The dark nights and mornings are already upon us and with the recent (seemingly sudden) drop in temperature we thought we’d share some cycling tips that mean you can still enjoy planning and exploring new routes throughout the winter.
If you are super keen like us then you'll be planning on riding right through the winter. If you are not used to winter riding, then we've put together some essential winter kit information below that will keep you moving regardless of the weather.
Lightweight layers are key. They allow you to remove them if you are putting in a valiant effort up that hill or add them when zipping down your favourite descent. Keeping them light means you can store them easily in your pockets. On the top half, we normally don a short sleeve base layer, a winter top and a windproof gilet, while also having a packable waterproof jacket for that odd shower or warmth on the descents. Arm warmers are also great for that extra bit of warmth when required and they pack up light. Depending on the temperature, we'll go for full bib tights in the coldest conditions, 3/4 bib knickers when it's slightly warmer or shorts with optional knee warmers if we're unsure and don't want to be caught out.
As cyclists, our hands lead the way and maintaining good grip, movement and warmth in your fingers is essential. Good gloves are a must in winter. Particularly on longer rides. It’s well worth shopping around and investing in some good quality cycling gloves. Trust us, you will not regret it.
When considering what to wear on winter rides many people seem to neglect their feet. Warm shoes are key and winter lined Goretex boots are the ideal solution. However they can be expensive if you’re being mindful of your budget. Depending on what conditions you’re riding in, you may also want try using waterproof shoe covers along with decent waterproof shoes and some warm socks.
Be seen and be safe
You don’t need us to tell you that there is an element of risk involved in all cycling - particularly on the roads. This needs to be taken into consideration even more in the winter when visibility is often reduced due to lighting and weather conditions. Keeping yourself and your group safe means making yourself much more visible to other road users. A decent set of lights is key to this. For extra visibility, consider a rear-facing helmet light too. Keep them clean and make sure they are charged before your ride. Most road cycling clothing also comes with reflective trim these days, so take this into account when choosing your gear. The more visible you are the safer you will feel.
Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance (The 5 P’s)
Planning is of course what we are all about. Huli will show you what the weather will be like along your route. This means you don’t just plan where you want to go, you can also plan when to go. As we mentioned above, think about your lights for early/late rides and once you are out on your route, you also need to also think about how you might get home if you have a problem. Where are those ever important coffee stops along your route? Can get more supplies if needed along the quieter routes? Are there public transport links that can get you home?
From experience, it’s always best to plan for things going wrong. If you don’t, they invariable do! Such is life. So, for the quieter, more remote routes, a frame or saddle-bag can come in very handy so you can pack extra clothing and supplies in case something unforeseen occurs. In summer, it's often easier to find your way back with minimal supplies, but in winter things can escalate more quickly. Having extra supplies with you is never a bad idea.
Here are some top brands to check out:
Exposure are a great brand we recommend as they are powerful, reliable and have no cables/external battery supplies so reduce faff.
Most of big clothing brands are where they are because of quality of their clothing. We are big fans of Rapha cycling clothing here at Huli. We’ve generally found their products to be extremely functional, not to mention high quality. Similarly, we wear a lot of Castelli and also our local clothing company Endura. They’ve lived through many Scottish Winters so know exactly what you are up against!
So far this year, we’ve been loving Northwave’s Flash GTX winter boots but there are plenty more options out there too. Check out some options here.
Explore with Huli Cycle Route Planner
Whatever routes you ride this winter, we hope you enjoy getting out and exploring with Huli this winter. If you’ve not already joined our growing cycling community, now is the time to become one of our Trailblazer testers. It’s free to sign up and begin road testing Huli right across Scotland.
Join us now and let’s go exploring this winter.