If you want to ride the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge this year, getting fit all over again if you become less motivated to ride your bicycle in winter could be a bit tough.
Actually, maintaining your fitness from summer is wise, and with a bit of planning you can deal comfortably with the challenge of riding in the cold. All you need to do is dress properly, fit lights on your bike, make sure that you can see and be seen, and get out there!
Stretch the ride
If you want to start doing longer rides, the colder times of the year are an excellent time to get started with this because you don’t heat up or drown in sweat while trying to tell yourself to keep going.
Finding a training programme to follow is also a good idea. This won’t only make you much fitter, but also release you from the responsibility of having to decide what to do and telling yourself why you need to get out consistently.
Try some indoor training
There is nothing wrong with following your training schedule indoors when it is really cold or wet, but it can be a bit boring to do this on your own at home.
Organised indoor training or group spinning classes in a gym are a useful option. Read more on this very interesting article about winter training, the science of indoor trainers and cross training.
Eat and drink sensibly
While on the subject of health, remember not to give up eating fruit and vegetables. Hot coffee and tea appeals when you get off the bike in cold weather, but your body still needs vitamins and minerals.
Also don’t forget to hydrate on the bike. In the heat we sometimes drink to cool down, but your body still needs to be well hydrated to function properly in colder weather.
What to wear
Layering is the secret to comfort on a bicycle in our part of the southern hemisphere because it often warms up later when it’s cold early in the morning. Adding a breathable under-layer to your cycling shirt wicks the sweat and protects you from wind-chill, while a sleeveless windbreaker with arm and foot warmers made of more dense Lycra keep you warm. These fit comfortably into your back pocket if you don’t need them any more.
Actually, covering your knees is more important than all the other body parts. Knee pains can start in cold weather because circulation is less efficient. You can look here for a great range of winter kit, or visit Anatomic's website for some more great finds.