Bike Gallery's guide to becoming a 'winter riding legend'...×

On first impressions, the idea of an endless summer seems appealing. In a perfect world, the weather would remain warm and clear, with sunny skies year round. This is how I imagine the world of professional cyclists, jetting between Australia and Europe with a suitcase full of summer kit and t-shirts.

Sadly, this option is not available to the rest of us.

But riding in winter doesn’t have to be a chore. Some of our greatest riding experiences have been in the worst possible conditions. Although doona-land has its maximum appeal at 6am in July, dragging yourself out of bed can be very rewarding. Not only because you can lay the foundations for a Strava KOM assault in Spring, but you can also enjoy the immense satisfaction of knowing that you are a winter riding legend, and tougher than 99% of Melbourne’s cyclists.

(Riding in winter makes you 200% harder!)

 

The winter riding legend’s enjoyment is undoubtedly maximised by following a few simple rules... Introducing BG’s ‘winter riding legend’ hit list:

 

First, ensure you have the right bike setup. You don’t need a backup-intermediate-wet-weather-holiday-training-bike for your winter riding, but appropriate tyre choice is essential. A 25mm tyre (slightly wider than the 23mm standard), run at a lower pressure will improve comfort, reduce the rolling resistance and improve handling.

Second, clothing is vital. Professionals dress like its winter throughout the year. Staying warm helps prevent sickness, and more importantly keeps the sponsor’s happy. The BG list of essentials includes:

  • A quality set of arm, leg and knee warmers – these are super convenient to strip off when the sun appears later during the ride;
  • A merino-wool base layer – the kiwi’s GDP depends on it;
  • Long-fingered gloves – unless your name is Bear Grills;
  • A headwarmer – this is especially important for podium appearances at the Bright pub;
  • Shoe covers or booties – these are also an excellent way to keep your shoes clean, and
  • A vest or gilet – unless you have a soigneur ready to hand you today’s copy of L’Equipe to stuff down your jersey at the top of each descent.
  • Quality lighting to ensure you are seen/or able to see when it is dark  - the more light the better;

Lastly, lube makes everything better. A ‘wet’ winter lube is slightly more viscous than normal chain lube. It is less prone to washing away in wet weather, thus it protects your drive chain from incursion by water and grit.

 Once you’ve got the right equipment and your bike has been prepped to tackle the winter elements, you’re almost sorted…  However, one ingredient remains, and without it you cannot become a ‘winter riding legend’… it’s called motivation!  Of course motivation comes from within, but a good soundtrack doesn’t hurt. A quick examination of BG staff ipods reveals the following songs on high rotation: “It’s Raining Men” – Geri Halliwell;  “Africa” – Toto; “What is love (Baby Don't Hurt Me)” - Haddaway


Now you have read the BG 'winter riding legend' guide, you have no excuses for sleeping in!