Bicycling in Cold Weather

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December 06, 2022
Edward Smith

Tips for Cycling in Winter Conditions

Don’t let the cold weather keep you indoors this winter season. One of the most beautiful times to ride a bike in California is during the winter. However, it can also be miserable if you are not prepared. You can follow a few essential rules to ensure your ride is enjoyable. The five tips below will help keep you safe and warm for the winter cycling season.

1 – Layer Up

Dress to be cold for the first several minutes of your ride. If you start out warm, your body can overheat. Our bodies generate heat during exercise, which is why you feel warmer after a few minutes of working out. The harder you push, the hotter your body gets. That’s why it is essential to dress to stay warm and do so with layers to remove as you heat up.

2 – Cover Up Your Extremities 

While it is essential to keep your core warm, keeping your fingers, arms, legs, and toes warm is also crucial. Your legs are vital for cycling, your arms are needed to control and steer your bike, and your fingers are essential to shift and brake.

Try various gloves at different temperatures to see what keeps your fingers mobile and warm. When it comes to foot warmth, shoe covers are a game changer. For most of your ride, your feet are exposed to the wind, and thick socks won’t be enough. Shoe covers protect your toes from the cold air and keep your feet dry without adding much bulk or weight to your cycling gear.

3 – Wind Chill and Ride Speed

Biking at 6 mph is a lot warmer than at 20 mph because of the differences in wind chill and wind speed you experience on the bike. A fast-speed ride can feel like riding into 25 mph winds, even if the wind speed is just 5 mph. But your work rate will keep you warm at lower speeds without extra wind speed.

Think about where you are riding. A bike trail covered by trees on both sides is much warmer than an open road. Road rides are usually exposed to the breeze, whereas rides along the mountain or on a bike path protect you from the wind.

4 – Pack Soft Food 

Your body needs more fuel when riding in cold weather. Studies show that our bodies burn more energy during cold temperatures due to the constant need to keep our organs warm and our body temperature stable. You need to eat more food to meet your body’s demands in the cold.

Pack food that is easy to eat and unaffected by extreme cold. Sandwiches, cookies, fruit, rice cakes, and potatoes are great for winter cycling. The softer the food, the better it is. Avoid dense or hard food, especially those that can quickly freeze. Biting into a frozen energy bar during a winter ride may not be appetizing.

5 – Drink Plenty of Water

Bicycling in the winter can alter your body’s hydration needs. Depending on the intensity of your ride, you may not need to drink as much water because you are not really sweating. However, during a ride in 30°F temperatures, you may sweat and need to hydrate more than usual due to the dry temperatures.

Here are a few basic rules to follow for hydrating in cold temperatures.

  • Find out your average hydration rate. This is about 12-16 ounces of fluids per hour, equivalent to one water bottle.
  • Decrease your fluid intake during non-sweaty, low-intensity rides
  • Increase your water intake during high-intensity, sweaty rides

In summary, winter is one of the most beautiful times to be outdoors. To cycle in cold weather conditions, remember to wear proper winter gear, be flexible with where you ride and alter your nutrition and hydration strategies.

Watch YouTube Video: 8 Essential Cold Weather Cycling Clothing Tips. The video below explains what you should wear for winter cycling to stay warm and cozy.

Diamond Springs Bicycle Accident Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Diamond Springs bicycle accident attorney. If you have been injured in an accident in Diamond Springs, call our experienced injury lawyers at for free and friendly advice at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400. You can also reach out to us online.

See how we have successfully helped our clients obtain Verdicts and Settlements.

Image by Susanne Jutzeler, Schweiz, from Pixabay

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