If this is your first winter cycling or if you have had a bad experience previously and are looking for some advice to improve your comfort being outdoors during these colder and darker months, then we have some top tips for you on what you should be wearing and how to care for your bike in winter.
It’s an obvious one but possibly the most important. As the evenings close in and the clocks have gone back it means cycling in the dark for anyone commuting. Therefore there are a few essentials you are going to need.
- Lights: Not only essential but it is legally required in Ireland to have front and rear lights and reflectors on your bike. These will not only enable you to see the road but will also help other road users and pedestrians to see you.
- Reflective wear – either one of those ghostly fully reflective jackets or a jacket that has lots of reflective strips to catch the light. You could also add to this a reflective helmet cover, leg wear with reflective strips and gloves that have reflective elements on the back of the hand to make is easier for drivers to see your hand signals.
As we all know in Ireland it typically rains more in winter months, with December and January being our wettest months. So if you are planning on not letting the elements dissuade you from your daily exercise or commute (we commend you!) then you will need to say dry to make your ride more comfortable.
- Whether your preference is for a vented or closed helmet you can opt for a waterproof, hi-vis & reflective helmet cover to not only keep you dry but also to help you be seen.
- A waterproof jacket, not a weather resistant or rain resistant jacket, don one of these in a downpour and you’ll know the difference between water resistant and water proof within three minutes. Staying dry is essential for your comfort and warmth in the wetter months in Ireland so our advice is to invest in a good waterproof jacket.
- For the wettest of days rain trousers (or pants) are a popular choice but in general most cyclists opt for a set of winter bib tights that are quick drying. Due to the movement of your legs and the heat naturally generated by exercise most don’t like layering on the lower half.
- A good pair of fleece lined leggings are great for colder days for more leisure cyclists.
- Wet and cold feet whilst cycling is just the worst thing in the world! To keep you comfortable and dry invest in a good pair or cycling shoes and some waterproof socks or a good pair of outdoor walking shoes. For the wettest of days some opt for wellies!
A Helping Hand!
Anyone that has cycled in winter knows that if your hands are uncomfortably cold or wet it makes cycling an impossible task. You can’t grip the handlebars let alone grab the brake leaver if your hands are frozen blocks of ice. Invest in a really great pair of waterproof thermal gloves and this will make winter cycling a whole lot more pleasant.
Gear to Go!
- Winter appropriate additions to your bike to ensure you are safe and to keep you more comfortable.
- The better you can keep the spray at bay the better for your feet, your bottom and the face of the person behind you! Mudguards are an essential piece of kit to help keep you dry and comfortable when cycling. They can be simple clip on or long full length mudguards with extra flaps if you want to go all out.
- Additional wind and rain means additional debris on the roads, this can increase your risk of slips or puncture. Additional grip and width may be needed (though width is limited to your frame clearance). Also keep an eye out for additional pot holes and never trust a puddle!
Bucket & Sponge
- Winter cycling, especially for commuter cyclists, means your bike will accumulate more grime from the road due to the wetter conditions and the additional debris on the roads. So to keep your bike in good shape it is a good idea to take out the bucket and sponge and get rid of all that grime – don’t forget to properly clean and lube your chain, it is the best way to extend the life of your drivetrain and keep your bike rolling smoothly through the winter.
If you need any additional advice or are looking to purchase a bike suitable to your needs for the winter just pop us a question on the on-screen live chat.