Black Country Triathletes

Black Country Triathletes

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Winter Cycling Tips

Author: Paul Gamston, 05/10/17

I’ve been asked by a few people how to go about winter riding, so I thought that I’d do a write up on my experiences...

Winter cycle training...It can be fun!

Firstly, most people tend to clean and store their best bike ready for the springtime & then have a winter training ‘hack’...This has always seemed the best way to do things to me and many others, as you will definitely wreck your best bike if you choose to ride regular in the cold months...Purchasing a second hand or a cheaper new bike in your size to use over the winter is a sound plan if you only have the one [best] race machine at the moment!

So, to winterise a bike for a more comfortable experience on rougher roads in rougher weather will involve just a few modifications such as:

Mudguards, wider fit tyres 25/27 mm, double up the handle bar tape so you have 2 layers
Bike cleaning & regular weekly maintenance is most essential to keep the road crud & salt from eating away your frame and components, as soon as you finish your ride swill the bike off with a hose, then clean everything using a strong washing up liquid/water solution and a large paint brush, then degrease chain, chain rings, sprockets and derailleur [ paraffin or white spirit]  and clean using a brush then swill with water and wipe clean – hand dry everything with a cloth then spray with WD40, GT85 or similar

Brakes and cables need similar treatment too but try to keep the spray oil off the wheel rims as the bike will take further to stop next time you ride!
Keep the machine in the dry in between rides & oil the chain and other moving parts with a good quality chain oil just before you head out next time...
WD40, GT85 or similar protects the bike from corrosion and wear and tear but doesn't really act as a general running gear lubricant as its too thin but it does act as a barrier that needs re applying after every wash – it’s essential stuff...

Don’t forget to give the inside if the brake/gear changer levers & all the nuts and bolts all over the bike a little squirt too!

Wheels needs taking off the frame every few weeks for a good clean a re grease skewers with a waterproof cycle grease – the purple or white stuff sold in bike shops!

Look after your kit & it will look after you – chains will wear out & break in the winter if you don’t clean them properly after every ride as they pick up road grit that acts as a grinding paste!
Ride clothing is hit and miss as we all like to be different but generally a thicker layer designed for the cold is a must, carry a ‘lifesaver’ spare waterproof jacket & invest in a good quality gilet for the core area & skull cap to wear under your helmet, thicker gloves are essential as ever...

The feet can be kept cosy with a pair of Gortex socks that fit as normal socks and the foot warmers that fit over the shoes. You can purchase winter riding boots -  they are really good by all accounts, I’ve used a pair the last 2 winters and they do solve the problem of my feet feeling like blocks of ice when really cold outside!

Breakdown kit & spare tubes should be carried in the saddle bag as normal...
Finally what to carry in pockets?
Spare waterproof, energy food, phone, money & possibly the most of all important Winter essential is the ‘space blanket’ that can be wrapped around an injured cyclist who might be in shock, wet & cold with a damaged bike waiting in the cold weather to be rescued  - this one little item will make a world of difference at a time like this!
To sum up then – Winter riding needs more planning and preparation as the conditions are harsher – but nowadays the right kit and materials are available to make it a more enjoyable training session...


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