Depending on where you live, winter might not be that bad or it could be pretty difficult to get good rides in. Here are some simple attitudes and approaches to have when you love to ride the bike but winter has it’s cold hands around you.
Winter is traditionally the off season for cycling. This is good if you really struggle to get out riding in the colder weather. You could train until June or July then take a month or two off the bike, getting out for a cruise if you end up with a few warmer days. The first point would be to consider taking several weeks off the bike as winter really kicks in to recover and relax.
It’s the time of year when cross training can play a bigger part in your fitness program. With most cyclists, gym work really helps keep the body strong and conditioned. Over the past few years, when I’ve done a couple of months of gym work, I’ve felt very strong, flexible and keen to ramp up k’s on the bike.
Go for group rides when you can, they are a great tool to use generally so you can keep fitness at a constant level. Riding with a bunch helps add to your motivation. Simply clocking up time on the bike benefits your fitness and helps keep you active.
Be prepared! Especially if you’re out for a few hours and the weather could change, make sure you have spare equipment ready to use if the weather does change. This is my biggest mistake, not caring about the possibility of a cold snap and when it does come, I end up freezing and trying to race home! If you keep a spare jacket in your jersey then it’ll help you to stay relaxed and focused.
Wind trainers… I’ve enjoyed indoor sessions as long as they’re only an hour. If you’re similar then great, you still have a situation where you can focus on doing certain efforts and jumping off the trainer when you lose focus and concentration. If you love your wind trainer sessions and you’re into keeping up those slightly longer, endurance rides then that’s great too. A wind trainer simply helps you overcome those iffy winter days.
Relay your thoughts and ideas to a coach or even just friends. Good input and advice will help you make the most of the cycling in the season that doesn’t often suit cycling.
At the end of the day, winter isn’t that bad in New Zealand, at least compared to most other places around the world. There is plenty of good clothing available to help keep you warm, especially if you are time crunched and still need to get up early or stay out until later on.
Enjoy the winter months, stay safe and happy riding!!