It’s colder, darker and wetter in the UK. It can be hard finding the right time to go cycling and it can be easy to get into a routine of not getting on your bike and going for a ride. Now, that’s what I did last Winter. When you’re not a professional or even race competitively and having no trainer or training plan, can make it very easy to lay off cycling during the winter months. This winter, however, I’ve taken a different approach and just wanted to share a few tips on how to find the motivation and how to ‘brave’ those cold wintery mornings and those early dark sunsets. So far, I’ve managed to keep up my cycling before work almost every day (well once I forgot to set my alarm and a couple of times it’s been dangerously rainy), but overall I’ve kept it up. I don’t have the best circulation, so those 0-4°C mornings can be pretty tough. Powering through definitely makes me feel good though!
- Get yourself a proper winter kit
There are some affordable brands who offer decent kits
- Set your alarm clock and don’t press snooze
When it’s cold outside and even in the house, it can be so tempting to stay in your cosy warm bed. The longer I stay in bed, pressing that snooze button, the harder it is to get up and the less joyful my ride is. Get up and go!
- Don’t rely on others
Your other (fair weather) cycling buddies may not want to go out and you could find yourself not bothering if your friends aren’t. Well, my rule of thinking is.. if you want to go, then go by yourself!
- Always check your lights are well charged or are bright the night before
Safety first obviously, but if you set out and find your lights go off then its either you don’t go for a ride at all or your ride is stopped short.
- Keep your bike in an accessible place near your front door
If it’s locked up in the garage/shed or back of your house, you won’t be reminded to go for a ride or you may not be bothered to bring it out.
- Don’t put yourself down if it is too rainy
Honestly, your safety comes first, if it is too slippery outside, then give yourself a rest! Just make sure you go the next day it isn’t- you’ll be far more motivated to make the most of a dry ride.
Pros of cycling throughout winter:
- Getting to see the beautiful sunrises and sunsets
- I find there are fewer people around (runners, dog walkers, commuters etc). I don’t need to stop-start so much
- The ‘I did it’ feeling when you come back home in the warm
- The extra deserved hot cup of coffee or tea when you get home (it somehow ALWAYS tastes so much better)
- You can keep up your fitness
- You can set yourself more challenges
- When you cycle in the morning, you don’t have to feel ‘guilty’ about coming home straight from work as it’s already dark
- Seeing the changing of the seasons, leaves and trees
- That fresh and crisp air in your lungs in the morning is a quick way to wake you up!
- The winter stillness- I do find everything is much calmer and quieter as I cycle around
- I find I am much more mindful of my surroundings during the winter
Cons of cycling throughout the winter:
- Your poor cold and tingly hands and toes
- Sometimes you may triple check the weather, set your alarm, get up early and step outside, to find it’s pouring of rain
- It is more slippery and dark so it is more dangerous
- Mud and rain, will definitely mean that you have to clean your bike more!
I think you can see that the pros far outweigh the cons! I’m trying my best to cycle as long as I can this winter and I would love to know your top tips for keeping that motivation going!