Some inspirational thoughts on winter cycling commutes

Let’s face it, going outside in wheel autumn the winter is rarely an exciting prospect unless you’re making a snow angel. Some of you may already be reaping the benefits of commuting by cycling. Here are some thoughts to keep you going during the bleakest months.

No one is sneezing on the back of your neck

Unless you’re driving to work, the chances are you need to use public transport. Travelling en mass is great and relieves some of the strain on your local transport network. But it does also mean personal space can be compromised. The truth is being sneezed on at close proximity is no one’s idea of a pleasant experience and (stereotyping alert), since Brits are so polite, it’s a commuter crime that seldom gets reprimanded. The solution’s simple: get out there on your bike and enjoy the fresh air and personal space.

Arrive warmed up and pumped up

You’ll stand out from your colleagues when you arrive warmed up and ready to start working while everyone else is queueing up for a coffee and waiting for the caffeine to kick in. Ok, may be you will have cold hands and feet but if you’ve worn the appropriate clothing, it shouldn’t be too bad and the body will very quickly take care of them once you’re indoors.

It’s impressive

Don’t be the person to arrive half drenched, shaking the water off your umbrella on your way in and moaning about the rain. Instead, occupy the moral high ground and arrive on your bike, energised and enjoying a discreet boast about how you just braved the elements. Some external motivation is always helpful to keep you going when the weather really gets grim.

Cycling in WinterYou will toughen up

If you continually cycle in the winter then everything you do outdoors will eventually start to feel easier. Be sensible about clothing though; we aren’t recommending braving the cold in a t-shirt and shorts.

 

There’s no need to change those summer routines

Why change your travel routine when you can just carry on cycling to work all year round? There’s a risk of withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop; you may experience phantom cycling on your chair or signalling while walking to the store room. Jokes aside, combining physical activity with travel is how most people keep active in their busy lives so keep calm and carry on.

Catch the sunriseSunrise Over London

Make your morning a magical one. Catch the sunrise on a clear winter’s morning and give yourself a moment to simply enjoy being alive. Set off early enough to factor in a breakfast break somewhere with a great view. London Bridge is a superb spot to stop and admire the sun rising over Tower Bridge. It’s the perfect moment to ponder that novel you haven’t yet written or that dream bike you’re going to build one day…

Tune in to next week’s blog for things to consider to make your winter cycling commute safer and more enjoyable. Have you got any other inspirations you draw from for your winter cycling commutes? Let us know in the comments section.

RCA (Random Cycling Acronyms)

Question

Let’s use an adage to justify this blog: you don’t know what you don’t know. The cycling universe is huge and there’s lots for each of us to discover. So how many of these RCA’s do you know or can you work out?

Let’s face it. These days there’s precious little you can’t get an answer to with a few clicks on your keyboard so you can almost certainly complete this short game very quickly with a search engine’s help. But think of the satisfaction if you get there without! So make like the interweb’s not there and see how you do. Two notes of caution: one of these acronyms is completely made up (just for the sheer thrill of it), and yes, there are two LT’s, it’s not a typo.

In time honoured tradition, the answers are at the very bottom of this blog so be careful with your scrolling if you don’t want to spoil the fun.

Here goes then. Good luck!

 

WOMBATS, ECF, LBS, OEM, VAM, ERD, CV, YACB, CX, LT, ITT, NOS, GC, ASL, LT, OLD, TA

 

Answers in

.

.

.

.

.

3

.

.

.

.

.

2

.

.

.

.

.

1

.

.

.

.

.

WOMBATS – Women’s Mountain Bike & Tea Society
ECF – European Cyclists’ Federation
LBS – Local Bike Shop
OEM – Original Equipment Manufacturer
VAM – Velocità Ascensionale Media (in English: average ascent speed)
ERD – Effective Rim Diameter
CV – Classic & Vintage
YACB – Yet Another Cycling Blog [completely made up]
CX – Cyclocross
LT – Lactate Threshold
ITT – Individual Time Trial
NOS – New Old Stock
GC – General Classification
ASL – Advance Stop Line
LT – Left Turn
OLD – Over Locknut Dimension
TA – Through Axle

 

Let us know in the comment section how you got on and if you found out anything interesting on the way!

What to do if you want to ride your bike but can’t

Some days we just can’t ride our bikes. Maybe it’s an injury, maybe the roads are icy, your bike’s in need of repair or you are just resting for a big ride the next day. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of cycling related pastimes to keep you entertained.

bike-balloons

Doodle-a-bike

Doodling is not reserved for boring lessons in school or whilst taking a long phone call. Doodle away with your wildest imagination. Doodle a whacky bike, a bike with too many wheels, a bike that flies, a bike that rides on something that replaces the wheels or just a normal bike; you will be surprised how many people can’t draw a normal bike without one in front of them.

Read our blogs

Well, you’re reading this blog instead of cycling anyway, so why not read our other blogs too? Of course there are also plenty other sources of cycling related material that will quench your cycling thirst.

Plan a routeroute

Perhaps you’re planning your next cycling challenge or thinking of trying a new commuting route. Or maybe you just started cycling and don’t know the most favourable routes to destinations. Plan some routes in your off-bike time. Use a paper map, online resources or discussion with cycling buddies.

Bike maintenance

Your bike needs your TLC or it’ll start crying (or at least making funny noises) before throwing in the towel completely. Don’t be that person who rides around with a squeaky chain. Check out our two previous blogs on how to breathe new life into your bike again and the must haves for home mechanics.

Visualisation

Close your eyes and think about where you could have been cycling. Is it a busy buzz around town, on rolling hills or gentle glide along the seaside? I guess you could call this day dreaming. Call it meditation and you might get away with it at work.

Watch other people cycling

If you can’t do the visualisation thing then why not watch other people cycling? You can do that on the computer, TV, at a race or just standing on the street corner.

Self reflection

What are you even doing not riding your bike? Do a serious evaluation what’s stopping you. If you are injured, think about how to avoid injuries; if the roads are icy, is it time to consider a move to a different country?; if your bike is broken, then I will refer you to point four of this blog; if you are resting for a big ride the next day, then read point three and start packing what you need for the ride.

cat-and-bike

Here’s a cat visualising cycling. What do you get up to when you are desperate to ride your bike but can’t? Let us know in the comments section.

 

 

 

 

How to love riding in the rain

water dropsWe can debate all day whether or not we get more rain in the UK and the whole business of pessimism. Raindrops will fall, we will ride our bikes but it doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the two together. There are many ways to make riding in the rain more enjoyable.

Mudguards

They just make sense, they shield the bike from most road grit, you won’t get a trail of dirt up your back and the cyclist behind will silently thank you too. Some bikes are compatible with the traditional full length mudguards and if not, most bikes are catered for by clip on mudguards. Upside down your mudguards make two massive smiles and you’ll be adding your own once you’ve seen the difference they make to riding in the rain!

Enough of summer

There’s no denying summer’s over. But for the cyclist, the heat can be far from ideal. Cycling can be warm work and in many ways the cooler (and even wetter) months can be far better suited to it. And you’ll find the cycle lanes and bike parking suddenly look a whole lot less crowded too.

Waterproof / water resistant clothing

You don’t have to spend loads of money on technical clothing. Some sort of waterproof or water resistant jacket will go a long way and waterproof over-trousers are super practical too. To avoid boiling in your jacket, look for one with ventilation features like underarm zips or settle for a water resistant jacket that is more breathable. If it’s a great jacket, you will be glad of the rainy opportunities to wear it.

Your bike will thank you for the wash

Bike maintenance and bike washing should be a regular occurence but if they aren’t then a rain shower might help clean some of the grime off. (Don’t count on it though; a clean bike getting wet is going to attract dirt so perhaps just make sure your bike’s very dirty in the first place!)

Have food waiting for you at the endall gone

No matter how grim your rainy ride may be, looking forward to a warm shower and a filling meal at the end will make it all worthwhile. Have a homemade cottage pie waiting for you or detour to your local fish and chip shop on the last leg of your journey.

 

So if we’ve not managed to convince you with all of the above, consider this: the majority of cyclists looking out at a rainy day may well ditch the bike and head for the tube or bus. Keep the resolve and get on your bike and we guarantee you a sense of achievement (not to mention the moral high ground) when you reach your destination!