By Sam Whalley
Cycling is a fantastic hobby that can enrich your life in many ways, but it is also one that can be challenging to enjoy during winter. The cold temperatures, rain, wind and shorter days can make cycling not only challenging but even dangerous, but you do not have to pack your bike away during winter when you know how to manage.
To combat the cold temperatures in winter, you will want to layer up. It is worth investing in high-quality base layers made of merino with breathable micro-fleece and then have mid layers and windproof shell jackets. You should try to avoid cotton as this can get hot once you get your heart rate up and it will also absorb rain, snow and sweat. Moisture is one of the main reasons why you will get cold, so you want to make sure that you have breathable and waterproof clothing.
Slow it Down
During the winter months, it is better to work on your endurance and stamina as opposed to speed. You do not want to be cycling too fast in winter, especially when the conditions are wet and slippery. Therefore, it is a good idea to slow down and focus on distance as opposed to speed. You should find that you warm up relatively quickly when cycling even in the middle of winter and it can then be a nice experience travelling at a leisurely pace.
Find Suitable Cycling Locations
Following this, you should also think about your cycling locations. You will want to find long, winding roads without too many challenges along the way so that you can build endurance and ride safely. The West Country Way starting in Bristol and ending in Bude is perfect for winter because it is long but relatively straightforward and will show you incredible natural beauty in this part of England. There are also lots of great places to visit along the way, including Wells, Glastonbury and Barnstaple. The 140-mile trip should take 3 or 4 days, so you will want to book into accommodation in advance. You can also book your train tickets to Bristol online so that you have one less thing to do on the day that you travel.
Just because it is colder and wetter does not mean that you have to stop cycling during the winter months. In fact, winter can actually be a lovely time to cycle in the UK provided that the conditions are not dangerous, and the above advice should help you to make the most out of the colder months. Once spring rolls around, you will have kept your fitness and confidence up and will be able to really make the most out of the warmer months of the year.
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