8 Tips to Survive Winter Cycling

It's that time of year again. In many places around the country, it is starting to get cold; however, that doesn't have to keep you off the bike. Follow these 8 tips for an enjoyable winter riding experience.

More: 4 Winter Riding Tips

Dress Properly

To stay warm during a winter ride, think in terms of your head, hands, feet and torso. Most of your body heat escapes through your head so using a balaclava under your helmet will help keep you warm. Wear either long fingered gloves or mittens to protect your hands, and thermal socks to keep your feet warm. If it's really cold, consider wearing two pairs of socks and use thermal shoe covers to keep the wind off your feet.

Wear layers to keep your torso warm including a lightweight, breathable outer jacket that is both water and wind resistant. It also helps to use fabrics that wick moisture away from the skin. This will help keep you drier and warmer. As a general rule of thumb, use leg warmers to protect your knees when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.

More: How to Stay Warm on the Bike

Start Warm

Never start your ride with a chill. This is a recipe for a miserable outing because your extremities will get cold very quickly. Start your ride feeling warm, perhaps even a bit too warm. Try a hot drink in a warm room just before you step outside. This will allow you to warm up on the bike more comfortably.

Be Visible

In many locales, drivers do not expect to see cyclists on the road during winter months. Wear brightly colored clothing, and use reflectors and lights, even if you won't be riding after dark. It can be difficult to spot cyclists during twilight hours and a good set of bicycle lights (e.g., headlight, rear flasher) will significantly boost your visibility.

More: 4 Tips for Cycling at Night

About the Author

Tyrone A. Holmes, Ed.D, CPT, is a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and a Level 2 cycling coach through USA Cycling. He provides Cycle-Max Coaching for cyclists and multisport athletes who want to improve their performance on the bike and Healthy Life Coaching for individuals who want to lose weight and develop healthier lifestyles. His latest book is Developing Training Plans for Cyclists and Triathletes. Visit his website at www.holmesfitness.com and his Fitness Corner blog at www.doctorholmes.wordpress.com.

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