Top Eight Things for Road Cyclists to do this Winter
For many cyclists in the Northern Hemisphere, its the end of the road cycling season. Here's our top eight tips to keep you motivated through till Spring!
1. Don't Let Bad Weather Stop You!
Weather is an excuse lots of cyclists use to skip training, stop or reduce riding during winter. There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. If you wear the right clothes and make modifications to your bike or riding there's no reason you can't get outside and cycle in most conditions.
It's Black Friday, so why not grab some bargins in the sales?
To stay warm layer up using a long sleeve base layer, long sleeve jacket and a gilet on top. Protect your best bits, your head, feet, hands and core are the most important parts. Water resistant, thermal booties, a winter cap under your helmet and winter gloves are a must when it's below freezing.
Take a small backpack on your rides. Put your money, phone, charger and a spare base layer, rain jacket and extra gloves and spares in it. If you have to stop for a puncture for some reason, then, immediately change over your base layer to keep your core warm, change your puncture and put on your spare gloves.
Hey Presto your back riding and still warm and not heading for home.
2. Explore Roads Less Travelled ...
As it gets darker, wetter, more leaves, hidden potholes and a chance of black ice, it stands to reason that going off road might be a good idea.
For seasoned roadies, it gives you a break from the norm at a different pace, time to explore, an opportunity to improve your technical skills and explore roads less travelled.
Why not try Mountain Biking, Cyclocross or a Gravel Fondo?
Satisfy that N+1 Rule and get a Gravel, MTB or CX specific bike, layer up and get out there and smash up some gravel roads and trails!
Before you know it, the road season will be back in full swing and all those new founded technical skills will come in very very handy.
3. Strip Down, Service and Clean Your Bikes
It's very easy to step of your bike after a hard ride and leave cleaning it to another day, esecially in winter.
Instead of letting the grime, salt and dirt destroy your pride and joy, try and clean it after every ride.
Wash your bike with a bucket, sponge and some warm water or a low pressure washer with some degreaser for the tougher areas like your drivetrain.
Don't aim a pressure washer directly at components like wheel bearings and bottom brackets, as it could blow the grease out and increase wear.
After washing, apply a rust-prevention solvent and water dispersent like WD-40 and lightly oil the chain and rear derailleur pulleys.
If you're not handy with a wrench, then take your bike to any good IBD or Velofix and have your bike serviced.
Your components will last longer and it can make the difference between getting stranded and getting home.
4. Get a Smart Trainer and Try Zwift
More and more cyclists are investing in Smart Trainers and trying Zwift, which can get very addictive and have a whole social side too.
If you like indoor training, then Zwift and Smart Trainers could add a whole new dimension to your cycling.
5. Plan an Early Season Fondo
Booking an early season winter training camp could help kick start your season. In North America you can head south, where the weather is better. Florida, Southern California and Arizona are a good bet.
Why not try the Ride for Hope Gran Fondo Eleuthera: March 10, 2018 in Governor’s Harbour, Bahamas. Ride for Hope’s Gran Fondo Eleuthera will take you on an excursion through Eleuthera Island, where you’ll pedal past turquoise, crystal clear waters, quaint settlements, and be taken on a journey that combines scenic riding, historical sites with little to no traffic.
The route, if riding over 50 miles will even lead you on a venture over the world famous glass window bridge. Throughout the weekend you can experience true freedom and island living as you wander the winding roads and explore off the beaten track trails leading you to seemingly untouched private beach escapes, hidden treasures, caves and lots of outdoor adventure.
The Ride for Hope Gran Fondo will take place Saturday, March 10, 2018. Enjoy a weekend of relaxing island life while making a true and meaningful impact for the Bahamas as a community.
Proceeds from all Ride for Hope participants’ fundraising efforts are donated towards the treatment and research of cancer in the Bahamas. Cyclists choose their own participation level, along with their own personal goal of how many miles they intend to ride (an out and back route of up to 100 miles).
Registration is open online at www.rideforhopebahamas.com Not able to physically be there on the day of the Ride but, want to participate in the true spirit of the fundraiser? Now there is an option to sign up as a virtual rider!
6. Try and Burn off Excess Body Fat this Winter
There's no better way to stay fit and lose weight than cycling, especially in the summer.
What you're really looking for, is fat loss rather than muscle mass. Less weight will mean faster climbing, less drag and general health benefits that less body fat will provide.
To do this in a healthy and sustainable way, requires a lifestyle shift of healthier eating and more exercise.
As a very general guide, you're better off working out an amount you'd like to lose or a target weight. The key here is to shift the weight and increase your fitness in a sustainable way.
For Gran Fondo's in the high mountains, it helps to be as lean as possbile, especially when you're tackling rides with 10,000+ feet (3,000 metres) of climbing.
7. Increase Your Long Distance Ride Time
Do you know how far you can ride in one go? Or over the course of several days back-to-back?
Long distance bike rides, whether you do it on a road bike, mountain bike, touring bike or your old but reliable commuter bike, can be transformative.
They're an opportunity to test your limits, see how far you can travel under your own steam, and can be a test of self sufficiency depending on how you go.
If your planning to ride longer distances, it also gives you opportunities to work on your nutritional intake. You'll need to eat and drink regularly on rides over 2 hours, as your body runs of glycogen.
In the winter months, it's not necessarily about how far you go, but how many hours you ride for.
In winter it can be more difficult to put in longer rides, but with the correct clothing, a well maintained bike, planned routes and some good friends, it's more than possible.
Remember: for cyclists stepping up from a Piccolo Fondo to a Medio Fondo or up to a Gran Fondo, endurance is a key part of your training.
8. Start Planning Next Season and don't Miss Out!
Remember that Bucket List of rides you have?
It might be time to start thinking what you’re going to ride next season. Browse our Gran Fondo, Gravel Fondo and Century, Tour and Leisure Rides calendars of confirmed 2018 events.
Some big events sell out well in advance, so don’t miss out!
Participating in a race or event on your Bucket List is perfect. There's no better way to kick your motivation by putting your money where your mouth is.
It will give you purpose, something to train for, a date to complete it by, and if you get some friends to sign up, training partners too.
Aiming for an event or race is a great motivator when it comes to staying on track.
Entering one or two of your main events early can often save you money with early bird savings and can be the difference in getting an entry too!
Here at Gran Fondo Guide, we are constantly confirming 2018 dates for thousands of events. Please visit back regularly!
2018 Cycling Events Calendar Links
2018 North American Gran Fondo's event calendar
2018 North American Century, Leisure and Tours event calendar
2018 North American Gravel Fondo event calendar
2018 European Gran Fondo Calendar
2018 European Gravel Fondo Calendar
2018 United Kingdom Gran Fondo and Sportive Calendar
2018 United Kingdom Gravel Fondo Calendar