Sometimes we need it to be as easy and motivating as possible to get out winter riding; be it road, MTB or commuting. These 5 tips help keep us cycling more over winter. Night riding is so cool when he stars are out and the moon shining, and a light frost on the ground. Even in the lashing wind and rain you never regret getting out there and hopefully these ideas will help!
- A maintenance free Lauf Fork. I got this fork and my immediate thoughts were; it can’t do that much. Then I rode one of my regular long rough gravel descents and not only did it take the edge of it but my arms felt good and way less fatigued than normal. If you expect suspension it isn’t that, it just helps keep you riding longer with less impact on the upper body BUT without the weight and maintenance downsides from standard suspension forks. For winter the big pro is it offers a degree of suspension with no moving wear parts involved = no maintenance cost all winter. It is entirely carbon so no Aluminum corrosion or rust too!
- Winter boots. I was a late joiner into the winter boots market because they cost so much. However I’ve not looked back and just can’t be bothered with the whole overshoe hassle. The full winter goretex boots might not be as waterproof as you hope but they keep your feet warn without the hassle of overshoes. I use Northwave Raptor GTX and like them a lot, in fact I used them in the crazy cold of this trip but to be honest they were the best I’ve used but I haven’t tested them against anything else. Click here for reduced.
- Easy to use and charge lights. Forget battery pack faff and charging stress of unreliable cheap Chinese lights because flat or broken lights are the number one reason people put off night rides. You want something that easily clips on and off in seconds and ideally charges by USB quick too (we have dedicated USB wall sockets for charging lights/GPS etc. in the house that I’d recommend getting).Look for no adapters, faffing connections and shoddy velcro attachments that slide about. I use the Lezyne lights because they are clean, robust all in one units that clip on in seconds and charge super quick using standard micro USB. I also particularly love their Macro Duo light, this item always gets people asking me what it is and where they can get one. It has a strong 700 lumen front light and a daylight bright rear light that both flash all ride on winter day rides, or can be used for full night riding. A super handy unit to quickly grab for that stolen winter ride. Click here for the Duo Light
- Waterproof shorts. These just make winter riding feel more inviting and achievable. Full length trousers for riding just bug me and never feel comfy, then I find bib tights aren’t enough on their own in the worst weather, even the storm proof ones that claim to be water ‘resistant’. For off road riding your comfy shorts just get baggier, heavier and generally less pleasant as the ride goes on. We’ve used Madison waterproof shorts that don’t breath much at all and fell apart pretty quickly and we’re currently using GOREWear Gore-tex ones that seem to be holding up better but defintely the most breathable we’ve tried , although the new Endura MT500 shorts seem like they might be better after only our brief tests. Click here for options
- 100% waterproof backpack. This is for winter commuting or carrying camera equipment on other rides. Actually the one I use and love was the Ortlieb Velocity bag that was prize from finishing in the top 10 at the Dirty Reiver gravel ride (#smug and awkward photo below) but it’s something I now use almost everyday in the winter to keep laptops and/or camera kit dry on rides. It is robust quite light and always waterproof, while the rigid back isn’t the most comfortable it actually isn’t bad for longer rides. Despite Dirty Reiver custom graphics this is the same Ortlieb design bag that I use and have done for two years without issue CLICK HERE