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Riding on through the winter

Our essential tips for riding through the winter!

The clocks haven't gone back yet, but already our evenings are drawing in. Soon more and more Condors will be retreating inside for solo turbo sessions or getting back to yoga and spinning. But many Condors will still be riding through the colder months.

Winter riding can be great - shorter days in the saddle, or easing off the pace, but still getting out, still finding coffee spots, still enjoying the company of the pink 'n' black. But if you plan to continue riding there are a few things you need to do!

Read on for the essentials - if you want something a little longer, check out Jonny's and Tom's great articles from last year on 'Condoring through the apocalypse', plus Tom's advice on winter training (or not).

Rides

Weekday rides stop being the regular Tuesday and Thursday sessions that you can rely on during the summer. Instead it's more ad-hoc. There will be some people out, but you'll need to check before turning up. The pink post will operate still as a place to post and organise.

Weekends will continue as normal - just with fewer people out.

Your bike

Lights - these are an absolute must for evening rides, where you need to be seen and see the road. Commuting lights that work through city streets are no good on dark country lanes. You might even need lights on grey or foggy winter days to be seen on the road. Check out the members area for advice on choosing lights.

Mudguards - while opinions on the dental advantages of Belgian toothpaste differ, many of your fellow riders won't appreciate a blast of mud and shite from your back wheel. Think about investing in a decent pair of mudguards - again check out the members area for recommendations. If you choose not to, be prepared to be told to sit at the back of the bunch for the whole ride - that'll certainly be my rule if I'm leading!

Switch to winter tyres - it'll make a real difference. I got through all of last winter with no sharps-punctures, only a pothole pinch got me in the end. Condors all have different preferences - check the members area for our recommendations. They won't roll so fast - but it's winter, relax! They will at least keep you rolling, and you'll feel even faster when you switch back in the spring.

Check your tyres - when the weather's wet, you often find sharp bits of flint being washed onto the roads. These slice through your tyres in no-time. Add to that potholed roads and it doesn't take much to pick up a puncture. While you can reduce the likelihood with winter tyres (see above) you should also check your tyres for wear - splits, bald spots - and any embedded bits of flint before a ride. No-one likes waiting in the cold for a puncture that could have been avoided!

You

Everyone feels the cold differently - so chat to people and see what they recommend. Here are a few tips.

Gloves - your hands get really cold. You might be fine up top, but your hands can freeze quickly. I have a few different pairs, long finger but thinner gloves for autumn, to huge acrtic style for the depths of winter. It depends on how cold your hands get.

Socks and overshoes - your feet also get really cold. Merino socks plus overshoes are pretty essential. I use tinfoil to add another warming layer inside my shoes. Cheryl swears by clingfilm instead... we'll leave it to you to decide. 

Arm warmers and leg warmers - these may be enough in the autumn and spring, in fact leg warmers get me through the winter.

Fleece long-sleeved jersey - maybe with a base layer underneath. Merino is good. You'll need a rain and wind-proof shell for the worst days.  Some jerseys have a windproof front which is good - unless it rains, I'm usually happy with my Condors winter jersey.

Bib tights - if leg warmers aren't enough.

Cap or buff - or maybe even both for under your helmet/round your neck. You need to keep your ears warm!

Moisturiser and lip balm - for when the cold wind takes its toll.

Last modified on October 04, 2016
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