Ahhhh its that time of year again.. The time when the trees are bare, the time when driving gets a bit dodgy because the sun sits in that awkward low position for most of the day. The time when you never have enough windscreen wash in your jet things. The time when you physically have to peel yourself off the sofa and get your ass to the gym when the only thing you want to do in the evening is veg out in your pjs with a glass of wine (cough, Sherry). Basically that time of year when England turns into a very gloomy place. Or it does for me anyway.
Theres an up side as well though… Hallelujah! You know those rare bluebird days when theres been a frost and the air is crisp? Those are my favourite days in the English winter. Unless it snows… I love snow.
Those crisp days are the best ones to ride on, theres just something slightly magical about them, even if they are bloody freezing. However, they don’t come about to often, so you just have to suck it up and ride in the miserable grey windy, drizzly weather this beautiful little island attracts.
So, how do we survive riding throughout the winter….?
- Go abroad. Get on a plane and go ride somewhere hotter than here, preferably for the season and you’ll come back all tanned and smug because you’ve got a whole new bag of tricks.
- If you’re going to ride in the UK, get a decent wettie. Don’t prat around with some useless piece of rubbish neoprene. Invest. I’m in the new Mystic Diva 5.3mm and its toastie warm.
- If you’re rocking the open toe, get some socks. Otherwise get your hands on some Systems because you’re basically walking around in a snug snowboard style boot – toastie tootsies!
- Gloves. Its a coin toss really. Do you want frostbite or do you want that unavoidable forearm ache that you only get with gloves. I go for the arm ache personally. Saves my manicure.
- Maintenance. If you’re landing new tricks in the winter in the UK – give yourself a huge pat on the back. Otherwise, just maintain what you can already do so that you come into the next season ready to go.
- Keep active. You can’t sit around doing nothing all winter and then expect to be able to shred your tits off come April. Keep those muscles active and work out in other ways, whether it be gym work, cycling, running, yoga… just keep moving.
- Take your mates. Theres no fun in riding alone in the winter. Fact. And if theres people with you, you’re more likely to actually ride rather than sit in the cafe with a cuppa.
- Flask. Invest in a flask and fill it to the brim with hot tea / coffee / hot choc… you’ll be grateful post ride.
- Leave time for a shower afterwards – to warm up obvs.
- If theres no shower, take a sleeping bag and drive home wearing it. Jokes. Take thermals, sweats, mountain attire; anything to keep you warm until you get home.
- Fun is the word. Just be grateful you’re able to get out there and ride.