Cold Weather Riding

It may be cold, but winter weather doesn’t always mean riding indoors. The winter months are traditionally the time to pick up the mileage and build a base for the rest of the year, and we know that long rides are most fun when  they’re outdoors!  For those of you looking to get outside in between trainer sessions, here are a few tips on staying warm and happy when riding in the cold.

Bundle up:  As a rule of thumb, a wicking base-layer, an insulating layer, and a wind- and water-resistant shell make a good layering formula.  Adjust for the temperature by wearing heavier insulation or adding another thermal piece altogether.  Tuck a wind vest or another light layer into your jersey pocket to give yourself extra options while out on the road.

Happy feet:  Unhappy toes make for an unhappy rider—put on some shoe covers to keep out the cold. Shoe covers range from small toe covers for mildly chilly to heavy-duty neoprene booties for freezing temperatures.  Plus, they’ll keep your shoes sparkly clean on rainy days.

No sweat:  De-layer a bit before beginning a climb or a hard effort.   Getting sweaty and then riding in the cold leads to windchill and long, chilly ride home.  Pick a base layer that wicks away sweat, and don’t hesitate to take off and put on layers throughout the ride.

Eat more: When it’s cold out, your body needs to devote some extra energy to keeping you warm, meaning you’ll be eating more than normal on the bike.  In general you’ll want to eat about 0.3g of carbohydrate per hour per pound of body weight to keep feeling strong.

Drink water:  You won’t feel as thirsty as you do during the summer, but hydration is just as important during winter riding.  Shoot for 20 ounces of water per hour and sip at regular intervals.  Keep your bottles from freezing by adding some electrolytes to your water, or keep them in a jersey pocket.

Be safe:  Watch out for ice, not only where you’re riding but also where cars are driving.  Pick dry roads and keep in mind that temperatures will drop as the afternoon goes on.

Happy pedaling, and have fun out there!


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