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5 top tips to stay warm on your bike

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Brought to you by Going Going Bike

If freezing your proverbials off is the only thing stopping you from getting on your bike right now, fear not. No need to wait until the summer months to catch the cycling bug, here are some top tips for staying warm…

Tip 1 – Keep your ears, feet and hands warm
Cold ears, feet and hands are one of the quickest ways to ruin a nice winter ride. A simple headband will keep your ears toasty and fit under your helmet comfortably. These can be bought for as little as £13 from stores like Evans. A good pair of thick socks will keep your feet warmer. However, if you wear cycling shoes you will notice the effect of a pair of overshoes immediately. I have just worn through my Pro Tarmac H2O overshoes. They lasted over two years and did a good job for the price. As a result, I’ve just ordered some more for under £30. Gloves are a bit tricky. A good fit is essential and I don’t want so much insulation that my grip on the levers is compromised. I’ve just ordered some Seal Skinz, on a recommendation, and will report back once I’ve used them.

Tip 2 – Stay dry
Getting really wet is the final nail in the coffin for me when it comes to cold weather cycling. A drenched bum or a soaked through jacket can take away a lot of a ride’s fun. A simple rear mud guard can make a big difference. I like the removable ones that SKS make, around £30 at Evans, because they are lightweight, look nice and can be easily switched between my bikes. However, there are plenty on the market and, with a bit of creativity you can even create your own with an old water bottle! A great waterproof jacket is essential. You can get the fabulous Proviz Hi Visibility Waterproof jacket at £56, on Going Going Bike. It is not only waterproof but, like all the Proviz kit, is designed for cyclists who want to stand out in the traffic.

Tip 3 – Keep your core warm
Keep the core of your body warm by putting on an extra layer. This can be another t-shirt or ordinary vest but will ideally be a cycling specific vest. For me (rather peculiarly!) wearing a cycling vest makes me feel like a pro cyclist. I think it is something to do with seeing professionals slog up Tour de France mountains with their jersey open and their vest showing. Anyway, they are perfect for summer or winter so I would recommend you have one regardless of whether it makes you feel professional. My friends will only buy their vests on their annual pilgrimage to Alpe d’Huez. Not everyone can be so choosy.

Tip 4 – Stop for regular warm drinks
The age-old answer to cold cycling conditions is to stop more frequently and have more hot drinks (and cake!). Coffee and cycling are natural bed fellows, and cold winter rides can be made far more enjoyable/bearable with the addition of an extra stop or two.

Tip 5 – Pedal faster and harder
You might not like me for this final suggestion! A sure fire way to heat yourself up is to pedal harder and faster. Although, with a moment of weakness, I recently considered that going faster would in fact be colder, pedalling harder will really warm you up. In fact, unless you decide to get on your bike in full skiing kit, you probably need to pedal hard in addition to wearing proper kit in order to stay warm when the temperature plunges!

What are your top tips for staying warm on your bike? Tell us in the comments…

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