As we have seen from Graeme Raeburn recently, clocking up the miles during winter is actually possible. Although Mr. Raeburn is one of the more ‘hardcore’ cyclists I know and that shorter days, work commitments, family life and inclement weather make it a struggle, riding hard and consistently through the colder months of the year is achievable.
This last month the UK has seen a lot of snow and ice, and for the first time I have considered acquiring a set of rollers, or even a turbo. Yet, when I do motivate myself to drag my limbs out of bed that extra hour or two earlier, and take to the task of getting dressed (see Tom Southam’s piece in several layers of Lycra and merino that feel a lot tighter than before, riding in winter isn’t as bad as some would have you believe.
In fact, I feel quite smug riding my all-weather tyres with new mudguards and frame pump intact. That extra espresso is compulsory but gives you more kick as you hit the country lanes. That ‘freshness’ on the face from those north winds aren’t so painful, as long as you’re core is keeping warm and the cadence is good. And then once you break past the lingering memory of a warm bed and catch a rhythm, one finds that you can actually ride.
All images © Ben Ingham
Indeed, the bare trees and shivering hedgerows allow you to see more of the landscape and the low winter sun can be absolutely beautiful (see Matt Seaton’s Tales of the Winter Rider. When you arrive home the warmth of a hot shower or bath and a well earned coffee is sublime. Then there is the satisfaction of knowing your friends/rivals have stayed in bed and you can ride strong into the spring with big lungs and good legs.