As the cold weather sets in, you most likely are asking yourself the question: “How am I going to stay in shape this winter?”
We’ve got you covered. Here are our top tips for staying active and to keep the going strong during the off-season for road cycling.
1. Bundle up
It can be hard to say goodbye to the release of cycling in nature. Many people give it up during the winter months, but outdoor riding is still a possibility if you can brave the cold. To equip yourself for winter cycling, make sure that your bike is outfitted with lights and reflectors. The decrease in daylight hours during the winter means less light and visibility. Make sure you light up your bike like a Christmas tree so that you can clearly see the road and so motorists can see you.
One of the benefits of living in Utah is the availability of great outdoor clothing. When considering what to wear on your winter ride, make sure that you have a great shell to keep you dry and insulated. Another one of our favorite tricks to keeping warm on cold days: insert toe warmers into your shoes before your ride to keep you nice and toasty.
2. Upgrade equipment
When snow starts to stick to the roads and ice begins to form, there are still ways to keep riding outside for the brave of heart. If you’re interested in taking up winter cycling, look into upgrading your tires. Many brands sell studded tires to offer you more traction. And depending on the frame of your bike, you may also be able to fit a pair of over-sized tires onto your frame to help give you more control on those slick roads. For a completely new experience, you may even consider looking into a fat bike.
3. Spin at the gym
Many gyms offer month-to-month contracts, which is perfect for cyclists looking to stay active during the off-season. Taking spin classes at the gym or just spending an hour on a stationary bike can help you keep in shape. If you are wanting to improve your times, this may not be the best option because you may not be strengthening the same muscles that you use on your own racing bike. Practicing on your own racing bike (or a practice bike with the same shape of frame) is the best option for improving your times over the winter months.
4. Get a trainer
For those training in the winter in hopes of improving their times and form, getting a indoor trainer is the best option. A trainer is a great option for hobby cyclists and racers alike. A trainer lets you practice on the very bike (or a similar practice model) that you race on. You can keep the trainer in your basement, garage, or wherever you have space. Though you don’t get the beautiful scenery of an outdoor ride, you can keep yourself motivated by creating a music playlist or watching a movie.
Though trainers can run anywhere from $250-$1,000, they would make a great Christmas present to the avid cyclist in your family.
5. Add variety to your exercise
Winter does not have to keep you holed up inside. The season brings with it many opportunities to explore exciting winter sports. Cross-train this winter and build your overall strength and endurance by trying downhill or cross country skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing. These activities will give you the intense cardio workout you need while also building up important leg and abdominal muscles.
One of the most common problems for cyclists during the off season is bulking up. It is hard to cut back on food, but if you aren’t riding as much as you did in the summer months, try your best to decrease your calorie consumption.
Let us know what you think and any tips you have for fellow cyclists trying to stay in shape during the winter.