Opportunities for cycling in winter
Besides challenges, winter also offers you immediate unique opportunities to make your training and cycling experiences more diverse. For example by trying a different cycling discipline or riding in a different environment you get just a little different physical and mental stimulation. What the possibilities are?
1. Track cycling
Track cycling is a nice change from your normal road cycling. It is a great way to work on speed and technique and you get the dry space and pleasant temperature for free. Track cycling is different from road cycling in terms of technique. For example, you have no gears and no brakes. Does this sound scary? Don't worry, in reality it isn´t that scary.
Read our blog post "Feel the rush" and get motivated to spin on the track.
2. Indoor cycling and virtual platforms
In recent years online platforms like Zwift have taken off and the popularity of this form of cycling has skyrocketed. You can compare it a bit to gaming, but on the bike. On Zwift you can participate in virtual cycling races and online training sessions 24/7. The global Zwift community with millions of users worldwide keeps you motivated and in fysical shape.
Also read our blogpost: Get Confident, Go Zwift.
3. Winterizing in sunny places
If you have the opportunity in terms of time and situation then cycling in a warmer climate in winter season might be the greatest way to do your cycling training. In Europe, countries like Spain or Spanish Islands offer excellent cycling routes and more pleasant winter weather.
Curious about great cycling routes in Spain? Read our "Places to Ride" edition by FFWD ambassador Marie Detouche and discover cycling mecca Girona.
4. Off road cycling
If you put most of your mileage on the road bike during the summer, off-road cycling on a mountain or gravel bike is a great way to keep you on the bike. It brings you into a different terrain, helps you improve your cycling skills, and by cycling in the woods you are more sheltered so you are less affected by the wind and cold.
5. Keep cycling on the road
An alternative method allows you to expand your cycling horizons, but of course you can also just keep riding the road bike all year round. Even in winter you can ride your road bike on the paved road, but here we do advise you to prepare well. Both your bike and yourself have to deal with different conditions and without preparation you are likely to encounter unpleasant surprises.
Tips for road cycling in the winter season
Make equipment changes
Dirty, wet and cold weather creates different road conditions. Splashing water and slippery road surfaces make your ride uncomfortable and unsafe. Adjusting your equipment, such as wider tires and mounting fenders, can help you get more comfortable and safe on the road. You can also consider to prepare a specific winter bike or extra set of wheels to adapt your current road bike to winter conditions.
Provide warm cycling wear
Investing in good and warm cycling clothing and accessories is not an unnecessary luxury when you get on your bike in winter. Keeping yourself properly warm will make a world of difference in comfort and performance. In addition to a warm jacket and long cycling pants, good gloves and overshoes are certainly something we recommend.
Think about good and sufficient nutrition
In addition to your clothing and equipment, it is important to keep eating and drinking well during your rides. Because your body uses more energy to stay warm you also need more nutrition. Getting a hunger pang is never fun, but with temperatures around freezing the chances of getting sick from it are high.
Create the right mindset
For many cyclists it is sometimes difficult to always stay motivated in winter. Besides proper preparation the right mindset definitely helps you enjoy getting on your bike and keep loving your workouts. Find ways to make your ride fun. For example by finding different surroundings, varying the routes you ride or joining a cycling group.
Winterizing on the bike may seem challenging, especially if you don't have much experience. But with the right preparation and a flexible mindset it can certainly be an enjoyable experience. Whichever alternative you choose, whether you opt for indoor cycling, track cycling, a bike trip to a sunny place or varied off-road adventures, there are plenty of options to keep your cycling form up to par and continue to enjoy the fun of cycling in winter.
Cycling is a beautiful sport that, like nature, has her seasons. With the alternatives and tips in this blog winter can become a season for cyclists to improve your skills, maintain your fitness level and even discover new cycling opportunities. So stay warm, stay safe and most importantly: keep cycling!