Training in winter can be wearying, especially if you don’t have an indoor trainer that you can easily set the bike up on.
Long, dark nights and miserable weather can make it hard to get motivated enough to go out on the bike, not to mention the long set up required everytime you go out. Attaching lights, checking brakes and tyre pressures and then layering up all take longer when it’s dark and cold outside. Here are a few tips to make getting out in the winter nights that bit easier.
1. Easy Clip Lights
Attaching lights can be a pain, especially if you go out on the bike often and have to constantly put them on then take them off again. Investing in a set of lights where the lights clip on and off easily is a handy way to save some time.
These lights have a mount that stays attached to the bike and takes up minimal space, so it can be left on whilst you are riding in the daytime and you don’t need to spend a while attaching the lights again when you next go out in the evening.
2. Pre-Flight Checks
Brake checks, tyre pressure, seatpost clamp and light security. These are all essential pre-ride checks that need to be done before you set off to ensure that you are riding safe and secure. Especially if you are riding an expensive carbon fibre road bike.
Many riders go out after work in the winter evenings, so completing all these checks then getting ready then going for a ride can turn into a long, drawn out affair that can be difficult to motivate yourself for. Why not try completing these checks in the morning before work?
That way you can be sure your bike is all set to go as soon as you get in, and you don’t need to spend time eating into your ride doing the checks. For more intensive checks on your cycling components you can set aside some time at the weekend to ensure they are all in fine fettle so you don’t need to check them as thoroughly mid-week.
3. Saddle Bag Prep
Always keep your saddle bag with a multi tool, two inner tubes, tyre levers and any other essential items you may need to take with you handy somewhere you will always be able to access it.
Most saddlebags can be left on the bike, so you don’t even need to check their contents before you go for a ride, just make sure you check the integrity of the tubes every so often to make sure they haven’t torn, keeping them in a waterproof bag inside the saddle bag can help with this to keep them safe.
4. Tea in a Bidon
Cold nights mean hot drinks, and that can be extended to the bike ride too. Many professionals will be given tea with sugar in their bottle whilst on longer rides, such as the classics, as this will help keep you warm and provide you with energy – not to mention a morale boost.
It can be done with any warm drink on those especially cold nights, and can make that climb of the local hill much easier with some warm fluid in your stomach instead of cold drinks. Remember that tea is a diuretic though, so be prepared to need to take a nature break if you’re going on a long ride and always take a bidon of water along with you too for hydration.
5. Plan a Route
Planning a route and sticking to it is a great way to ensure you are getting the base miles in. If you have a bunch of local routes that you know you can get round in 45 minutes to an hour, it will be much easier to motivate yourself to get out than if you just want to ride and see where the road takes you.
If you have a bike computer this is also a good way of monitoring your progress throughout winter as you will be able to see how fast you are completing routes.