Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or new to the sport, setting your bike up and selecting your kit for winter riding can prove to be a lengthy (and expensive) process. Making sure you're comfortable and most importantly safe while riding in winter is top priority, whether you plan to use your bike to commute, ride the trails or get in your 'new year - new me' workout.
In our Winter Riding Series with Olympian and two time World Triathlon Champion Helen Jenkins, we'll explore everything you need to know to make the most of your winter riding, from training and nutrition to injury prevention and advise on staying motivated. Our first installment steers you through the crucial set-up and kit selection process with Helen's top tips to winter riding.
"It’s nearly three weeks into the New Year and we are all trying to shift the winter pounds while in lockdown again. The virtual training is taking off but like everyone, we like to get on the road or trails as often as possible and mix the training up.
With hospitals full, it’s more important now than ever we do all we can to stay safe and be seen while out."
- Bike Check- Make sure your kit is functional, not just for you but for anyone you may be riding with. Use the 'M check' as a good guide as to whether your bike is road worthy and suitable for the conditions. Mud Guards are a great addition for winter, winter tyres with higher puncture resistance. Any ways to avoid stopping in the cold is great.
- Helmet…. ALWAYS!!! Wear it. Make sure it’s structurally sound with no cracks or signs of damage. We change our Helmets annually partly due to the amount of bike boxes it’s bounced around in. Lock after the one head you’ve got.
- Be Seen- It’s not primarily about looking good but more about being seen. We like to wear colorful kit and try to have 2 Functional lights on the back and 1 on the front. I’m currently using the Pavo 900 lumen front light and Lifeline Aero beam rear light. which are bright, powerful, long lasting and rechargeable.
- Pick your Ride time if you can- If you are working from home and have flexibility when you can ride, then try and ride when there is plenty of light and outside the rush hour times.
- Dress for the conditions- It’s been so cold here lately. I always like to have too many layers on than too few. You can always take something off. I always have a gilet in my back pocket just in case it rains…. Or I didn’t put enough on. I have bad circulation so wearing really good gloves, overshoes and warm HUUB cycling clothes really helps make a ride more enjoyable for me.
- Adapt Your Training Goals/Sessions for Safety: If it is wet and icy – sprints and full power intervals that see you redline and lose concentration often mean you are not able to focus on the road surface and conditions, save those efforts for the turbo or dry days if you can. Explore your local trails if you have any and make the most out of gravel and mountain bikes. It’s nice to be outside, even nicer to get off the road somedays. If it is colder and icey ride accordingly and take less risks.
- Let Someone Know Your Route and expected return time: This is a good tip for any ride winter or not. If you are riding alone (or even with others) make sure someone knows your route. A peaceful winter ride on quiet roads can be hugely relaxing and refreshing but if something were to happen, this will at least mean people start looking for you in the right area.
Stay safe on the roads and trails everyone this winter and looking forward to some events and racing soon.
Good luck with your winter riding,
Helen and the JinxSport Team
Keep an eye out for the next installments of Winter Riding with Helen Jenkins coming soon!