike will also experience more wear and tear due to the cold, rain, and ice. Winter can accelerate the demise of parts that are nearing the end of their lifespan. Before you hit the road, the first thing you should do is service your bike and change any old parts.
Have you considered an e-bike as an option for winter? These motorised options will allow you to make light work of your commute and spend less time in the cold while still getting your daily exercise. Browse our range today.