Let’s face it, while we may be short on sunshine, exercise is one way to boost our endorphins (happy hormones) and our mood. So instead of leaving your two-wheeled friend to hibernate in the garage, shed, hallway, bedroom… , take advantage of the cooler weather and cycle your way through winter.
It’s snow joke
With a bit of extra prep and gear, you’ll be able to hit the road in most weather (if you’ve ever tried cycling in a stormy blast of the white stuff, you’ll know that it’s not worth skidding around on a dirty and icy road).
Here is a winter checklist provided by LV – it may seem obvious but extra vigilance around batteries for lights, having a break, tyre pressure and tyre and pedal grip check really do make a huge difference.
On those particularly wet days, mudguards on your front and back wheels are a real blessing to stop backsplash of muddy water on the road. And while reflectors are not an absolute must, drivers will thanks you for them. Finally, if you’re leaving your bike outside in wet weather, a seat cover is another piece of gear you will be thankful for.
With your tyres, the next infographic reveals more about what to consider when it comes to tyre pressure and your bicycle checklist.
Illuminate the roads
When it comes to cycling, it can be particularly irritating when one of your lights cut out and you do not have any spare batteries to hand. Put a set of USB-rechargeable Moon Lights on your Christmas list. I didn’t but was pleasantly surprised to receive some from the boyfriend (no really, I’m a practical girl at heart). Easy to attach and detach from your bike, they are bright see me coming with this powerful set of lights. I also have a back-up set already on my bike just in case I forget to charge them at work. I would say, whatever your lighting style (see below), always have a plan B.
Head, shoulders, knees and TOES (and FINGERS)
You don’t need to go overboard when it comes to cycling in the cold. A waterproof jacket and trousers over layers of clothing underneath (even better if they are hi-vis) should suffice. But what I would not leave at home is a separate pair of woolly socks and gloves to keep your tootsies and mitts warm.
Invest in a decent pair of cycling gloves, preferably with some waterproofing, and cycling socks. If cycling to work, you may want to take a change of clothing too as there’s nothing worse than sitting around in sweaty gear all day and stinking the office out. Have a gander at this list below for more cycle-appropriate gear to wear if you so desire.
And as for shoes
It may be cool/in/”whatever the youngsters say these days” to be seen in a certain brand of loafers on your bike but you may find that you’ll wear out that pair of 60 quid hipster pumps before the winter is out. Use your loaf and pack a spare pair.
All this extra gear does add up but the benefits of cycle-commuting to work far outweigh other public transport options or travelling by car. While #runcommuting may be my preference, I still #cyclecommute some days, especially when I have to carry more things or am meeting friends after work.
Don’t be put off by the winter weather, a brisk cycle in the cold weather will revive you. Simply be organised, tick off the winter cycling checklist, saddle-up and pedal safe.