The Christmas Day weather forecast high in the Rocky Mountains at Gran Fondo Daily News World Headquarters looks a bit challenging for a die-hard roadie looking to sneak in a spin before the afternoon family feast. With 15cm of fresh snow and -4C wind-chill expected I’ll be following these 8 tried-and-true Winter Riding Tips.
Cheers, and hope you get out and enjoy a ride too!
1. LAYER UP. “More is better” when layering clothing, so try to look like Bibendum – The Michelin Man. Remember that speed is of the essence when adding layers, do it quick and get outside else you overheat. Since I own lots of vintage cycling clothing from “back in the day,” I wear wool jerseys, wool shorts, ski gloves, silk undershirts, wool tights, neoprene booties and a balaclava to keep my head toasty.
2. ALWAYS WEAR SUNSCREEN. After a long winter ride without sunscreen your face will look like a raccoon or an Olympic alpine Super G skier. So even in winter, always wear sunscreen – trust me.
3. ENJOY THE SIGHTS. Winter is a beautiful time of year to relax, ride and enjoy the view. Maybe even find time to take a few pictures.
4. SLOW DOWN. Some cyclists ride hard all winter. They usually burn-out and mysteriously disappear from group rides before gran fondo season starts in early Spring. Just ride a steady tempo to generate enough heat to stay warm.
5. LEARN TO SUFFER. Only hardcore cycling addicts ride in Winter. A few years ago on a New Year’s Day I rode with another addict, Matt Seagrave, former Pro and Belgian hard-man. For three hours we rode side-by-side six inches apart in 30km/hr wind on ice covered roads while frozen spittle stuck to our lips. It was epic fun. After that, climbing Mont Ventoux and Alp d’Huez is easy – mostly.
6. REWARD YOURSELF. Stopping for a hot cappuccino mid-ride, enjoying homemade tortilla soup back home and having a glass of wine in front of a warm fire are my post-ride perks. Make sure you have some too.
7. AMAZE NON-BELIEVERS. Over the years, I’ve given up trying to explain to people what I do on the bike. They can’t handle the truth. It’s easier to say “I worked out today” and let them be amazed with that simple truth, rather than telling them I spent New Year’s Day riding in -1C temperature in snow for 4 hours just for fun.
8. THAT WONDERFUL FEELING. Whether riding solo or with a group, cycling in winter provides us with a wonderful sense of accomplishment while preparing us to crush whatever epic rides are on our bucket list next season.
Time to ride, the snowflakes are calling…