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Tips for cycling through winter

Updated: Dec 19, 2022



Cycle Sisters continues our rides throughout the year come rain or shine! You may have heard the mantra "winter miles = summer smiles", a reminder that the benefits of pedalling through winter will help with your fitness for all your summer adventures. But how do you

get up and out on the bike in the cold, let alone smile through the winter miles?! How do

you motivate yourself to continue your commutes into work or get around by bike as much as you would during the warmer months?


It is not always easy, but here are some ideas and tips to hopefully make you

feel more motivated to keep cycling this winter:

Nature is ever-beautiful

The cold becomes a second thought on mornings when the view of beautiful frost-

sprayed glades of grass greet you on your ride. Use your time on the bike

against the beautiful backdrop of Allah’s awe-inspiring creation as a time for

reflection - remember to stay alert, don’t get too lost in your thoughts!


”Surely [in the creation of] the heavens and the earth are signs for the believers. And

in your own creation, and whatever living beings He dispersed, are signs for people

of sure faith. And [in] the alternation of the day and the night, the provision sent

down from the skies by Allah—reviving the earth after its death—and the shifting of

the winds, are signs for people of understanding." [Surah Al-Jathiyah, Chapter 45

Verses 3-5]


An energy booster

If you need anything to get you up and out, think of the refreshed feeling that comes

from a ride.

Pedal away the winter blues

Winter is a difficult season with short daylight hours and darker days. The

community spirit on group rides is warming, while solo-rides are equally mood-

boosting. We know it may take a lot of mental strength to push yourself to get out,

but we promise you will not regret it.


Keeping warm and safe while cycling


Clothing

In the words of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just

inappropriate clothing”. Layer up: think warm, sweat-wicking base layers with windproof jackets, insulated tights and warm socks and gloves. Don’t forget to pack your waterproofs! You may warm up while riding, so layering up is key to ensure you can take off a layer to avoid overheating, while ensuring you are not cooling down to an uncomfortable degree.


Wear bright colours

As it gets darker, make sure you get brighter! Be the splash of hi-vis colour on these

dull winter days. Wearing the brighter-side of your wardrobe is also a great way to

have a lot of fun on a ride!


Remember your (charged) lights

Foggier weather might mean you will need your lights on even during the short

hours of daylight. Always carry your lights in case you are caught outside for longer

than you have planned.


Take it slower

Not every ride is a race, you may feel safer pedalling slower. Remember to stretch

and warm up before you leave for a ride so you are not trying to warm up on the

bike.


Keep away from slip risks, like drain covers

Make a conscious effort to keep away from the edge of the road. Cyclists have as

much right on and to the road as motorists. Build up confidence in being assertive

and taking up space on the road by cycling a big step away from the kerb (on wider

busier roads) and in the middle of the road (on narrower roads and those with

parked cars).


Stay social

It is tricky to stop and start again when cycling in the cold, but what is a ride without

that all important cafe stop? If you are keeping it social, remember to lock your bike

securely and try to find a seat indoors. Warm up with a hot drink before heading out

again.


Warmth in solitude

You may not always find a buddy to ride with or you may find yourself unable to join

social rides. Remember, when you are on your bike, you are never truly alone! Your

bike is your best friend.


Keep hydrated

You may not feel like drinking water that inevitably gets colder as you ride, but it is

important as ever to keep hydrated. You may want to pack a hot drink in a thermos

to keep warm while on the bike. Whatever you do, remember to keep sipping while

cycling.


Always check the weather and be realistic (it’s okay to opt out)

It is important to check the weather when planning your ride, and again before

heading out. Remember colder weathers can mean road surfaces are icy and not

safe to cycle on. Cycle when you feel comfortable to do so.



It is always harder with gloves, but if you happen to have touch screen gloves, don’t forget

to snap pictures on your winter wonderides - you may motivate someone else to head out

on their bike and make the most of winter riding.


Stay safe, stay seen, stay cycling!


By Atika Dawood



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