Don't let a little cold weather hold you back!
For a moment there we thought 2014 was skipping winter but alas, it was too good to be true. It's time to put the thongs on ice and crack out the ugg boots and beanies. But a little bit of cold weather isn't holding us back from riding. With the right clothing and equipment
you can tackle any conditions rain, ice, mud or cold. We have some great riding planned for winter
so don't let it hold you back
, get out there and ride.
Here in the Hunter Valley & Newcastle we are lucky enough that it doesn't really get too cold compared to the more southern regions of Australia. We do however, get sub zero temperatures in the middle of winter in the very early mornings but the temperature can rise to the teens in a matter of hours of leaving the house. Therefore layering your clothing is the most ideal method of dress for the road or dirt. Proper lightweight wind and cold protection for the start of your ride can mean the difference between being warm and enjoying your ride and getting sick or worse, a dose of hypothermia. As your ride goes on and as you and the temperature warms up you can regulate your temperature by removing layers. Layering will also keep you warmer than wearing just one massive jacket.
Another element that is often over looked is the effects of cold on muscle and cartilage. A good warm up and stretching routine should be a staple part of every cyclists ride preparation but when you leave the comfort of your climate controlled 25+ degree home and head out into the -1 or below icy outside air without correct protection from the wind, you run the risk of muscular damage. In this case ideally you should wear suitable knee or leg warmers when conditions are 15 degrees or below.
Another thing to remember is that if you can keep your hands and feet warm you will delay the effects of getting cold a little longer. Wind proof or better yet wind and waterproof gloves and shoe covers can block the cold wind, insulating your fingers and toes and keep them dry and warm. As soon as your extremities get cold it is extremely hard to warm them back up. Toes, fingers, ears and nose are at greatest risk because these areas do not have major muscles to produce heat. In addition, the body will preserve heat by favouring the internal organs and thus reducing the flow of blood to the extremities under cold conditions. Hands and feet tend to get cold more quickly than the torso so keep them warm.
Finally, don't neglect your eyes! Believe it or not the cold wind can effect them by both the drying effects of the wind and the wind chill factor on the surface of your eyes. Your eyes are a valuable asset so look after them with appropriate eyewear.
So with the right equipment and a bit of common sense, there is no reason why you can't continue to enjoy riding your bike all year round. Feel free to drop in and chat with us if you have any questions concerning cold weather riding we would love to help you out.
...oh and if you still can't handle the cold...there's always the comfort of being able to ride in doors on a stationary trainer!
See you out there.
The Drift Bikes Family