Cycling During Winter Months

Would You Ride This?

Question… How do you do it?  How do you stay motivated to ride (indoors or outdoors) during the winter months?  I’ve got a charity ride planned in the morning to benefit Toys For Tots, but the forecast is for freezing temperatures and snow/precipitation.   How do you wrap your mind around stupid-cold, crappy weather?

I remember back to 2003.  A group of Canadian cyclists made their way down south for the early spring to conduct a training camp in Clemson, SC, where I was living/working at the time.  They came in the shop, hung out, bought some parts and accessories over those few weeks, and developed a relationship with myself and the other guys at the shop that lasted quite a few years.  They continued to visit in following years, and we kept in touch via e-mail frequently.

In one of those e-mails, Don (the “leader of the pack”) sent me a picture of a group of cyclists from the club from the Great White North.  They were running a pretty solid paceline down a road, in what looked like blizzard-type conditions.  I quit complaining about cold weather at that point.

So what’s your solution for riding in the cold?  Is there a particular “dress code” that you abide by?  Do you use embrocation in conjunction with your attire?  Is there a certain temperature at which you say, “that’s just too cold?”  Please leave your feedback below.  Thanks.

6 Comments

  1. As they say, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothes”. The body can take the cold better than the mind. Living in NYC, I’ve found that I can ride as much as I want in the 20’s, but if it gets into the teens I can only take an hour or so. I have friends in Northern CA who complain at anything under 50 deg. I think you adapt to your environment. I think once you figure out the right clothing combination for all your local conditions you can ride in anything.

  2. 1. Once you are hooked in to cycling – you’re hooked – no matter the temperature.
    2. Having said that, you know how easy it is to get out of shape – for me it will only take 2 or 3 weeks and having the holidays in the middle just makes this worst; so you really want to keep riding the mot you can either indoors or outdoors.
    3. Riding in cold weather first just need to keep your toes and ears warm – I have toe covers and shoe covers and use them both at the same time if it is too cold & windy (35F and down)- you will never regret that. Once you have that cover you will need leg warmers and a good and warm winter riding jacket (those new carbon jackets are amaizing);on the past few days I have notice you also need a face mask – I haven’t used it yet but I am sure it will really make a difference on temps below 40. – I have to insist toes and ears are the most important parts of your body to cover.
    4.. Training indoors could become fun and challenging with a couple of good training dvd’s, you could really get a good workout in 45min of intense intervals.

  3. Actually, I don’t mind training indoors. I do prefer to do club rides, but when it’s competition time (like last season), I found out that I didn’t have time. I was either racing, recovering, or isolating a training peak.

    It gets cold here in eastern Washington. I started base miles on my stationary trainer right after race season was over (September). I rent a couple good DVD movies, select my training metrics, turn on the player, hop on the bike, and tune everything else out for a couple hours.

    Everyone is different…you got to use what works for you.

    -EricRacesBikes

  4. I just got a cross bike and new Sugoi winter jacket and shoe covers along with my super warm craft pants and my winter gloves I can only say that last night I was warmer than my bike. At least I did not have a 1/4″ of ice on me like my bike did.
    Is it wrong that that picture makes me regret not going for a ride right now?

  5. I quit indoor training when I quit signing racing contracts! 🙂 But when I did indoor training it always helped me to have a set workout to do. Goals of the upcoming race season helped also along with music that motivates.
    But I would always try to do my workouts outside if I could!

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