Tag Archives: winter

Winter riding update

I’m disappointed.

I’ve not really upped my riding from the usual Sunday morning to include early morning and nights. I want to but I seem to have barely enough time to get all the normal life things done. I feel like I’m putting on some weight as well but I guess winter can do that

Last Sundays ride was a proper winter outing though. Started off dry when I left home, started the tiniest bit of drizzle on the way to meet up. gradually got heavier as the ride went on. The trails were 7/10 on the muddy scale resulting in a couple of dabs through the woods where it got tricky. Pete lost his front wheel and ended up in a ditch. I was covered in mud, soaking wet and a bit cold.

The key to enjoying riding in the mud is to keep up your momentum. At one point I dropped behind Pete on a muddy section after I dabbed and riding at my normal pace wasn’t closing the gap. Dropping a couple of gears and spinning back up to my normal 95 cadence made a dramatic difference. The bike squirmed around with both front and rear sliding but keeping the speed up  and your vision well ahead means it soon recovers. Slight downhill sections become great fun as the bike slithers all over the place and rather than catching up on the path after the section feeling tired, I was on his wheel during the downhill and ended up grinning like a child.

Strava ride log

A great ride – the cold, wet, muddy ones tend to be.

Winter Riding

Winter is on its way, the nights are drawing in, there’s a bit of a chill some mornings and I’ve been contemplating riding in the wet and cold.

Some of my favourite rides have been in winter. A group weekend in Shropshire 2 years ago, riding the Long Mynd at -14°C, setting off on a ride in the pouring down rain and coming back covered in mud but having had an amazing time and heading to north Wales  to Ride Penmachno and the Marin trail a couple of time. All of these are group rides so there’s no bail out option. You make the commitment to ride so you do.

Riding on your own in winter is much harder so my midweek rides are mentally going to be tougher over the next few months. When the weather is nice it’s been easy to throw on some riding gear grab a bike and head out for an hour, knowing that I need very little while out and the bike needs nothing doing to it when I get home. In anticipation I’ve been thinking of options to keep riding so I thought I might as well write them down to see how I get on.

Option 1 – Arrange more rides

If I arrange to ride with other people I always turn up. Always. I’m never the one to bail out, no matter  what the weather, so, if I arrange to ride more then I should get out more. I’ve recently started riding with a local group who do a Thursday night MTB ride so I could go along to that, except that the one time I’ve been out with them was a minor disaster from my perspective. More riders mean more mechanicals, more punctures and more waiting around resulting in what should have been a 90 min ride and back home at a reasonable time took 3 hrs. I’d rushed home and gone out without eating properly so my dinner was cold and I was starving.
Riding with my regular riding mate is hard midweek due to work commitments, so I might have to see how this goes. I’ll give the group ride a couple more chances and report back.

Option 2 – Stay Indoors

Buy a turbo trainer/rollers. I’ve ridden a turbo many moons ago when I had a broken wrist and while it’s not the nicest way to train it means there’s no bike cleaning to be done. It involves more cost but there’s room in the garage and it means buying another bike-related gadget (which is a good thing). I’m liking the look of the Lemond Revolution as it means no tyre wear and it is very well made and gets cracking reviews. A decent trainer will mean I’ll be tempted to use it more often, stay/get fitter so everyone wins.

Option 3 – MTFU

MTFU. I should probably just do this, make the time, and just get out to ride. I need to make sure the Nomad washer is full and then clean the bike as soon as I get back. I’ve enough kit for several rides so I can get a full load for the machine and I enjoy riding on my own. Route-wise I’m lucky to have a canal on my doorstep so I have a puddle rather than mud option available. Our normal rides tend to get very muddy but it’s only 10 mins to clean it off.

I’m lucky enough to own a few bikes so I should always have a clean, working one and a family that think I’m mad to go out into the wet and cold to ride but are happy for me to do it.

I have a lot of essential winter riding kit – decent waterproof lights (a review to come), goretex jacket, leggings, waterproof boots, gloves etc so there really are no excuses.

Watch this space for ride reports…