Ask anyone passionate about cycling if road and mountain bikes in NZ should be locked away over winter and they’ll respond with a resounding - of course not!! Cycling is in our blood and the thought of not getting out there over the winter months is too much to bear. We’ve just got to keep riding. However, we will concede that things are different when riding in winter and there are certain things that we can do to maintain enjoyment levels. We’re going to share some of them with you:
- It’s important to keep warm during a winter ride, particularly your head, hands, feet and torso. Most body heat escapes through your head, so a skullcap under your helmet is a great idea. Wear long fingered gloves or mittens to keep your hands warm, and good quality socks for your feet. Wearing layers will keep your torso warm, and that should include a lightweight and breathable outer jacket that is water and wind resistant. Try to choose fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin as this will keep you drier and warmer. Check out our clothing range for stuff to keep you warm from head to toe.
- On the same subject, never start your ride feeling cold as this will make your extremities feel even colder, which leads to a very uncomfortable and unpleasant ride. The trick is to have a hot drink in a warm room just before going outside.
- One of your highest priorities is to stay visible at all times, even on a sunny winter’s day. Drivers in their warm and comfortable cars probably don’t expect to see riders on the roads during winter, so they might not be as alert as they would be in summer. To guard against that complacency, wear brightly colored clothing, and use reflectors and lights, even if you won’t be riding after dark. It isn’t always easy to see cyclists during twilight hours so a good set of lights including a headlight and rear flasher will greatly enhance your visibility.
- If it’s at all possible, try and ride into a headwind on the first part of your ride, and return home with the wind behind you. This allows you to confront a headwind when you’re feeling fresh and full of energy - and when you’re a bit tired at the end of the ride, that tailwind will push you home. This is a good tip for any time of year, especially in winter because you’ll avoid an icy wind during the second half of your ride when you are starting to flag.
- Riding during winter can be really hard on your bike. So make sure you take extra good care of it by regularly cleaning the bike itself, as well as the chain, gears, brakes and wheel rims. It’s particularly important that you do this after every ride in wet conditions. You should also lubricate the chain and gears more frequently. Never use WD40 for this! We have lubes here that are made specifically for bikes and they’re much better than multi-purpose products.
On that last point of looking after your bike; we highly recommend a pre-winter tune up. Our qualified and experienced bike mechanics, working in our fully equipped workshop, will have your bike as ready as you are to face winter. Contact us if you’re in the Canterbury region and book your service today.