It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in and the temperature is falling. have you given any serious thought to riding through the winter months? One of the best reasons to ride through winter is that you burn more calories. So it’s a great way to prevent piling on the pounds and ensures that you are faster, fitter, and stronger come the spring. A dedicated winter bike is a great tool for the job, fortunately, all of our bikes are all-season capable and can be adapted for riding throughout the year. How to prepare your bike for Autumn-Winter rides is a guide to help you prepare your bike to cope with the elements.
Those fortunate enough to own multiple bikes will likely have a bike specifically designated for winter rides. Be it that old ‘best bike’ that’s now been relegated to winter duties or a bombproof winter hack bought specifically to keep your best bike, for best.
On the other hand, if you only have one bike, what do you do? Fortunately, there are some simple steps that you can take to make your bike a little more winter-friendly. Consequently improving your riding experience along the way. Here are our top tips for how to prepare your bike for the winter months.
Anyone who has ridden through winter will tell you that the roads can become a little grimy at this time of year. It’s common to experience surface water being sprayed up your back. As a result, you end up with a dirty stripe that seems impervious to most washing detergents. However, there is an antidote for this, mudguards! Love them or loathe them, they are incredibly effective at protecting bike, body, and clothing from the uncomfortable effects of road spray.
If you intend to partake of weekly club rides through the winter months mudguards are absolutely essential. Many clubs will insist on guards being fitted. After all, who wants to be sat behind someone whose back wheel is directing a constant stream of water over them? Moreover, if you do turn up for a club ride without mudguards you could find yourself relegated to the tail-end charlie position. Combine mudguards with waterproof socks and overshoes to experience enough warmth and comfort that you can almost forget about how cold or wet it may be.
The really great news is that if you own one of our current range of bikes almost every single one of them has built-in mounts for mudguards!
Sometimes fitting guards just isn’t enough. A good set of mudguards will provide decent coverage, but they don’t stop all the spray from hitting the unlucky recipient behind. Fitting a rear mudflap takes care of this. They can be purchased online in a variety of designs. Or if you’re feeling thrifty, why not make your own?
Mudflaps can be crafted from many objects, washing up bottles, old water bottles and even worn-out MTB tyres. Simply attach your ‘pièce de résistance’ to the bottom section of the guard using self-tapping screws.
The tyres, not you! With the additional grit and debris washed onto the winter roads, a good puncture-resistant tyre is your best friend. After all, who wants to be stuck at the roadside checking the tyre with frozen, fumbling fingers in the dark? If the frame has adequate clearance for mudguards and wider tyres opt for a wider tyre. You will benefit from extra grip and comfort. After all, winter rides are about clocking up the training miles rather than going full gas, right?
Check your tyre clearance
Almost every bike in our range is designed to accept mudguards. The Endurance family of road-optimised bikes offer a tyre clearance of 25mm when mudguards are fitted. The CGR/Gravel family of bikes offer compatibility with mudguards and tyres up to 40mm. Should you need clarification of what tyre size you can run with mudguards fitted, help is at hand. You can check out the FAQ section situated at the foot of the main page of each bike or contact us for assistance.
Lights, lights, baby
It could be argued that lights should be fitted year-round to ensure that you remain more visible at all times. What is definitely not up for debate is that with the hours of daylight being shorter, some decent lights are essential. Even if you are not going to be riding in full darkness, having your lights on during those grey days is highly recommended. Another top tip is to have a backup set of lights just in case you forget to charge them. Similarly for the reason that your battery run’s out or is on the blink (pun intended!).
Broadly speaking there are 2 types of lights. Those to be seen by or those to see. If your rides mainly encompass well-lit streets then the former is probably all you will ever need. However, if you regularly ride along country lanes or poorly lit roadways, a high powered front light of at least 800 lumens+ output is the best option. Just remember to dip the beam to avoid burning out other road users retinas!
Protect your ride
If the cables on the bike are routed externally they are extremely likely to come into contact with the paintwork. The most obvious spot is on the headtube when turning the handlebars causes the cables to chafe on the paintwork. To prevent damage to your pride and joy add some frame protection. You can purchase ready-made patch kits or apply helicopter/gorilla tape. This will protect your paintwork and reduce any cable rattles over uneven surfaces. While you’re at it, why not apply some to the crank arms to prevent any overshoe from chafing the chainset?
Keep it clean, keep it mean
Damp weather and road grime are a poor combination for your bike’s drivetrain. This is why keeping on top of maintenance after every ride is essential to maintain the bike’s efficiency. It’s a great idea to give the bike a rinse down after any wet ride. A good wash down with soapy water, rinse off, and then apply some lube to the drivetrain should keep everything ticking over nicely.
Frequently degreasing the chain and cassette before reapplying lube as part of your regular maintenance should also prevent ‘ghost shifts’. The occasional squirt of lube down the cables won’t hurt either to avoid them becoming sticky and inefficient.
Top Tip: When lubing the chain, pick the right lube to suit the conditions. Wax or dry lubes are great in summer but attract dirt and debris when the roads are wet. A good quality wet lube is water-resistant and won’t get washed off when riding through puddles etc.
We hope you’ve found our how to prepare your bike guide useful and feel a little more motivated to keep up your training through the winter. And remember, winter miles = summer smiles!! Got a handy winter tip of your own? Let us and our fellow readers know in the comments section below.
Tom Louge was a man who has a bike for every occasion. That was until he found the one bike to replace them all, the CGR SL. Read his story here.
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