8 Reasons to ride a bike in winter
Cycling in winter, or rather cycling in winter, can provide no less joyful emotions than in the warm season. Many beginner cyclists are interested in the question – is it possible to ride a bike in winter? We will answer that yes, even more – it is necessary!
Cycling in winter has more benefits than you think! In this article, we will tell you about the mental and physical health benefits of cycling in winter, how to use a bike in the colder months, and how to insulate yourself so as not to harm your health.
With the first snow, or even a cold snap, many cyclists hide their bikes on the balcony or away in the pantry. This decision is motivated by a lot of inconveniences associated with the operation of a two-wheeled vehicle, as well as red tape with the right clothes. However, not everything is as frightening as it appears at first sight.
If you are afraid that your two-wheeled friend will break from riding in the cold or snow, we recommend buying a bike for winter, such as a fatbike. It has wide wheels that have enough contact patch not to fall in the snow and fall. The lack of proper cycling clothes, gloves, shoes and other accessories should not worry you.
After all, you are not going to set any world records and overcome distances compared to seasonal ones. Winter cycling has more of a fun component, so don’t get bogged down in trifles. And to motivate you further, we have collected as many as 8 reasons why you should get your ass off the couch and put it on a bike.
1. Cold air is a great motivator
Feeling tired and sleepy all the time? Go outside, feel the cold wind on your face, which will cheer you up and give you energy.
And although this method will not replace the morning cup of strong coffee, we believe that even a short walk outside together with physical activity can fill the body with new strength.The chilly air helps to keep the entire body in excellent form, from the physical burning of calories to the mental boost that comes with improving mood and reducing stress.
Many cyclists have stated that winter’s cold air encourages them to pedal more diligently. You will not feel this on a hot summer day when you may simply stop somewhere and admire nature’s beauty.
2. Being outside prevents Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Lower temperatures and shorter daylight hours make many people feel depressed, a condition described as Seasonal Affective Disorder. People who are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety on a regular basis are more prone to SAD symptoms, but even those who are feeling well are at risk of the winter blues. Especially those who live in colder and darker environments at this time of year.
Simply getting outdoors can help treat the symptoms of SAD as well as prevent its onset. Being active outdoors regularly throughout the year enables your body to stay in its already familiar biorhythm, preventing sudden surges in load and decline. Even on a cloudy day, you still get vitamin D from the sun. And even if most days of the week you can only go outside at night, you’ll still reap the benefits of cold weather cycling (mentioned in reason #1).
3. Night riding on familiar trails makes them interesting in a new way
We experience ourselves that we start to get a bit idle when it gets dark outside as early as 5 o’clock in the evening. For some of us, working during the winter months can mean long days spent away from home in the dark.
It’s hard to get motivated to get out and start riding in the cold, dark world, but once you get out there, you’ll find that a night ride is actually quite enjoyable and has many benefits on its side.
If you ride long ridden snowy trails, especially at night, you will notice that they have become completely unfamiliar and interesting in a new way. Finally, even in summer, few people have the opportunity to ride at night, because during the long daylight hours there is no strength for anything else. Winter cycling is a good reason to diversify your activity.
4. It will make you mentally stronger
It is not easy to brave the cold and potential discomfort when you are resting outdoors for hours in the middle of winter.
Staying and riding your bike in a controlled climate or gym seems very appealing when the temperature drops and the weather becomes less hospitable.
Building up the courage to ride in disappointing weather will not only make you stronger but more capable of enduring difficult situations while riding under any circumstances.
5. Riding in nature enhances physical activity
While you are gaining mental toughness outside in the cold, your body also becomes stronger than if it were working on a machine. No matter how intense you try to make your workout indoors, the natural environment will always have the advantage of unpredictability and conditions that simply cannot be replicated – for example, a steep, long climb with turns.
Your body will also become more adapted. It will have to work harder to maintain its core temperature and pump blood to your extremities, making your heart stronger and your body more resilient overall. You will burn more calories than making the same journey in more gentle conditions.
6. It will serve as a good memory and stories for friends
No one has ever said: “Man, that was a crazy trip on the bike share!”.
Yes, cycling in the winter is drastically different from cycling the rest of the year, but if you don’t ride outside in the winter, you’re missing out on another huge part of the equation – the experience of being out there, seeing different places and tackling different conditions.Some of my most memorable cycling trips have been in the winter. For example, riding to work on frozen sidewalks or riverbeds after the ice appeared on it.
Joining the same crazy people for small races or group rides on weekends, and then discussing them with a glass of wine (whiskey, moonshine) around the campfire, I spent the most interesting weekends of my life.
7. It’s not as hard as you think
One of the main excuses I usually hear from people who don’t use all winter is “I don’t have the equipment”. Of course, having a fatbike (and in places where the whole mountains are covered with snow it is a must), a set of warm, modern and technological cycling equipment make the trip really surprisingly comfortable. But I was riding in winter for a few years before I had any of this and I had a childhood passion.
Go with what you already have. No fat bike? There are probably many places near you where you can go on a regular bike, slightly lowering the tire pressure. No winter cycling shoes for contact pedals? Put ordinary platform shoes, believe me, it will save your life more than once when you slip. No special cycling clothes? So ride in your daily clothes (unless of course it is a cotton shirt and thin jeans), taking care of its extra layer.
8. It is much more fun
Yes, riding outside in winter is generally more difficult than dragging yourself to the loom or lying down until spring. But that doesn’t sound very fun, does it? I know a lot of people don’t like the cold. I don’t sit still well, so as long as I am constantly moving, I’m good.
But the truth is, it’s not that bad once you set your mind to it. Give it a chance and I am sure you will enjoy it more than you expect. Just imagine yourself drifting on your bike.
How you brake with the front wheel. How you fly into a snowdrift. Could you do that in summer on an asphalt road or stone path without harming your own health and the integrity of your bike.
Well, now you probably think that cycling in winter is not such a bad idea. And while the impressions from what you have read have not left you, quickly grab your bike and experience all the sensations for yourself.
So, there you have it – eight reasons why you should give winter cycling a try. From the improved fitness and health benefits to the increased fun factor, there are plenty of good reasons to pedal through the cold months. Just be sure to dress appropriately and take some extra care when riding in ice and snow. With a little preparation and care, winter cycling can be a great way to keep active all year round.