Cycling in the winter can seem like a miserable prospect. But with these top equipment and clothing tips from three Kinesis ambassadors, you can enjoy riding outside through more of the year.
As autumn gives way to winter and the clocks go back, it can be a struggle for some riders to find an appealing window of time to get out on the bike. Bad weather can, to a large extent, be dealt with through careful clothing and equipment choices. Heading out in the pitch black for a post-work ride is also perfectly doable, but combine the two and extra willpower is going to be needed.
Jo Burt - Adventure rider
Jo Burt, aka VecchioJo, is a long-distance specialist. You probably know of this already as he writes about his adventures for us here at road.cc. With long, multi-day cycling trips being the norm for Jo, you’d expect him to be all about gritting your teeth and getting on with it, but that isn’t the case as his top tips are about to show…
Kinesis TripsterAT Frameset - Ultimate ride versatility from a go-anywhere gravel design that loves bigger volume tyres and finding the unridden pathway of adventure.
Challenge Getaway tyres - Fast-rolling and comfortable all-rounder 700 x 40mm handmade tyres that will still leave room for full guards in modern frames like the Tripster.
Lezyne Micro Drive 600XL front light - Boasting 600 lumens of power, the 600XL is the ideal combination of lightweight and power to help you see where you're going on fast, partially lit roads. If your riding is going to involve faster riding on until lanes, then we'd go for something a bit brighter, but for daytime visibility and lighting post-work urban rides, this is perfect.
> Review: Lezyne Micro Drive 600XL
Zecto Alert Drive rear - The Zecto Alert is a nifty rear bike light that emits a strong 80 lumen flash to help you be seen by other road users. The trick up its sleeve, however, is that under braking, the light will turn solid like a brake light and provide a distinct flash pattern once stopped to alert riders or vehicles behind.
Lezyne Tubeless Kit - With many of us rolling on tubeless tyres these days, having a repair kit that will allow you to fix larger holes is going to get you out of trouble one day.
Yes, tubeless tyres are sold as the path to a puncture-free life but sealant is only so good and large holes need to be filled with a plug to allow the sealant to do its job.
That's what Jo is riding, but how about his top tips? He's covered a staggering number of miles over the years and all of that time in the saddle has certainly given him plenty of time to think about
5 Top Tips
- Plan your ride with a friend, it will motivate you to get out and not leave them waiting.
- Realise that sometimes you don’t have to go out for a ride. Consider mending and preparing bikes as good time spent, so fewer reasons not to go out next time.
- Always pack a lightweight waterproof jacket so it's easy to pop on from your back pocket. The time you leave it at home is bound to be the time you needed it most.
- Mix up the type of riding so you don't get bored. Gravel bikes and wider tyres are great for this.
- A Buff will keep your neck or head warm if it turns nasty and is like an extra layer of clothing.
A key take away from Jo is the point about not venturing out if you simply don't feel like it. Sometimes the weather is truly abysmal, so if there is too much standing water on the roads, dangerous winds howling across the road or you just don't feel like riding, then don't be afraid to do something different.
Running is slow and painful in our experience, but it is a good way to pack in a workout into a short space of time. Or as Jo says, spending time fixing your gears or that annoying rattle is a great way to ensure that your next ride is as enjoyable as possible.
Briony Fisher / Yoga Instructor
Briony Fisher has the mobility and core strength that most of us cyclists can only dream of. Her use of the bike is all about getting out for fresh air, reducing her use of the car and generally incorporating it into her everyday life. That daily use means that, especially in the UK, she’s going to run into some fairly changeable weather. She finds that cycling-specific casual clothing is ideal for seamlessly switching between on-bike and off-bike activities.
Kinesis LYFE ebike - A comfortable, lightweight e-bike for city, street and light gravel duties, the Kinesis LYFE eBike utilises an Ebikemotion X35 rear hub motor which gives things a firm push in the right direction.
What you're getting here, according to eBikeTips' review, "is a really nicely made, British-designed e-bike that has quality components, enough range for a day out in the city, and which can handle a little bit more too if you need it to."
>Review: Kinesis Lyfe ebike
Nutcase Helmet - The Vio Commute helmet offers top protection, great urban looks and gets you noticed with integrated, rechargeable built-in LEDs front, side and rear.
5 Top Tips
- Use yoga and stretching to improve your strength and conditioning, particularly in winter when you may be riding less. This will help you make the most of your rides and keep you positive about your body.
- Training your mind and your body at the same time will help you enjoy riding the bike for longer.
- Be happy just nipping out for a gentle ride in normal clothes at first, especially if tanking an e-bike. It's more important to just get out there and make a habit of enjoying the bike than to focus too much on the kit at first.
- Once you start doing longer rides then treat yourself to some of the great new casual cycling kit available that you can feel comfortable wearing. This will help motivate you to use the bike for more journeys.
- Look for regular ways to use the bike, like popping to the shops rather than resorting to the car.
> We have a whole series on yoga for cyclists which you can work through at home.
Switching out some of your bike rides for core stability work is going to massively benefit most cyclists, especially if you also have a desk-bound job. Yoga has long been used by the pros to ensure that over-worked hip flexors and short hamstrings are stretched out and any increase in your core stability will really benefit you when you start climbing.
Rupert Robinson - Super Commuter
For Rupert Robinson, getting ready for the ride to work needs to be an automated process, just as it would be for someone taking the car or using public transport. He has found some key pieces of kit that he can rely on and has several routes to choose from depending on the weather and the time that he has available before and after work.
Kinesis GTD Titanium Frameset - This titanium road frameset has been designed for long-distance comfort in mind, relying not just on the excellent properties of titanium for that smooth ride, but also by providing clearance for 30mm tyres plus guards.
> Review: Kinesis GTD v2 Frameset
We've reviewed the GTD on the site before and it came away with an excellent score of 9/10. Stu thought it was beautiful to look at and even better to ride, saying that it "feels light and responsive for those blasts in the sun, but if you want to go long, it's very comfortable."
Fend-Off Mudguards - These are full-length, sturdy mudguards that just work. They provide excellent coverage on their own but ideally, you'd use them with flaps to keep feet and other riders behind dry.
> Review: Kinesis Fend-Off Guards
Challenge Strada Bianca 700x30c - If you're looking for supple, fast and grippy tyres that boast decent puncture protection too, the Strada Bianca is a great option.
Originally designed for the chalky gravel roads of Tuscany, many riders over here have seen the plush ride that they offer and the speed that the chevron tread allows and rightly pointed them towards commuting duties. Oh, and they look beautiful too.
Lezyne Tool Caddy - How often do you actually need to get at your bike tools when out riding? Hopefully it isn't more than once a month and some riders can go for an entire year without having a mishap. If you want to carry all of your spares and tools with you on the bike, a tool caddy is a really useful accessory.
DexShell Gloves - When it comes to gloves that will get you through the winter, options are your friend. Having a pair that is waterproof and then some different thickness options for the vast range of temperatures we get through the winter months means that you'll always be covered. Go for the Ultralite for Autumn conditions and then switch to the Ultra Weather for winter's worst.
DexShell Socks/Overshoes - As with your hands, feet don't actually do much when you're riding. They're also out on their own at the ends of limbs. That means that they can get cold quite easily, so again, options are the way to go. Waterproof socks will keep your feet warmer all ride and they are especially nice to have on off-road rides where you'll undoubtedly be going through a few streams.
The overshoes will keep your feet clean and preserve your cycling shoes and generally, these are favoured by road riders as we do like to keep our shoes clean. Easier to wash and dry out than shoes, overshoes can be popped in the washing machine along with your other cycling kit, just remember to do up the zips and close any velcro fasteners.
5 Top Tips
- Get everything ready the night before your commute so you can just get up and go.
- Make the commute by bike a routine. Leave the house at a set time without fail.
- Invest in good lights that with plenty more burn time than the commute both ways so you only have to charge them once a day.
- Have two or three routes for your commute so you can vary the ride particularly avoiding the worst of the wind. Also keeps it interesting.
- Leave enough time to cater for anything that might slow you down like traffic, a headwind or a puncture. The less pressured you feel on the ride the more you will enjoy it.
Daily commuting on the same old roads can get really boring. If you can mix things up with some new loops, a bit of off-road riding or simply by taking in a few bits of car-free infrastructure, the mental drag of the daily trip to your workplace can be alleviated a little.
What are your top winter riding tips? Let us know in the comments below
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