It’s cold out there. Seeing a layer of frost or snow on the cars outside can be enough to put you off riding, but there are a few tips for dealing with the snow, rain, mud and worst the British winter can dish out.
Winter riding technique
Playing with tyre pressure makes a big difference. Dropping the psi means the tyre will mould itself to uneven surfaces, and spread out for a bigger tread “footprint” and more grip. The lower you drop the pressure the more soft condition grip you’ll get, but again you’ll need to be wary on the hard stuff.
Low pressure tyres will squash against the rim easily if you hit rocks, so you’ll be more prone to pinch punctures unless you slow down. Floppy tyres can also squirm badly under cornering – particularly with lightweight thin sidewall tyres – so let pressures down gradually till you find a comfortable compromise level.
Don’t let bad weather deter you
With the right clothing, winter riding doesn’t need to be a miserable experience. But with poor clothing and bad decisions, riding in the wind, rain and mud can be horrible, just horrible; water creeps in through the seams, the wind rips through the delicate layers and your core temperature can plummet.
It’s all about the layers
This being Britain the temperature can swing wildly from sub zero to really quite mild, and the rain can be frequent, a brief cloudburst or a prolonged downpour. These changeable conditions make the clothing decision before a ride a tricky thing, getting it right is a matter of trial and error.
Rich Rothwell shares some advice
I actually quite enjoy winter. Firstly, you know what you’re going to get. It’s not like our tantalising ‘summers’ which never seem to quite materialise, or do so in short frustrating gasps. I love the slightly gothic atmosphere of winter and, once out there probably enjoy the scenery more than the summer.
Rob Dean on riding year round
I like riding all year round. In fact I need to ride all year round as my journey to work takes me and my bike over the South Downs, every morning, so riding all year round is essential.
Got any of your own top tips you want to share? Let’s hear them in the comments box below please…