Most cyclists would like to cycle outside in summer and stay inside in winter. And a small number of cyclists would choose to cycle outside in freezing winter because they don’t want to cut their exercise plan. If you are the one who has the determination to cycle in chilly winter, the most important thing for you is to keep warm when cycling outside. This article is going to give cyclists who cycle in winter ten tips to keep warm.
Choose appropriate clothing
When cycling in summer, we prefer to select some tight streamlined clothing, which is breathable. On the contrary, when we cycle outside in winter, we’d better choose looser clothing because it traps air for insulation which is exactly what we need in winter.
Besides, When you cycle in winter, a single thick jacket is not enough. Wearing multiple layers with different functions is suggested by us because it allows you to adjust your clothing to the change of temperature. Firstly, you should wear a base layer which could wick away sweat. And then a mid layer with thermal properties should be put on to retain heat in your body. Next, wearing an outer layer with wind and rain stopper fabric to resist the cold air and the wind.
The weather in winter is changeable. Sometimes, you might have chosen appropriate clothing for current temperature, but you might feel uncomfortable when the temperature suddenly drops. Therefore, we advise you to take an extra windbreaker and vest with you to keep warm when the temperature suddenly drops
Keep your feet and hands warm
If you could have a detailed understanding of your body, it is possible for you to overcome the physiological reaction to cold.
The most cold-sensitive part of the body is hands and feet resulting from a process called peripheral vasoconstriction. It means that the body protects the vital organs at its core from being attacked by cold by narrowing the capillaries in hands and feet to divert blood from the peripheries, which result in chilly fingers and toes. That is to say, cycling with cold hands and feet would totally destroy your winter cycling. What could we do to prevent our hands and feet from freezing cold when cycling.
There are two solutions to counter this problem. The first one is to wear thick socks which would definitely make your feet warm. If it is really cold outside, you could choose to wear two or more shocks to resist cold. And the second one is to insulate hands and feet by using a quality shoe cover which is waterproof and utilize wind stopper fabric to keep the chilly wind outside.
As for hands, a pair of warm gloves is essential and you still need to confirm that your hand is flexible enough to control your bicycle in the right direction.
cover your head
According to medical reports, around 30 percent of body heat would lose from your head. Therefore, in order to keep your body warm, it is necessary for you to cover your head with an insulating thermal layer. Just like the hands and feet, your head should also be equipped with multiple layers. For the outer layer, an aero helmet is a good choice if you have one because Aero helmets usually have fewer vents which retain heat better than traditional helmets and will keep you dry in the rain. If the temperature is above 45 degrees you could use a cycling cap as the base layer. If you cycle in lower temperature, you could use a cap designed for cycling which is slim enough to fit under your helmet and covers the ears.
Keep your core warm
When cycling outside in winter, you would better Keep the core of your body warm by putting on an extra layer. Both a t-shirt or an ordinary vest are good options which are perfect for summer and winter. The band of efficient operating temperatures of the body is narrow, which is within 0.6ºC of 37ºC. If core temperature falls, the body activates defensive measures to protect vital organs. Therefore, it is vital for you to protect your especially chest and abdomen.
Someone describe getting wet as the final nail in the coffin when he cycles outside in winter. Although this description seems exaggerated, it indeed points out the significance of staying dry when cycling in winter. A drenched bum or a soaked through jacket can take away a lot of heat from your body when they evaporate from your skin, which makes you feel cold quickly.
Even in winter, we may feel hot and sweat once we cycle for a while. Therefore, how to stay dry when we cycle in winter. The solution is quite simple. Just as what we mentioned in tip 1, you should wear a base layer with excellent wicking properties to ensure that moisture is transported away from the skin rapidly. That is to say, the function of a base layer helps you stay dry after you sweat.
protect your airways
When breathing cold air, you may experience a feeling of tightening in the chest, due to a mild restriction of the airways. Especially for those who suffer from exercise-induced asthma, they may feel more uncomfortable in winter. Therefore, it is vital to protect your airways if you want to experience the entertainment of cycling in winter. Just a scarf or snood which could slightly warm the air before it’s breathed in might provide you some assistance.
Some nutritionists suggest cyclists use fish oils which could reduce bronchial constriction as a supplement in winter.
Control your riding speed
Some experienced cyclists would pay particular attention to the weather forecast for wind. While we cycling, we will generate some breeze which might cool us in the summer, but chill us in the winter. If you didn’t control the speed of your bicycle, you might quickly feel cold after 15-minute cycling.
The chill brought by the wind is one of the main causes of hypothermia. when the heat of your body loses faster than cycling can produce, your core temperature starts to fall. Most cases of hypothermia occur when the temperature is around 40 degrees and it’s unexpectedly rainy and windy. Beginning with shivering, hypothermia would continually drop your core temperature, which may have a negative effect on the operation of your nervous and other organs. To avoid being attacked by hypothermia, you have to control your riding speed. Once you found it is difficult to use your finger to manipulate the zipper or you begin to shiver, you have to go to somewhere warm to release your symptom because you are developing serious hypothermia.
Stop for regular warm drinks
After two or three hours’ riding, you could stop and find somewhere warm to have a short break. A coffee shop or restaurant is a good option where you also could enjoy a warm drinks to help you warm up. At the same time, these places provide you a good opportunity to change the wet clothing. When you determine to restart cycling, you could fill your water bottle with hot water or warm drinks.
Take in sufficient food
It is quite important to have a good breakfast before cycling in winter because you have to take in sufficient energy to keep warm in the cold air. Some cyclists might afraid of gaining weight if they take in too much energy, so they might choose not to have breakfast before cycling outside in winter. In this way, it is easier for them to feel cold because they don’t have sufficient energy to retain their body’s temperature.
If you feel cold when cycling in winter, you could strive to pedal harder to warm your body. It seems to be a stupid suggestion but is effective. In reality, unless you wear skiing kit, it is necessary for you to pedal hard on your bicycle because it is the only way in which your body could generate heat to let you stay warm. And what you should keep in mind is that you have to control your riding speed when pedaling harder so as to ac=void being attacked by hypothermia.