Just because the thermostat is plummeting doesn’t mean the bike should be locked up in the garage for the next three months. Winter is a great time to get out and explore – and a great excuse to look at getting a new bike. Fat bikes, Cyclocross bikes and Plus bikes are best suited to chilly conditions – so if all you’ve got is a slick roadie, it’s probably wise to invest in something a little heartier. But if the prospect of a new bike doesn’t entice you into the Wintery outdoors, read on to find out why you should keep cycling in winter.
1. You’ll become tougher, stronger and more resilient
While spring is for spry road bikes, winter is for tough, heavier cyclocross or fat bikes, bikes that can tackle the elements, rain, hail or snow. Taking up a tougher bike means you’ll start to get a little tougher too – the heavier bike and thicker clothing you’ll be wearing will help you build strength through the chilly season. Don’t let the cooler weather deter you, look at is as an opportunity to build strength outside confines of a gym in the great outdoors. Come spring time you’ll be the better cyclist for it.
2. You’ll burn calories faster
They say summer bodies are forged in winter – so don’t go into hibernation! This is the perfect opportunity to burn calories, incinerate fat and build endurance. Studies show that exercising in cooler conditions helps you burn more calories – though this is only true up until the point you warm up. Winter cycling is the best sport to undertake to take advantage of this fact. While your legs will warm up, your upper torso stays relatively cool, thus your metabolism has to work overtime to keep you warm.
3. Ward of winter colds
It’s common knowledge that those who exercise more regularly get sick less often than people leading a sedentary lifestyle. So don’t just accept the common cold as an inevitable part of the winter months. This is a great time to be outdoors and avoid the germ infested confines of public transport. Keep up your cycling and ward off infection.
4. Maintain momentum
If you’ve got yourself to a great place in your training or reached a fitness goal – don’t let cooler weather pull your positive momentum to a grinding halt. Ensure you and your bike are prepared for the cooler months by getting your steed serviced regularly and by investing in some wet weather gear. Wear padded, insulated gloves and socks, a warm hat under your helmet and a woollen long sleeve shirt. Waterproof gear is also a must for those miserable rainy days. Switch out slick tyres for more “knobby” ones to better grip the road in icy conditions. The better prepared you are, the more likely you are to ride and keep your cycling momentum going. It’s just like cycling – it’s hard to get started, but once you do it’s easier to keep going.
5. Be safe & be realistic
While you may earn yourself some street-cred as a hardcore cyclist by taking on torrential downpour – be smart, and know when to give in to Mother Nature. Safety first, the old adage that still rings true, there’s no point getting yourself stuck in a snowstorm or blisteringly cold rain, or worse coming off an injuring yourself. Check the weather often and make a good judgement based on your abilities and the conditions outside. Don’t let a cold, sprinkling of snow stop you, but don’t try and take on an avalanche.