My 7 Top Tips To Enable Your Winter Cycle Commute (More Often Than Not)
Be prepared. Check the forecast for the morning and get everything ready the night before. You’ll know then whether you are dressing for cold, ice, rain. If that affects your choice of bike or clothing you will have time to prepare when you are not in a morning rush. In my experience, it is sometimes the lack of one vital bit of clothing or equipment which causes you to give up the intention to ride and jump in the car instead.
Keep bike light chargers where they are easy to use. In winter you are likely to be using your lights for every commute. Make it easy to recharge your lights when you get in ready for the next day.
Invest in quality waterproofs and cycle-specific warm layers. There are now a few items in my cycling ‘wardrobe’ which make wanting to ride more appealing whatever the weather. I invested (at least five years ago so feel I have had my money’s worth) in a pair of Assos sturmNuss Rain Shell waterproof over-trousers. They are the most comfortable and unobtrusive waterproofs I have ever encountered. So comfortable that I am sometimes happy to wear them even when it is not raining just as a wind-proof layer or to protect from surface spray. The top of me is now comfortable in either a Castelli winter weight jacket or an Endura FlipJack Jacket. Topped with an Assos or Endura waterproof if needed. Gloves are essential and for comfort should be insulated and waterproof. A skull cap will keep your head and ears from freezing.
Keep a spare set of clothing at work. I ride with a minimal amount of change of clothing for work in a waterproof bag within my rucksack but always keep a complete change of clothes at work just in case I and my rucksack get completely soaked.
Keep your feet warm and dry. I’m hankering after a pair of Northwave Flash Arctic GTX Winter Boots. If your budget (like mine) doesn’t run to these then the addition of waterproof overshoes over your usual bike shoes will keep your feet dry and warm.
Wear a hi-viz top layer and helmet. Make yourself visible and safe. You will only get to cycle commute tomorrow if you survive today. The light is low at all times of day in winter. When the sun is to be seen it is often low and dazzling. Be seen and be safe.
Commit to an attitude of gratitude that you are able to ride to work. Yes at times it will feel cold and wet but you are one of the lucky ones who can contribute to their fitness simply by travelling to work. Those winter commuting miles will make next year’s sportives, races, or cycle tours so much easier and so much more enjoyable.