Winter Riding

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  • 10 Bike Washing Don’ts and Do’s

    By Jim Langley  Winter riding can wear and tear bicycles quickly because of the grit and crud that gets all over the frame and components. Also, excessive moisture can remove essential lube from the drivetrain, which accelerates chain, cassette, chainring, derailleur pulley and front derailleur cage wear, too. This is why it’s best to clean bikes immediately after inclement winter rides or at least before riding them again. Here’s a quick rundown of don’t and do’s for a good job (“don’ts” are first in the title because they’re the things that can cause bigger problems).

  • 10 Bike Washing Don’ts and Do’s

    Winter riding can wear and tear bicycles quickly because of the grit and crud that gets all over the frame and components. Also, excessive moisture can remove essential lube from the drivetrain, which accelerates chain, cassette, chainring, derailleur pulley and front derailleur cage wear, too. This is why it’s best to clean bikes immediately after inclement winter rides or at least before riding them again. Here’s a quick rundown of don’t and do’s for a good job (“don’ts” are first in the title because they’re the things that can cause bigger problems).

  • About Aluminum Corrosion

    Our last Tech Talk of 2015 provided 5 tips for Winterizing Your Ride, which, unless you live in the southern hemisphere should come in pretty handy about now. Even here in recently drought-plagued Northern California, we’re getting a lot of rain and cold already in 2016. In the introduction to that article, I wrote, “It’s easy for water to get inside frames, and it’s a common cause of rusting on steel frames (there are no such worries with aluminum, titanium or carbon frames).” To which Holland, Michigan, roadie Kerry Irons took exception.

  • About Aluminum Corrosion

    Our last Tech Talk of 2015 provided 5 tips for Winterizing Your Ride, which, unless you live in the southern hemisphere should come in pretty handy about now. Even here in recently drought-plagued Northern California, we’re getting a lot of rain and cold already in 2016. In the introduction to that article, I wrote, “It’s easy for water to get inside frames, and it’s a common cause of rusting on steel frames (there are no such worries with aluminum, titanium or carbon frames).” To which Holland, Michigan, roadie Kerry Irons took exception.

  • Assos S7 Fugu Winter Gloves

    Each year I add something to my winter clothing repertoire to make the cold rides more endurable, and even sometimes enjoyable. In the past I’ve used bulkier gloves to keep my hands warm, or sacrificed my hands with lighter gloves for racing and fast rides where agility and control was at a premium over comfort. This year I wanted to find a pair of gloves that were lighter volume, but still performed in keeping the cold out.

  • Assos S7 Fugu Winter Gloves

    Assos S7 Fugu Winter Gloves.WEBEach year I add something to my winter clothing repertoire to make the cold rides more endurable, and even sometimes enjoyable. In the past I’ve used bulkier gloves to keep my hands warm, or sacrificed my hands with lighter gloves for racing and fast rides where agility and control was at a premium over comfort. This year I wanted to find a pair of gloves that were lighter volume, but still performed in keeping the cold out.

  • Boure Merino Wool LS Base Layer

    Boure deserves a nod for several details. The shirt tail was longer in the back. That's clearly a cycling-specific design to keep it tucked in when you're in the drops. With cuffs, a crew neck and a ribbed design, the shirt resembles a classic crew-neck sweater. Got a few errands to run around town on a chilly day? Go ahead, pull it on. you'll be glad you did.

  • Boure Pro Thermal Vest

    I'm a big fan of vests' adaptability and light weight. Put one on for a cold descent, stuff it in a jersey pocket when it warms up. But most vests designed for cycling are minimalist nylon shells, fine for blocking wind from your chest in moderate temperatures but not very useful when the mercury dips toward freezing.

  • Can I Keep My Bike Cleaner on Sloppy Roads?

    I started riding last spring at the age of 43, and I love it! But now the weather has turned rainy. I return from rides soaked, and my bike is a mess. Is there a solution? It's a pain to clean the bike after every ride.

  • Clothing is Key to Enjoyable Winter Riding

    Elizabeth Wicks, 71, lives in the central Massachusetts area just north of Worcester and has been a record-setting endurance cyclist for 20 years. She rides year-round and logged 5,500 miles in 2013, 5,700 miles in 2014 and 5,824 miles so far in 2015 (aiming for 6,000). Knowing that Elizabeth is an avid winter rider, even in the harsh conditions of the Northeast, we asked her to describe how she prepares for and rides in the winter. There are some terrific lessons here for all of us recreational roadies.

  • Clothing is Key to Enjoyable Winter Riding

    Elizabeth Wicks, 71, lives in the central Massachusetts area just north of Worcester and has been a record-setting endurance cyclist for 20 years. She rides year-round and logged 5,500 miles in 2013, 5,700 miles in 2014 and 5,824 miles so far in 2015 (aiming for 6,000). Knowing that Elizabeth is an avid winter rider, even in the harsh conditions of the Northeast, we asked her to describe how she prepares for and rides in the winter. There are some terrific lessons here for all of us recreational roadies.

  • Craft Siberian Winter Gloves

    Winter glove design is a trade-off. They need to be bulky enough to insulate against temperatures well below freezing but also sufficiently thin to provide good dexterity when working brake/shift levers. Craft Siberian gloves solve this problem. They're Craft's warmest winter gloves but they are also relatively thin to make shifting and braking easy.

  • Cross-Train for Fun and Fitness this Winter

    I prefer to cross-train through the winter, still riding occasionally but not exclusively. I turn my sights to something else I enjoy. If riding this winter is for any reason more of a chore than a pleasure (nasty conditions, desire for more family time, need for a mental or physical break, HATE the trainer), then try one or more of these activities: mountain biking, walking, dancing, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, etc. You might find that the biggest benefits are the added family time and the fresh excitement for riding in the spring.

  • Cross-Train for Fun and Fitness this Winter

    XC ski season started for me several weeks ago. I prefer to cross-train through the winter, still riding occasionally but not exclusively, and I really enjoy XC skiing. No matter which of the numerous non-cycling activities you like to do to round out your off-season workout regimen, cross-training in the winter delivers myriad benefits to your cycling and overall health. Even if you live in a climate that allows you to ride year-round, taking a break from full-time riding and working some other activities into your routine is still a good idea. Here's why:

  • Cross-Train for Fun and Fitness this Winter

    By Coach John Hughes  XC ski season started for me several weeks ago. I prefer to cross-train through the winter, still riding occasionally but not exclusively, and I really enjoy XC skiing. No matter which of the numerous non-cycling activities you like to do to round out your off-season workout regimen, cross-training in the winter delivers myriad benefits to your cycling and overall health. Even if you live in a climate that allows you to ride year-round, taking a break from full-time riding and working some other activities into your routine is still a good idea. Here's why:

  • Dial in Clothing Choices for Enjoyable Winter Riding

    By Elizabeth Wicks  Elizabeth Wicks lives in the central Massachusetts area just north of Worcester and has been a record-setting endurance cyclist for 20 years. She rides year-round and logs 5,000 to 6,000 miles per year, riding year-round. Knowing that Elizabeth is an avid winter rider, even in the harsh conditions of the Northeast, we asked her to describe how she prepares for and rides in the winter. There are some terrific lessons here for all of us recreational roadies.

  • Do Wrap SweatVac Winter Beanie & Winter Stubby

    If you can keep your head, hands and feet warm, you can ride in nearly any winter condition. And of these three sensitive areas, your head is arguably the most important, thermostatically speaking. The scalp is laced with blood vessels, so heat loss is particularly rapid. Of all the helmet liners I've tried over the years, Do Wrap's Winter Beanie and Winter Stubby come closest to perfection.

  • Fit for Life III: Improving Your Athletic Maturity

    Mature is a much better word than old, senior, etc., don’t you think? Although my chronological age is 67, I’m on Medicare and I’m eligible for Social Security, I think of myself as having acquired 43 years of athletic maturity since I started riding in 1975. I’m not old! I'm athletically mature! In my second column in this series I suggested that you take the Athletic Maturity quiz. You can use your results to answer this week’s Question of the Week and compare yourself to other roadies. And read on to see how five RBR contributors scored on the quiz.

  • Fit for Life III: Improving Your Athletic Maturity

    By Coach John Hughes  Mature is a much better word than old, senior, etc., don’t you think? Although my chronological age is 67, I’m on Medicare and I’m eligible for Social Security, I think of myself as having acquired 43 years of athletic maturity since I started riding in 1975. I’m not old! I'm athletically mature! In my second column in this series I suggested that you take the Athletic Maturity quiz. You can use your results to answer this week’s Question of the Week and compare yourself to other roadies. And read on to see how five RBR contributors scored on the quiz.

  • Fleece Headbands are Great for the Neck Too

    Today's QT comes to us from Doug Williams, a Canadian roadie who knows a thing or two about riding in cool to cold weather. He writes: My Quick Tip is the versatility of (polar) fleece headbands. I use them around my head to keep my ears warm, sure, but one or two of them around the neck seal out the cold air from coming into the vest or jacket.

  • Fleece Headbands are Great for the Neck Too

    Today's QT comes to us from Doug Williams, a Canadian roadie who knows a thing or two about riding in cool to cold weather. He writes: My Quick Tip is the versatility of (polar) fleece headbands. I use them around my head to keep my ears warm, sure, but one or two of them around the neck seal out the cold air from coming into the vest or jacket.

  • Garneau Course Wind Pro LS Jersey and Elite 2 Bib Tights

    By Sheri Rosenbaum  For winter riding, this kit is a good option for keeping the elements at bay. While I give the Course Wind Pro® LS Cycling Jersey a near-perfect rating, I feel the bib tights come up a little short. I really feel that the mesh bib design shouldn’t be carried down to the lower back and abdomen on a winter garment. However, with that said there are still some very nice elements to the bib tight that makes the jersey and bibs a very fashionable, high-performance, warm winter kit.

  • Getting 'Fat' in the Winter

    By Sheri Rosenbaum  I’m a roadie, but riding the roads of suburban Chicago during the winter can be challenging. In addition to the danger, snow, ice and salt can wreak havoc on a bike. And riding the trainer is always low on my list compared to heading outdoors. So, last year my boyfriend and I decided to test ride fat tire bikes. We rented them from a local bike shop and went across the street to a forest preserve. As we headed out the door, the sales guy yelled “when in doubt, run it over!”

  • Getting 'Fat' in the Winter

    I’m a roadie, but riding the roads of suburban Chicago during the winter can be challenging. In addition to the danger, snow, ice and salt can wreak havoc on a bike. And riding the trainer is always low on my list compared to heading outdoors. So, last year my boyfriend and I decided to test ride fat tire bikes. We rented them from a local bike shop and went across the street to a forest preserve. As we headed out the door, the sales guy yelled “when in doubt, run it over!”

  • Hincapie Gradient Softshell Jacket

    hincapie gradient jacket front.web The Hincapie Gradient jacket is impressive on first sight, with a look of quality and purpose. The outer part of the fabric is smooth to the touch, with Hincapie claiming water-resistant protection. Inside is a comfortable fleece lining which feels good against the skin. The overall look and feel highlights the technical nature of the jacket.

  • How Can I Cope With Early Darkness?

    I'm in Louisiana. It's not cold here. It doesn't snow. Winter riding should be easy. But the early darkness is killing me. I feel like it’s dangerous to ride when it’s dark. Worse, not riding on weekdays makes me feel sedentary and I can’t get motivated to ride even on weekends. How can I deal with this?

  • How Can I Cope With Early Darkness?

    I'm in Louisiana. It's not cold here. It doesn't snow. Winter riding should be easy. But the early darkness is killing me. I feel like it’s dangerous to ride when it’s dark. Worse, not riding on weekdays makes me feel sedentary and I can’t get motivated to ride even on weekends. How can I deal with this?

  • How Can I Keep Drinks Hot on a Cold Ride?

    Question:I love to ride in the winter but sure wish I could have something hot to drink about an hour out. My bottles freeze even if I start with them filled with hot tea. What are my options? -- Jane A.

  • How Can I Keep My Face From Freezing?

    I don't mind riding in cold weather, but I can't keep my face warm. Shoe covers work for my feet and heavy gloves keep my hands toasty. But my chin and cheeks freeze. I wear a "skull cap" under my helmet. Any ideas?

  • How Can I Keep My Face From Freezing?

    I don't mind riding in cold weather, but I can't keep my face warm. Shoe covers work for my feet and heavy gloves keep my hands toasty. But my chin and cheeks freeze. I wear a "skull cap" under my helmet. Any ideas?

  • How Can I Shift When Wearing Mittens?

    It's so cold that I have to ride with mittens instead of gloves. It's nearly impossible to work my brake/shift levers because there's no separation between my fingers. The mitten material jams between the brake lever and the smaller shift lever. Any solutions? 

  • How Can Penile Frostbite Be Prevented?

    Recently I suffered from a frostbitten penis on a long ride in sub-freezing temperatures. I wore heavy tights over cycling shorts. The worst part was explaining what happened to the female emergency room doctor. What can I do to prevent this misery from happening again?

  • How Do I Equate Indoor Training Time with Riding Outside?

    During the winter when I can't get outside to ride, what is the percentage of indoor riding that would match the time outside? Also, if I use an elliptical machine, what is that percentage for riding outside?

  • How Long Should Indoor Trainer Rides Last?

    How long should I ride on the indoor trainer in the off-season? I race up to 112 miles in Ironman triathlons. A well-respected triathlon coach says to limit indoor rides to 2 hours, but with races over 6 hours this seems short.

  • How to Stay Fit, Fresh & Enjoy the Holidays

    By Coach John Hughes  Think of the holidays as time for quality recovery, a time to gain freshness. Freshness means that you are fully recovered from all of your fall activities and ready – physically and mentally – for the next round of training. To gain freshness you need to cut back your total training volume significantly, by as much as 50 to 75% for a week or two before the holidays. To maintain fitness you should cut back your endurance riding more than your intensity volume, but you should still cut back your intensity volume by 25 to 50%. Here's what you could you do with your limited time.

  • Is It Necessary to Build an Aerobic Base?

    When I started cycling in the late '70s, coaches were of the view that building an aerobic base was very important – and specific. Training outside of the aerobic zone interfered with aerobic development and should be avoided at all costs. It seems to have fallen away in the general fitness arena, with HIIT being the latest craze in gyms, boot camps, etc. Given that we now know that all three energy systems work more or less concurrently, is it necessary to "build an aerobic base" from a fitness development point of view? 

  • Is It Necessary to Build an Aerobic Base?

    By Coach John Hughes  Question: When I started cycling in the late '70s, coaches were of the view that building an aerobic base was very important – and specific. Training outside of the aerobic zone interfered with aerobic development and should be avoided at all costs. It seems to have fallen away in the general fitness arena, with HIIT being the latest craze in gyms, boot camps, etc. Given that we now know that all three energy systems work more or less concurrently, is it necessary to "build an aerobic base" from a fitness development point of view? 

  • It's All About That Base

    By John Marsh  It's always difficult each week coming up with a new, fresh Question of the Week that ties into at least one of that week's articles or themes. (Which is why I always encourage you to send in any ideas you have.) On the flip side, looking at your collective responses is an endless source of fascination. I always try to figure out which answer will get the most votes – and I'm almost always wrong! Here's a rundown of a few of our recent QoW's, how you responded, and the response I thought most likely to win (but didn't).

  • It's All About That Base

    When I was enjoying the quietude and long views of winter on a recent ride, my mind wandered to a popular song from last year that captured the spirit and intent of my riding this time of year: "All About that Base," by Meghan Trainor (who just won a Best New Artist Grammy last week). OK, so any of you who might have heard that song on the radio knows that it's actually waxing (unpoetically) about a certain attribute of the female anatomy. But I'm stealing it for the purposes of cycling anyway.

  • Joneswares 'Interval' Midweight Wool Turtleneck

    For me, they sewed a turtleneck to their standard Cycle Midweight Baselayer and lengthened both the tail (already longer than the front) and the snug, cuffed sleeves. These tweaks accommodate my long torso and arms and provide full coverage from my chin to the middle of my butt, with sleeves too long to ever ride up my wrists when I reach for a water bottle. I'm happily sealed against uncomfortable drafts. 

  • Joneswares Cycling Baselayer

    I have several years of experience with Merino wool products, and I don't need tea leaves to predict the future for the Joneswares shirt. It will soon be in heavy rotation as part of my winter wardrobe, both on and off the bike. And I'll not be surprised when that heavy use robs it of its shape.

  • Louis Garneau Cove Hybrid Jacket

    LouisGarneauCoveHybridJacket.Front.WEBIf you are looking for one jacket this winter that will keep you warm on and off the bike, the new Cove Hybrid from Garneau is the one. As the “hybrid” name implies, this jacket is designed for multiple winter sports uses, including cycling, hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. In both men's and women's versions, it is fashionable without screaming cycling gear; the versatility extends to many non-sports uses as well. It’s ideal for running errands, trips to the gym, or outings with friends.

  • Louis Garneau Cove Hybrid Jacket

    By Sheri Rosenbaum  If you are looking for one jacket this winter that will keep you warm on and off the bike, the new Cove Hybrid from Garneau is the one. As the “hybrid” name implies, this jacket is designed for multiple winter sports uses, including cycling, hiking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. In both men's and women's versions, it is fashionable without screaming cycling gear; the versatility extends to many non-sports uses as well. It’s ideal for running errands, trips to the gym, or outings with friends.

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

  • Our Latest Off-Season Training ePubs

    StretchingCoreStrengtheningForTheCyclist.WEBWinter Cycling BundleIn STRETCHING & CORE STRENGTH FOR THE CYCLIST, our new 57-page eBook, Coach Rick Schultz and Amy Schultz clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program: Just $14.95; $12.71 forPremium Members, who save 15%!

    In the 3-article WINTER CYCLING BUNDLE Coach John Hughes shows you how to train in the winter, including 12-week plans based on rider goals; how to extend your "riding season" outdoors; and how to use sports psychology to improve your cycling (even long after you've plateaued physically): Just $13.50; $11.48 for Premium Members!

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