It’s cold out there. It’s raining with sleet and snow on the way. The roads are covered in crap. All obstacles to most road cyclists, I think you’ll agree. But real road cyclists will just shrug their shoulders, get their heads down and get on with it. And so should you.
(These aren’t in any way ‘top tips’ and are in no way endorsed by RCUK.)[Indeed – ed.]
1: Toughen up, it’s only cold. The biggest tip is to just shut up complaining about the cold and accept that it’s winter; it’s not going to be warm, so pull on your warmest clothing and hit the roads. People expend way too much hot air on whining about the cold.
2: Invest in some serious clothing. You’ve just spent a small fortune buying your road bike. Your wife can’t believe you spent the price of a small family hatchback on a ‘push bike’. So why are you cutting corners when it comes to clothing? There’s been some amazing developments in fabrics in the last few years, and the latest jackets, tights, gloves and base layers make riding through the winter so much more bearable.
3: The weather is unpredictable at this time of year. Sure, you could spend all week waiting for the perfect weather window. But all you’re doing is just wasting your own time. If you’ve planned to go riding Sunday morning but it’s pissing down with rain, just get on with riding anyway. Missing rides because you’re scared of the weather is the first sign of weakness, and you’ll pay the ultimate price when it comes to that riding goal, sportive or race next year.
4: Fit some mudguards. Yes I know, they look rubbish and ruin the lines of your bike, but anyone who is serious about doing the winter miles will have mudguards on their bike. If you don’t have mudguards on your bike you’re just telling other road cyclists that you’re a fair weather budgie-tapper. And you don’t want that do you? Or maybe you do?
5: Don’t be scared of the dark. Unless you’re a pro, most of your training time will fall after the hours of daylight. So get some bloody big lights and go nocturnal – there’s absolutely no reason to let the dark stop you logging your training hours.
6: Man the RCUK up.