Special thanks to the Chiropractic Sports Institute for this article!
Its winter time, do we put away our bikes and pull out the snow skis? No, we live in southern California which means we can ride AND ski! Cycling is a great cross trainer for hitting the slopes. It not only works on the cardiovascular system which enables you to complete those top to bottom runs without feeling as if you need to plug yourself into an O2 tank. It also strengthens your skiing muscles, the lower legs and pelvis. However, since the weather is cooler and we have light winds during this time of the year, there are certain criteria necessary to follow if you want to stay safe and healthy while on your bike. According to Professional cycling coach, Davis Phinney, you should properly prepare yourself and your bike for winter time riding by following these tips.
- Ride with a friend or group. Sharing conversation as well as a draft helps the miles go by. But group rides must be cohesive. Don’t let them degenerate into hammerfests. You shouldn’t do any hard, fast riding when the temperature is below 50F degrees (10C). Instead, use winter to accumulate base miles.
- Head into the wind to start each ride. Get it out of the way early when you’re still fresh. If you work up a sweat, having a tailwind on the return trip will decrease the chill.
- Don’t overdress. If you’re not chilly in the first few minutes, you have probably worn too much and will overheat.
- Start with hot drinks in freezing temperatures and use insulated bottle covers to increase the time before liquids turn to slush.
- Be wary of shaded corners, which may hide ice or slippery water.
- Wear light, bright colors to help motorists see you on dim days.
- Carry two tubes. Patching a tube with freezing fingers isn’t easy, should a second flat occur.
- Don’t stop for long, if at all. Resumption of the windchill will make you cold, and you may be unable to shake the shivers for the rest of the ride.
- Ride short on frigid days. As a rule, you can be fairly comfortable for 90 minutes in subfreezing temperatures. But things may deteriorate quickly after that, particularly if you have raised a sweat.
- Take time to recover after riding. Winter takes more out of you. Because of the elements and your lower fitness level, a 50-mile winter ride feels like 80 miles.
- Be extra careful when you’ve been sick. Don’t try to make up a week of lost training by riding before you’re completely well. There is plenty of time to get back on track when spring arrives.
- If you live where winters are mild, you still need to go easy. Use winter for recovery. Don’t get caught in the flying-in-January, dead-by-June trap.
By following these tips, taking your supplements and eating good, you can continue your fitness level through the winter and spring and keep the pedals turning.