Winter bike riding tips

Tour De France winner Cadel Evans tells you how to keep bike riding through the winter months.

As the daylight hours are getting shorter, the thermometer lower and the rain a little more persistent, there are a few strategies you can adopt to keep riding, remain safe and stay fit.

Riding through winter will have you in much better shape come the warmer months and ahead of the game in preparing for your next challenge, like the 2017 Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race People’s Ride.

1. Dress in warm layers

“There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing” is an old cycling expression I’ve heard many times over the years. It’s not entirely true but it does have some merit. The right clothing is crucial.

A key to dressing well for the cold is to wear layers. One super warm thermal jacket isn’t the answer. A good quality undershirt, a long sleeve mid-weight thermal jersey, a wind vest, rain jacket, leg warmers, long finger gloves and thermal shoe covers are must-haves to enjoy riding in the depths of winter.

A cap under your helmet is an easy way to trap in extra warmth as well. And a neck warmer does a great job of stopping the cold going down your chest and into your core, opening up the possibilities of chest and other infections.

If you’re still a little cold you can always add one of your summer jerseys to your base layer. Wearing layers is a more effective way of staying warm. It also allows you to strip back a layer or two if you’re riding hard and starting to heat up.

“A key to dressing well for the cold is to wear layers – a good quality undershirt, a long sleeve mid-weight thermal jersey, a wind vest, rain jacket, leg warmers, long finger gloves and thermal shoe covers.”

2. Use mudguards

For the avid commuters, mudguards are a good addition to your bike when it’s wet. This can be a simple as the small ‘butt protectors’ that attach to the back of your seat. On a wet day, or when the roads are wet, these stop the water spraying up off your rear wheel and onto your back. This will help keep you a little drier and make for a much more comfortable commute to and from work.

It also reduces the amount of water spraying in the face of your riding buddies behind you. Safety is not always just about you, but also those around you.

3. Make sure you’re visible

I also recommend a flashing headlight and rear light, even for riding during the day. On those dark, miserable winter days we want to make sure motorists can see us at all times. If you’re riding in the dark before and/or after work, a good quality headlight and bright rear flashing light is essential.

Wearing items with a reflective strip – jacket, backpack, ankle straps – is also something you should consider to ensure your visibility remains as high as possible.

“If you do have to ride in the rain commuting to work, choose the safest option, even if it’s a little longer than your preferred direct route.”

4. Be careful riding in the rain

Be smart and just be a little more cautious with when and where you choose to ride. If it’s bucketing down and you don’t need to go out on the road, don’t.

If you do have to ride in the rain commuting to work, choose the safest option, even if it’s a little longer than your preferred direct route. Slippery roads combined with peak hour traffic can provide some anxious moments, so bike paths can be a great alternative in bad weather.

Whatever you do, don’t go trying to be a hero on the road in the rain – it’s simply not worth it. Take it a little easier around the corners, give yourself extra braking time and be very attentive and cautious around traffic.

5. Keep up your training on a stationary bike

Wet days are a good time to make the most of the home trainer. Riding on a stationary bike can be a little boring, but it’s a super efficient way of improving your fitness and keeping active in the wetter months. There are no rolling down hills and no stopping at traffic lights. You don’t waste any time and spend the whole session on the pedals, so it’s a proper workout with no shortcuts.

The home trainer also allows you to do some very specific training – five minute intervals, 20 second sprints or longer efforts. There are so many options.

Stay safe, stay warm, stay dry (if possible) and keep riding. Believe me, the coffee afterwards tastes even better in winter!

Recommended reading - Your guide to working out

Advice

6 strength exercises for runners

Simple conditioning moves that should be part of any runner’s training routine.

Read more
Community

5 ways to mix up your training

Revamp and turbocharge your workout by adding a little variety.

Read more
Community

7 unconventional fun runs

These unique fitness events put a twist in the running experience.

Read more
Advice

4 tempo-based running apps

Sync your music to your pace with these clever apps.

Read more
Community

Top 5 running tips from elite Australian runner Liam Adams

Australian runner and exercise scientist Liam Adams is training for his first marathon this year.

Read more
Lifestyle

10 fitness and wellbeing podcasts to get you inspired

Supercharge your motivation, learn something new, and be entertained with uplifting health podcasts.

Read more
Lifestyle

High intensity interval training: The fast track to fitness results

Here’s how to use HIIT to improve your fitness, strength and fat burning in just 30 minutes.

Read more
Lifestyle

4 ways to prevent running injuries

Look after your body while you run. Here's how to lower your chances of getting injured.

Read more
Advice

Nine tips for bouncing back after exercise

Exercise can hurt, not just during a session but also for several days afterwards.

Read more
Lifestyle

Your quick-start guide to running training

Whether you're gearing up for a marathon or your first 5 km, prepare your mind, body and wardrobe.

Read more
Community

Tips for training success

Olympic triathlete Brendan Sexton on how to reach your potential as an athlete.

Read more
Community

What I learned from marathon training

From training plans to race day, dietitian Daniel Thomson discusses his marathon challenge.

Read more
Community

Why Orangetheory Fitness is the new workout you have to try

Discover Orangetheory Fitness, an extensive workout that will push you to your limits.

Read more
Community

5 reasons to run in the morning

Understand how running in the morning can change your life, and why you should start now.

Read more
Lifestyle

7 easy ways to get active in winter

Take a look at a list of activities to keep your heart racing during the dreary winter months

Read more
Experts

Having your cake and eating it too

How to let go of guilt and enjoy good food – the healthy way.

Read more
Lifestyle

How to work out together, apart

5 ways Fitbit will help you stay connected with your partner while running solo.

Read more
Community

On track to better health

A new online tool pools info on nutrition and exercise for healthy living and cancer prevention

Read more
Community

Work, drive and train with Paul Dumbrell

CEO Paul Dumbrell reveals how he learnt to balance business, exercise and professional motor racing.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.