How many of you, last summer, bought a bicycle? With lockdown in full swing and the sun in the sky, it seemed that we all turned to two wheels for a little escape — saddling up for weekend rides, midweek road-trips and even using our newfound bikes to commute.
But, since the cold weather blew in, how many times have you even looked at your bike? There’s nothing wrong with being a fair-weather cyclist, of course — but winter cycling offers rewards of its own. Fewer people on the roads, the opportunity to shift some winter weight and less chance of overheating behind your handlebars.
So, to coax any lapsed cyclists back out onto the frosty roads, we’ve pulled together some of the best gear to transform your bicycle for winter…
Find a pair of tyres that’ll grip the road
There are few things more pernicious than patches of black ice. They’re terrifying enough when you’re on four-wheels — but, when a cyclist hits an icy patch, it can spell more than a bashed bumper. That’s why, this winter, your first order of business should be investing in a pair of seasonal tyres.
Something like Michelin’s Pro4 Endurance, with ‘Bi-Compound’ technology and ‘Bead to Bead Protection’ to reduce the chance of punctures. Specialized’s offering, the Roubaix Pro tyres, feature ‘Endurant’ casing for winter — but will also roll you smoothly back into spring. Or, for longer rides, Hutchinson’s Fusion 5 tyres use ‘ElevenSTORM’ rubber and a grooved design to maintain a good level of grip.
Michelin Pro4 Endurance
Specialized Roubaix Pro
Hutchinson Fusion 5 All Season winter tires
Shine a light on some quality LEDs
Of course, the most obvious deterrent for would-be winter cyclists is the darkness. These certainly aren’t the long, balmy days of last summer. But you shouldn’t let early dusks and late dawns dissuade you from cycling — as a good pair of lights can open up the road like it’s a bright, light summer’s day.
That, and more. Garmin’s Varia tail light is fitted with a radar that provides visual and audible alerts to the rider, warning of vehicles approaching from up to 140 metres behind. See.Sense’s light set employs two types of LED — a CREE LED for a focused beam, and CoB LED panel for side visibility. Or, for sheer, unbridled power, you can’t get better than Gemini’s Titan 4000, with handy wireless remote.
Garmin Varia Radar Tail Light
See.Sense Icon2 Light Set
Gemini Titan 4000
Add some hardware to steel your bike for winter
And it doesn’t stop there. There are plenty of other ways you can refine or retrofit your bicycle so it better handles the challenging weather and terrain of winter.
Some of these tweaks are purely practical: we’d suggest investing in a set of Topeak Defender mudguards to minimise on slushy splashes, and a pair of Shimano’s GR500 pedals — equipped with nine adjustable gripping pins to prevent any icy foot slippage.
Others are more pre-emptive. This Garmin Edge 830 cycle computer comes equipped with temperature gauge and daily weather alerts — in case you’re out on a long ride and the weather’s closing in…
Topeak Defender XC1/XC11 Set
Garmin Edge 830
Shimano GR500 Flat MTB Pedals
Tune up your handlebars with some top tools
Finally, we come to your handlebars. The business end of your bicycle, this is where you mount your lights, your bell — and, if you have some room, a couple more gadgets or accessories to make wintertime cycling even easier.
Accessories like this waterproof Bar Bag from Rapha. Made with a reflective webbing, this conveniently sized pack will shrug off the worst of the weather while remaining firmly fixed to your bike thanks to its durable straps. Lioobo’s handlebar mitts aren’t the slickest look for a cyclist — but your hands will be so cosy you won’t care. Alternatively, replace your existing grips with cork or foam grips — such as these from Ergon — proven to retain warmth more effectively.
Rapha Bar Bag
Lioobo Handlebar Mitts
Ergon GP1 Cork Handlebar Grips
Want to make even more of your morning cycle? Here’s what successful people do on their morning commutes…
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