99 Bikes expert tips for Winter Cycling

Don’t be tempted to hang up the bike this Winter! It can be a great time of year to ride, plus there are health benefits from riding in cold weather. You can burn more calories, train to breathe more efficiently and feel in a better mood despite the darker and shorter winter days. To succeed this Winter, the best thing you can do is be prepared in advance to avoid getting caught out. Here are 99 Bikes top tips to keep you riding through the Winter.

 

  1. Dress for success


Layer up!

It’s all about the layers when it comes to winter cycling, starting with a good baselayer will set you up for success. These lightweight and comfortable underlayers are perfect for wicking away moisture from your body and keeping you warm.

shop winter cycling baselayers with 99 bikes

Don’t ditch the Jersey!

Most cycling jerseys are made from lightweight, ventilated material which wick sweat away from the body, they aren’t particularly warm but when used over a baselayer their looser cut provides excellent airflow to dissipate sweat, the longer cuts at the back will keep you covered while in the riding position.

read 99 bikes winter riding tips

Invest in a good outer layer!

Cycling vests and jackets are a fundamental part of winter riding. Don the vest if it’s less chilly and you need a bit of extra ventilation while still protecting your core body temperature. Or head out with a cycling jacket to ensure you have a good level of warmth to protect you from the wind and rain. If most of your riding is on the road, a high-vis Jacket can make a huge difference to your visibility on the road for other motorists, especially as conditions can change and the days are shorter. There are even convertible cycling jackets available which provide removable sleeves for quick transitions in changeable weather conditions.


Don’t forget the extremities!

With road gloves often being fingerless, and mountain bike gloves offering little in the way of warmth especially in the rain, it’s better to invest in a good pair of insulated winter gloves. 

Most cycling socks are made with fabrics that control moisture, so they work to keep your feet warm and dry. If you’re further south in a cooler climate, merino wool socks provide an excellent level of lightweight warmth, they even have antibacterial properties. 

If you're a dedicated winter rider there are also shoe covers, leg warmers, arm warmers available. The excellent thing about these layers is that they can be easily pulled off at any time during the ride, with minimal bulk they can be stored in pockets until needed again.

Shop leg and arm warmers for winter riding comfort
  1. Boost your Visibility


Light it up!

Days in winter are shorter and darker, so even if you’re not planning to riding into the night, it’s easy to get caught out. A good bike light is essential to both see the way and be seen by other road users. If you are mountain biking, then a high lumen light mounted to your handlebars and an optional second helmet light will ensure you can see any obstacles in your way and increase your depth perception. Road riders can go a bit lighter on the front light lumen output than mountain bike riders but adding a taillight is a must do to ensure motorists coming from behind know you're there. Most road and commuter lights are available in front/rear lightsets.


Get Disco with it!

Wearing bright colors and clothing with reflective accents is essential for adding visibility when riding in wet conditions or in low light. All winter riders should add some reflective gear to their bike kit. The best option is a high-vis jacket or vest, but if that’s not your style there are also reflective armbands and pocket sized reflective trim raincoats which can thrown on when needed.

Invest in a good cycling jacket this winter

  1. Bring the right gear

Good nutrition keeps you warm and energetic!

Winter riding burns more calories, so be prepared to pack some snacks for your ride. Waiting out a rainstorm with a nice Clif Bar or Crafty Weka Bar can make a huge difference in keeping you warm and your energy up for the rest of the ride. Riders should take more food with them during winter riding than they would during the summer. Hydration is equally important in winter as it is in summer so don’t skimp on the H2o. Same thing with sunscreen, New Zealand’s sun can be very harsh, so just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean you can’t still get burnt!

 

Don’t forget the essentials!

No-one wants to get stuck with a flat tyre or mechanical issue in a rainstorm, so making sure to have a small pack with your mini-pump, spare tube and multi-tool secured is essential. There are a huge range of waterproof saddle bags and frame bags which will keep your valuables safe from the elements. If you are a commuter who may need to transport a laptop or paperwork, a waterproof pannier bag, waterproof backpack, or raincover will make all the difference, it’s better to prepare first rather than risk getting caught out.


  1. Prepare your Bike


Tune-up now to save later!

Before winter starts in earnest it may be a good idea to take your bike for a service and a good tune-up at your local 99 Bikes bike store, depending on how long ago your last service was. Grit, mud and slush will gunk up your bike and work its way into places it shouldn’t be, so washing your bike more regularly will keep it in good working order for longer. Investing in a few extra products to clean and lubricate your ride over winter will save you in servicing requirements in the long run. Lastly check your tyres to make sure they are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure for your type of riding, if they are looking worn, consider getting a new set to assure maximum grip during your winter bike rides.

 

  1. Prepare your Route


Don’t get lost in the dark!

It’s easier to get disoriented in the dark and conditions can change quickly during winter, so planning your route before leaving is essential, knowing how many kilometers you're in for will let you know how much gear to take and checking the weather forecast is a must do before leaving. Having a cycling GPS Computer is an excellent way to orient yourself while riding and takes a lot of the stress away from riders wishing to explore new routes. There are also options such as frame and handlebar bags with waterproof clear covers which allow you to use your phone GPS or even a map to find your way.