Winter Cycle Training
Winter cycling has often taken place for a number of reasons ranging from sporting to simple utilitarian reasons like commuting; trail or mountain bike riding (normally on snow); plus riding on frozen lakes and rivers. When winter sets in, most cyclists hang up their bikes and stash away their gear. However, winter is arguably the best time to do cycling whether for sporting reasons or for other reasons. Shouts of ‘it’s too cold’ or ‘it’s really dangerous out there’ will be heard from numerous people but it’s actually warmer and more manageable than thought.
The key for winter cycle training is motivation; one’s mental frame of mind. Find ways to motivate yourself throughout the dark winter months. Before your winter training, set a goal – have a mileage chart and try to meet targets. Mix up your training, and if possible try to go on a winter training camp. It is also important to consider Training with other people because it drives one to go out when staying in seems more attractive. It’s important to acquire relevant equipment and clothing and so to avoid getting very cold from perspiration, winter cyclists should wear clothing in layers, so that they can remove outer shells as they get warmer. In terms of equipment, the icy roads or hard packed snow will require that you get yourself some studded tires and helmet.
Visibility is often a problem during winter and therefore, one should always assume that other people can not see them. That way, they will ride defensively thus keeping away at least 3 meters from the doors of cars. Also avoid, passing cars on the inside and avoid being rear-ended. Cyclists should use lights and reflectors to be more visible. Reflective orange and yellow vests such as those made for construction workers will make a cyclist more visible in the winter, not just in the night-time, but also in the day-time. Riding more slowly, and more upright during a turn will give a rider more control. Braking might present a problem so riders should mostly use the back wheel for cautious braking. On ice, studded tires greatly increase control. When a bike goes into a skid during rear-tire braking, the skid can be controlled by easing up on the rear brake or using the foot.
Once in proper shape physically and mentally, it is worthwhile for riders to go winter cycle training because it is enjoyable, will keep your bike cleaner, save on parking and gas costs and will obviously keep a rider a step ahead of others in terms of speed, resilience and bicycle handing.