Any google search on “winter cycling tip” will turn up a variety of suggestions on what to wear, how to look after your bike, what lights to buy etc. Here at CCSD we like to give you information that you may not get anywhere else so read on to see some of the lesser known tips for cycling in the winter.
Yes, get a good night’s sleep…. but this refers to a different type of GoodNites. http://www.goodnites.com/our-products/goodnites-bedmats/
Don’t ask how we discovered this one but if you cut children’s bed mats (or even adult incontinence pads) down to size they make a fantastic disposable base layer. Position them with absorbent side next to your skin and they absorb sweat while providing a wind proof layer the other side. When you’ve warmed up you can just reach inside your jersey and at the next opportunity throw them in the nearest trash (better to do this at the back of the group to avoid strange looks!). Having a piece rolled up tightly in a jersey pocket can save you from that chill wind biting through all your layers on a long descent too.
Keep Your Kidneys Warm
Keep your vital organs and extremities warm. There are so many different winter clothing choices out there these days you’re spoilt for choice. However, for instant warmth from the inside out, try some chemical body warmers stuck to your base layers. These days you can get special body warmers with a sticky back that are perfect for the job. Much better than trying to stick multiple toe warmers all over you.
Get a Hot Body
Go one better with a heated body warmer! This is a British company but they have a US distributer. Note – I don’t think the pretty lady comes with it or the fury hat comes as an accessory)
Get Hot Hands
Ok, so you may look like you’re about to handle radioactive waste in these but the idea of having warm hands for 5-6 hours is pretty appealing!
Latte on the Go!
Take some hot liquid out on the bike with you. Who’s to say you can’t make up energy drink with hot water! This insulated bottle from Stanley is designed to fit in your bottle cage and supposedly keeps drinks hot 5 hours (I’m guessing maybe 1-2 hours on a very cold day outside though). Perfect if you use your commute as a training ride.
Winter is a time where it can be difficult not to put on winter weight, particularly when you can’t get out to ride as much. It’s easy to bury your head in the sand and ignore the lbs slowly creeping on…. so here’s a tip to help you face the lbs and reach for a piece of fruit instead of a piece of cake.
Place a 1lb pack of butter in the fridge and don’t forget every lb you gain or lose will be the equivalent of carrying these around with you (or not). I’ve seen people add lbs of butter or lard to a pile in the fridge as they lose weight too. It’s a very visual way of seeing what you’re not carrying up the hills anymore.
The bike… yes.. but don’t forget yourself too. A nice thick layer of lotion can help keep that biting wind from your skin. Think of open water swimmers covering their bodies in lard (note – smearing yourself in lard if that’s what you choose to do also serves to remind you why your crazy enough to be out cycling in the first place – see hint 2 above!)
Don’t Get Facebook Frostbite
You know how it goes. You’re out riding in -30 degrees. You’re miserable, cold, wet and wondering what on earth you’re doing out there. Yet, you’re also feeling slightly superior for being out in such stinking weather while others are huddled up at home dreaming of Spring. You just have to post that icy picture on Facebook part way through the ride to let the world know you’re out there toughing it out against the elements. Rather than losing finger sensation while you’re doing it consider gloves that you can text through. These are some we’re thinking of trying out (yes sometimes we have to wear gloves in San Diego too!). http://www.agloves.com/pages/Shop.html
Mix it Up
Get a Vitamix. Seriously, we can’t recommend these enough (no we’re not sales reps for Vitamix). There’s something very satisfying about being able to throw a bunch of vegetables into a power blender, hit blend and 7 minutes later have tasty steaming soup. It’ll be done by the time you’ve finished peeling off the numerous layers you’ve been wearing! Dawn Paul is a local cyclist who sells them. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org, she puts together a great package for cyclists which you won’t get from your local Costco, recipe books, knives, chopping boards etc etc.