Top Tips for UK Autumn/Winter

PerformingMonkey
PerformingMonkey Posts: 218
edited September 2013 in Road general
Well it seems that summer is well and truly over in the UK if the papers and the footage from the tour are anything to go by.

Apart from calls of "MTFU" what are everyone's top tips for riding over the next few months. Personally I'll be looking to maintain the training momentum begun over the spring and summer, hopefully coming out the other side tougher than last year.
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Comments

  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    Plan on getting out when I can but have no intention of smashing myself up riding in ice/snow etc.

    Gonna stick some guards on my Croix de Fer, the plastic bike is going on the turbo, and I will be signing back up for trainerroad...
  • dsoutar
    dsoutar Posts: 1,746
    My tuppence worth:

    1. Make sure you have all the right gear for the weather (overshoes / good quality waterproof jacket / decent jerseys and base layers / arm and leg-warmers) so less excuses when weather is pants

    2. Alternatively buy rollers / turbo

    3. Arrange rides with at least +1 person in advance so less opportunity to bottle out
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Focus on shorter, harder stuff. Hill repeats etc. are good and can be squeezed into a weather window more easily.

    Doing big miles over winter, in the cold and dark, is hard and, often, miserable, even with mates.

    Clothing equipment is important to get right. To some extents, it is dependant on whether you feel the cold or not. I do (skinny little sub-60 kg runt), so tend to be wearing more than many. Layers that can adapt quickly.

    Ice and snow isn't worth it. I've taken too many risks and got lucky so far, I've many friends who've broken collarbones and worse over the winter and the knock on into spring is quite significant. It can take until much later in the day than you'd think for ice to melt and it's easy to meet a patch of it in a shaded spot.

    I get at least one 200km ride in every month (have done so for the last 35 months now) - but that does take some gambling - especially with snow and ice.
  • I've already requested one of these from my wife for Christmas:

    http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/ ... r-12-42691
  • mpatts
    mpatts Posts: 1,010
    There are some beautiful days to come, when its crisp and cold and sunny, with blissfull empty sunday morning roads. Make the most of them I think!

    Also, it's good to sample extremes - I love riding in the horrible weather, so long as I've got the right clothes on. Keep your feet warm!
    Insert bike here:
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    To be honest, I'm quite looking forward to it. Clear nights with the stars out and freezing my toes off.

    Must have stuff is a decent rain jacket. Over shoes and winter gloves. Arm warmers and leg warmers come in handy for when you just can't tell how cold its going to be. Sometimes it seems likes its freezing, a couple of miles into the ride and you soon warm up. Other times its the opposite.

    My main issue last winter was my water bottle freezing up. Apparently turning it upside down will help, but never got the chance to try it.

    One other thing, don't just think of yourself when the weather is terrible, think about other road users. If visibility is zero because of horrendous rain or snow, or slippery roads from ice then theres a higher risk of getting hit by a car. Sometimes it pays to stay in and do some core work, or maybe even go for a jog. But rarely
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,540
    I can't wait for the clocks and seasons to change. I got soaked on 2 of my 3 commutes home last week and for some reason I really enjoy those conditions. It may be the feeling that I'm out riding when most others aren't. It's the beauty of commuting as if I were sat at home in that weather I'd never drag myself out. I don't enjoy getting soaked on my ride in though, especially at the moment as the radiators aren't on at work to dry my kit for the return. The other big benefit is that it will hopefully get rid of some of the other cyclists I've come across recently who have been a bigger danger to my safety than the traffic.

    As for tips it's all been pretty much covered - the best mudguards you can get to fit your bike, a good set of lights (at least two at each end and the more the better with them being suited to your riding environment so not 1200 lumens in the city center or 100 lumens on unlit country lanes) and good quality winter clothing, preferably with reflective panels and stripes. Good quality overshoes and gloves are a must and make sure the gloves are reasonably snug so you can still operate the bike fairly easily. Keep intensity levels down on the coldest days and try to avoid overheating on long climbs if you then have a long, cold descent ahead of you. Watch out for wet patches on the road on cold days, they may well be black ice.

    Remember that you want to be warm and comfortable but if you are warm when starting out you are likely to get too warm after riding for a while. I see people bundled up as if going on an artic expedition (likewise I see people who think that they have to wear shorts if they are on a bike no matter how cold it is). I tend to start off so that I feel a bit colder than comfortable as I know that after 10 minutes I'll be just right.
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Mudguards.
    Lights - even in daylight when its murky.
    Overshoes.
    Gloves - or Mittens if you can still change gear in them.
    Bandanas/Buffs - versatile and with one on your head and one round your neck - they'll keep you toasty.
    Dont bother riding outside if there's ice.
  • apart from needing help get some over trousers for my commute im all good to go,

    but yes main thing to remember don't bother doing a night shift commute if ice is forecast..
    Specialized S Works SL2 . Campagnolo Record 11spd. rolling on Campag Zonda wheels

    http://app.strava.com/athletes/881211
  • bigpikle
    bigpikle Posts: 1,690
    1. mudguards with proper BIG flaps (especially on the front) make all the difference in keeping you and the machine free of muck. I find its best to make you're own as none of the manufacturer ones are not really long enough.

    2. get good kit for the conditions - it adds up but when it comes to bad weather its usually true that cheapo kit just doesnt cut it (some exceptions of course) and if you are getting cold, wet and miserable you wont be out riding much. You need a few good bits if you plan to ride a few times a week, unless you can constantly be washing it all in order to have it ready and dry for the next ride

    3. join a club or get a regular group going to keep each other motivated

    4. get your turbo/rollers set up in advance with all your kit laid out etc so you can come home, quickly get changed and just jump on for a good hour with Trainer Road to keep you focused

    5. make sure you have more puncture resistant tyres on - light weight summer stuff will likely have you stuck changing tubes constantly and they always go when its the coldest, wettest and most miserable...
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • jaxf
    jaxf Posts: 109
    me - I'm going ski mountaineering as soon as 17th December comes ..... sod cycling in the frost and ice ..... see ya in May!
  • rodgers73
    rodgers73 Posts: 2,626
    Relish the misery and think about how completely wonderful the hot shower is at the end of the ride. Some days I've ended up laughing out loud at how terrible the conditions I'm riding in are.
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    likewise I see people who think that they have to wear shorts if they are on a bike no matter how cold it is

    This is me, I will not wear those tights thingys,just look too ridiculous. Rule 5.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • bigpikle
    bigpikle Posts: 1,690
    meursault wrote:
    likewise I see people who think that they have to wear shorts if they are on a bike no matter how cold it is

    This is me, I will not wear those tights thingys,just look too ridiculous. Rule 5.

    its not a question of how you look - your knees will suffer in continued cold weather due to the poor blood supply to the tissues in the joints. There is rule 5 and then there is sheer stupidity...and of course lycra shorts look so much cooler :roll:
    Your Past is Not Your Potential...
  • Stick to A & B roads when it's near freezing. And get an outdoor thermometer set up outside so you know what the actual temperature is.
  • MichaelW
    MichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Low sun alert.
    This should be a bi-annual automatic thread.
    There are times of the year when East-west commuters can find themselves riding into a low sun. This is esp dangerous on a wet road. Drivers coming up behind you are blinded by the sun and reflection off the road, esp if their windscreen is a bit dirty.
    There is very little that cyclists can do to alleviate the situation. Hi vis stuff and lights are of no value.
    Use your ears. Consider changing your commute time.
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    Bigpikle wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    likewise I see people who think that they have to wear shorts if they are on a bike no matter how cold it is

    This is me, I will not wear those tights thingys,just look too ridiculous. Rule 5.

    its not a question of how you look - your knees will suffer in continued cold weather due to the poor blood supply to the tissues in the joints. There is rule 5 and then there is sheer stupidity...and of course lycra shorts look so much cooler :roll:

    I hear ya, I think in my case I get away with it because of years of playing soccer in dreadful conditions. Honestly don't feel the cold on the legs. Hands and feet, now that is a different matter.
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • giant_man
    giant_man Posts: 6,878
    meursault wrote:
    likewise I see people who think that they have to wear shorts if they are on a bike no matter how cold it is

    This is me, I will not wear those tights thingys,just look too ridiculous. Rule 5.
    That is just too weird ...
  • rolf_f
    rolf_f Posts: 16,015
    MichaelW wrote:
    Low sun alert.
    This should be a bi-annual automatic thread.
    There are times of the year when East-west commuters can find themselves riding into a low sun. This is esp dangerous on a wet road. Drivers coming up behind you are blinded by the sun and reflection off the road, esp if their windscreen is a bit dirty.

    I tend to think the opposite is more risky. If you have the sun behind you, true, the drivers behind you will see you very clearly but for the most part, it isn't the drivers behind you that you should be worried about. Far more worrying are the drivers waiting to pull across your path. With the sun behind you, you might be able to see them very clearly but they can't see you.

    There is a lot to be said for tweaking commute times when the sky is clear so that this is less of an issue. Half an hour can make a big difference.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    1. mudguards

    2. high quality, durable lights

    3. windproof clothing (waterproof is a waste of time personally)

    4. 3/4 length or full bibs

    5. merino

    6. fixie/single speed (optional and terrain dependent)
  • rodgers73 wrote:
    Relish the misery and think about how completely wonderful the hot shower is at the end of the ride. Some days I've ended up laughing out loud at how terrible the conditions I'm riding in are.

    Me too - I've been riding along shouting and swearing at the weather and shaking my head whilst laughing at myself. I often worry just what people passing in their cars with the heaters on full must be thinking when they see me.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    Schoie81 wrote:
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Relish the misery and think about how completely wonderful the hot shower is at the end of the ride. Some days I've ended up laughing out loud at how terrible the conditions I'm riding in are.

    Me too - I've been riding along shouting and swearing at the weather and shaking my head whilst laughing at myself. I often worry just what people passing in their cars with the heaters on full must be thinking when they see me.

    I've had some strange looks when they see my smacking my frozen water bottle on my handle bars in determination for a cold drink, but I shall not be beaten :twisted:
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • Rinse your bike down thoroughly after every ride.
  • meursault
    meursault Posts: 1,433
    giant man wrote:
    meursault wrote:
    likewise I see people who think that they have to wear shorts if they are on a bike no matter how cold it is

    This is me, I will not wear those tights thingys,just look too ridiculous. Rule 5.
    That is just too weird ...

    This is you

    IMG_20101109_141208.jpg
    Superstition sets the whole world in flames; philosophy quenches them.

    Voltaire
  • jotko
    jotko Posts: 457
    Today I did my 26 mile commute in winter tights and even broke out the overshoes - I was toasty!
  • hatch87 wrote:
    Schoie81 wrote:
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Relish the misery and think about how completely wonderful the hot shower is at the end of the ride. Some days I've ended up laughing out loud at how terrible the conditions I'm riding in are.

    Me too - I've been riding along shouting and swearing at the weather and shaking my head whilst laughing at myself. I often worry just what people passing in their cars with the heaters on full must be thinking when they see me.

    I've had some strange looks when they see my smacking my frozen water bottle on my handle bars in determination for a cold drink, but I shall not be beaten :twisted:

    But you would use hot water in your bottle in the winter.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • awavey
    awavey Posts: 2,368
    Rolf F wrote:
    MichaelW wrote:
    Low sun alert.
    This should be a bi-annual automatic thread.
    There are times of the year when East-west commuters can find themselves riding into a low sun. This is esp dangerous on a wet road. Drivers coming up behind you are blinded by the sun and reflection off the road, esp if their windscreen is a bit dirty.

    I tend to think the opposite is more risky. If you have the sun behind you, true, the drivers behind you will see you very clearly but for the most part, it isn't the drivers behind you that you should be worried about. Far more worrying are the drivers waiting to pull across your path. With the sun behind you, you might be able to see them very clearly but they can't see you.

    I know what your saying but you can at least be more wary of that happening because of the conditions, whereas I was finding heading into the sun last week at least,it was bad enough thinking any minute now some car driver could just drive straight into the back of me unsighted as Im just not going to that visible in front of them whatever I wear or what lights I have flashing away, but I was struggling to see where I was going as well, could have done with a mountain bike helmet with a peak rather than a roadie one, its not cold enough yet to be wearing cycling hats under the helmet yet.

    as for top tips, decent gloves make a world of difference and overshoes definately getting me some of them this year as my feet were frozen last year and got absolutely soaked when it rained, its not just the rain coming down that gets them, but the water of the road, the wheels & cars they just get absolutely soaked, so a nice rain proof top that isnt boil in the bag as well is a good idea as well. anything else is up to you, wear what makes you feel comfortable for the conditions, dont worry about feeling self concious, it will be mostly dark anyway and no-one will see you :wink:
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    hatch87 wrote:
    Schoie81 wrote:
    rodgers73 wrote:
    Relish the misery and think about how completely wonderful the hot shower is at the end of the ride. Some days I've ended up laughing out loud at how terrible the conditions I'm riding in are.

    Me too - I've been riding along shouting and swearing at the weather and shaking my head whilst laughing at myself. I often worry just what people passing in their cars with the heaters on full must be thinking when they see me.

    I've had some strange looks when they see my smacking my frozen water bottle on my handle bars in determination for a cold drink, but I shall not be beaten :twisted:

    But you would use hot water in your bottle in the winter.

    Doesn't work, the steam rises to the mouth piece which quickly cools and freezes in the wind. Well at least for me it did. Might get a double insulated bottle this year which might work better, or keep it in the jersey pocket upside down to keep it out the wind and warm water towards the mouth piece.
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • kieranb
    kieranb Posts: 1,674
    take up running for the winter, well I did and now probably go running more than cycling! I do love running in the dark and rain though, splashing along the badly drained roads completely soaked through wearing just shorts and running top (I tried leggings and tracksuit etc but found when warmed up after a few minutes that I was too warm).
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    kieranb wrote:
    take up running for the winter, well I did and now probably go running more than cycling! I do love running in the dark and rain though, splashing along the badly drained roads completely soaked through wearing just shorts and running top (I tried leggings and tracksuit etc but found when warmed up after a few minutes that I was too warm).

    I have thought about doing dualathlon training or something just to mix it up a bit. Half hour run followed by a half hour ride.
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!