The wonders of winter riding
There aren’t many of us who truly love everything about winter. As the temperatures around the UK have plummeted dramatically in recent weeks a fair few of us will have been grumbling about the chill in the air. But all this doesn’t mean there aren’t some great things about winter too.
Ride to eat
Let’s face it, one of the best things about riding a bike is the fitness benefit. It’s good for the heart, it’s good for the legs, and, boy, is it friendly to the appetite. A good two hour ride in winter will neutralise at least one mince pie with lashings of brandy butter and a mulled wine, with plenty of wiggle room for gloating. The more you ride, the more you can eat, and few would disagree that winter food is the very best. Don’t let it get out of hand though. You don’t want to lose sight of your targets or find yourself struggling to fit into your favourite jersey come hot cross bun season in the spring!
When just getting out of bed and out onto the frozen roads on a cold Sunday morning is enough of an achievement, perceived performance on winter rides is not so important. A few hours of raising the heart rate and pumping the legs with good mates and good chat, followed by the all important cafe stop, are all you really need to feel you’ve done something worthwhile. You can chuck in a sprint or climbing effort from time to time, but as long as you’re out and maintaining or building up your fitness, you’re doing good.
One of the most popular things to do while the good carbon racing bike is in hibernation, is to try out an alternative discipline. Cyclocross is flying at the moment and is proven to be a great way to improve road riding skills while having heaps of fun at the same time. If you’re new to cyclocross or need the right bike to make a good go of it, check out the World Championship-winning Specialized Crux.
Adventure - Bike Parks
Another discipline to throw yourself at, quite literally, is mountain-biking, and where better to test yourself than on the MTB meccas that are Bike Parks? Bike park wales being one such location Built by riders for riders, the park is designed to be accessible for all abilities. Laid out like a ski resort only with no snow, it features some of the very best downhill and lift-assisted single track trails in the UK, and there is even a family-specific loop. Making use of the uplift on a cold wet day can be the difference between a fun day out and flipping hard graft. The best thing about it is that it is never finished, so you and your mates can keep going back and testing yourselves on the new treats the park has to offer. There are other great parks around the country too, from Swinley Forest, to Flyup 417 & Black Mountain Cycle Centre.
Finally, we can’t help but love those days when it’s just you, your bike and the cold sun showering glitter all over the frosted countryside. When the last thing that is expected is clear, uninterrupted sunlight, its presence blesses every ride to benefit from it – and is a catalyst for the release of endorphins. There are lots of reasons why winter might just be our new guilty pleasure.
Bike Park Ready
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