Riding in Cold Weather
It is September and the cold air is coming in quickly. We will have a little excellent riding before it turns nice and cold. Do you plan to train in-doors all winter or will you be getting in some great winter riding time?
Riding in the winter time doesn’t have to be just for the hard core rider. With a little preparation you too can enjoy riding in the winter and even come to look forward to it.
Checking the weather forecast at least two hours before getting dressed for the ride is a good habit to get into as the weather can change from the forecast the night before. I find that I get the best information from the “feels like” portion of the forecast. This takes into account the wind chill and humidity and tells you what the weather will feel like and that is what matters to me.
How should you dress for the ride?
The most common dressing mistake that first time winter riders make is overdressing. Overdressing can lead to overheating as well as dehydration from excessive sweating. The best rule of thumb is to dress a little on the cold side and as you warm up you will break even. It usually takes about ten minutes of steady riding to reach your upper temperature.
Layering is a good technique that will help you to stay warm on those cold rides. This is the process of trapping insulating air in between layers of clothing thus trapping the heat in. You should try to use clothing that’s designed for cyclist that uses a wicking system that moves moisture from your skin upward. This will keep you from getting soggy wet underneath and thus getting cold on your core. Then on the outside I prefer to use a nylon windbreaker that will block the wind form coming through. Blocking the wind is at least half of the battle as the wind chill factor definitely comes into play when cycling in the winter.
Lastly you will want to determine whether you need to protect your head from the cold. There are many different hoods that can be worn underneath your helmet that will not only keep your head warm but some have flaps on them to keep your ears warm as well. I prefer to only wear ear protectors when I can get away with it to help keep me from overheating as I tend to run a little hotter than some people but that is where you have to learn yourself and your preferences.
As you can see there is no reason to miss out on riding just because it gets a little cold. There are many products that when used properly can make riding in the winter even more enjoyable than trying to ride in the summer’s 100 degree weather. So this year don’t let the cold keep you in. Get out there and spin those wheels.
That’s all for now. See you on the road.