As the summer sun bows its head and the frosty winter nights emerge, there’s no escaping from the inevitable fact – winter is coming. For many of us it’s a season to forget, one we struggle to get out and adventure in. But what if there were ways to beat winter and still enjoy riding despite the below-freezing temperatures? Here is our guide to some of the best winter accessories on offer here at the Bike Factory.
Layering is key
Staying warm is paramount when out on a long winter’s ride and the best way to stay toasty and comfortable is to ensure you’re well layered. Here’s a top tip to get us started: multiple light layers do a much better job than a single, thick fleecy layer. By trapping air between each piece of clothing, you create pockets of warmth that will keep your body moving – plus, you can always remove one should the weather take a turn for the better.
A full set of winter clothing may seem like a daunting investment, but trust us, you’ll be glad when the rains start to fall and the temperatures plummet. A thermal baselayer is the perfect start, then a long-sleeved jersey before a waterproof jacket to top it all off.
You’ll also want to keep your extremities covered too, as your hands and feet are often the first parts of your body to succumb to the cold. Avoid that numb tingly feeling and grab a pair of winter-specific gloves, as well as a pair of thick, waterproof overshoes – no one likes damp, cold feet.
As the days get shorter and the nights longer, you’re likely at some point to find yourself riding while surrounded by darkness. If you’re riding in the city, you’ll want the traffic to see you and the best way to do that is to grab a pair of blinking lights, one for the rear and one for the front.
If you’re cruising along country lanes, you rarely have the aid of street lights to illuminate your path, so you’ll need something with a little extra oomph in the lumens department. A lighthouse beacon may be a little too large, but there are some front lights out there that produce a similar kind of beam, visible from miles away and lighting the road before you.
NB: there are rules and regulations regarding bike lighting in the UK which are worth familiarising yourself with. For a palatable summary, BikeRadar have got you covered.
Winter not only brings the rains and freezing temperatures, but also terrible road conditions and potholes-a-plenty. Mudguards are one of the cheapest and most effective methods for staving off any amount of road spray and other muck thrown up as you speed along the road.
Punctures are the bane of any cyclist’s life, but during winter they’re particularly annoying, often forcing us to spend far too much time freezing on the roadside, unable to get a grip on frozen tyres. A repair kit is essential, but a pair of sturdy, puncture-resistant tyres certainly wouldn’t go amiss either – particularly those with a lot of grippy tread for dealing with the inevitable black ice.
Essential winter maintenance
Keeping on top of maintaining your bike is important no matter the weather, but it’s particularly crucial during winter as the driving rain and road-thrown muck can play havoc on the delicate moving parts of your bike.
None of us want to spend hours fixing a rusty, mud-covered racer as the spring approaches, so it’s best to clean and lube your bike after every single ride. Investing in a good work stand will not only make maintenance a breeze, but it’ll also make you feel like a pro-team mechanic – who wouldn’t want that job?
If maintenance starts to drive you mad, or there’s a niggling issue that you or your tools just cannot fix, we encourage you to come into the store and see the expert mechanics we have on hand. Our workshop services are split into three plans, covering all the small to major maintenance needs you may have.
Do you think you’re now ready for the approaching winter season? Then wrap up warm and get out there – the road awaits.