Now that the summer is over, it is beginning to get colder and darker. It is important to prepare for this well in advance and to make sure that you are ready for all sorts of scenarios. Here are some tips that we would recommend for cyclists to take into consideration before setting off on their bike rides this following autumn and winter.
In the colder temperatures, it is important for you to layer up to ensure that your body temperature remains warm. You lose the most heat from your extremities; such as your core, hands, feet and so you need to make sure that these have the necessary layers. This will trap the warm air and keep the cold air out. We would recommend that you layer up three times to keep you warm and moisture free. A base layer to prevent any moisture getting through to the skin, a mid layer with thermal properties and an outer layer with special fabric to block cold air and wind.
As autumn has started and the sun is beginning to set earlier and earlier, it is important for you to make sure that you have a source of light with you at all times. This is to make you visible to others as well as lighting your path when cycling in the dark.
It may be beneficial to change your tyres to ones which offer better performance when on the wet and cold road conditions. It is also best to get tyres which have slightly more endurance towards getting punctures. When the weather becomes worse, you are more susceptible to getting punctures as the wet conditions act as a type of lubrication for sharp objects. Make sure that you are also prepared for any punctures, with a repair kit.
PLAN ROUTE IN ADVANCE
Knowing your route can be very helpful before you set off on your bike ride. Plan out potential shorter routes during the winter time so you can get home quicker, should you lose energy or become too cold. If they are any road closures or debris on the road, it is also essential to know alternative routes so that you can get back, safely.
VISIBILITY IS KEY
When it gets colder, less cyclers are out and so may motorists may not expect any cyclists on the road. The days are shorter too which means that it gets darker earlier and quicker. Make sure that you have a range of different amenities to keep you visible, such as bright coloured clothes, lights and reflectors. This is vital for the safety of yourself as well as other people out in the road.
Before setting off on your ride, it is important to leave with your body temperature as warm as possible, this will mean that it takes longer for your body to cool down to the point where you become freezing. Warm the inside of your body by drinking or eating warm foods before you leave. Eating before you leave is important to make sure that you have enough energy while keeping you warm.
DRINK WARM DRINKS
Drinking cold water or other cold drinks will bring you body temperature down as it will cool you down. When cycling in the cold, you should drink warm liquids to maintain the warmth of your body. If and when you have a break, make sure that you refuel with warm water to keep your body temperature up.
Maintenance is important to making sure that you bicycle is to a safe standard and in good condition before riding. If your bicycle gets damaged or becomes un-rideable then you could be stuck in a situation where you are in an area that you are unaware of and have to find somewhere safe to wait while someone comes to help you. When being inactive, your body will become cooler easier. Make sure that you have enough food or drink to keep you warm while you are stationary.
If the weather is too extreme, then it would be advised for you to stay indoors to keep safe and in good health. For some people it may be crucial to keep training and cycling and so it would be best to use a turbo trainer to keep in shape.
Looking for more information? Check out our Tips for Winter Road Cycling to know how to keep yourself safe on the roads at winter!