My thoughts and attitude towards winter cycling

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
Hi again.
Every autumn I try to get my mindset in the right place for the onset of winter riding. It starts off really well, and for the first few weeks of the dark cold wet nights, my enthusiasm for cycling helps me through. After that though , I tend to struggle along ,and my weekly miles suffer.
I've got three bikes. Ones a rather nice Specialized road bike which I'm reluctant to use in the winter. It cost a few ££s and I want to keep it the best I can by only using when the weather is only half decent. The other is my Boardman mountain bike. It's not in the best of health. It creaks just like my knees and no matter what I've done to it ,I just can't get it to run silently or get the gears to work perfectly.
The last bike is my favourite out of the 3. It's my old 80s steel framed Peugeot. It's heavy, old fashioned and has old school gears, but to me it looks amazing in its immaculate red paint finish and it's amazing ride qualities.
I'm a bit reluctant to use this too in the winter as I'm trying to keep it well preserved. So I'm left in this quandary of not having a bike that I'm fully happy with to use during the winter.
After 2 weeks of not going out cycling though ,I thought enough is enough. I'm starting to get really miserable not enjoying getting out there ,and have decided to use my Peugeot as my winter bike. I've choosen the Peugeot because it's simple to maintain and that it's got frame eyelets for proper full mudgards to fit. Yesterday I invested in some rather nice quality "flinger" full mudguards to protect me and the bike from all that the roads can throw at me. Fitting was really easy apart from cutting down the stainless steel stays. I went through 10 hacksaw blades trying to cut them down !! Once fitted though, they really do feel top quality and have proved to be quite effective on today's muddy ride. After having 2 weeks off from cycling because of the rubbish weather ,it's made me realize how much I've missed my cycling. It's made me think that just because the weather's rubbish at the moment, you shouldn't just moth ball cycling for it, because you want to keep your bikes looking there best. I've realized the bikes are there to be used ,and to be enjoyed ,and not to wrapped them up in cotton wool whenever the road conditions turn for the worst. If I was cycling for commuting to work ect I think I would feel different ,because cycling has more of a purpose (a means to an end) but cycling for pleasure often gives the cyclist more excuses not to go out for that ride at night after work, because they don't have to if they don't want to. It's very easy easy to fall into this trap this time of year with the weather as it is , so hopefully with my mindset rebooted I will continue to cycle regularly now throughout the winter months and keep my fitness levels up.
All the very best ,
Johnny
 
#5 #9
 

ianbarton

Senior Member
About four years ago I bought a cheap BTwin from Decathlon, which was in a sale. It did well through two winters but wasn't as comfortable as my Defy 2. Because the bike was quite cheap, the components weren't all that durable, especially in Winter and I spent money on replacing gears, chain, etc. Two years ago I bought a PlanetX in one of their end of year sales for not much more than the BTwin. Specs weren't all that far below the Defy and it's much more comfortable for me that the BTwin. It will be starting its third winter in 2019. I have had to replace cassettes as I would expect when riding it through wet muddy conditions. If it only lasts another year, it will be money well spent.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
I use my best bikes, rain or shine. Keep them clean and they don't suffer in the least. My Pinnacle survived 6 years of all season commuting, and still looks like the day I bought it.

20 minutes once a week on the commuter - clean, adjust, wax the paint, lube as required, plated or polished bits got a quick spray of ACF50, job done. It was hardly onerous, in fact, it had an extra benefit, as by touching every part of the bike I knew instantly if so etching was loose, broken, misaligned etc, and could prevent a future breakdown by taking quick remedial action.

Nowt so useless as a means of transport that I couldn't ride in the bad weather, which is most days in the UK.
 
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Tail End Charlie

Well, write it down boy ......
Location
Altrincham
The one thing upon which I insist on all my bikes are full mudguards. These make keeping a bike clean so much easier and reduce the speed at which components degrade, which in turn, means you're more likely to ride whatever the weather. The stripe up the back isn't a good look.
I also recommend fixed as mentioned above, less to go wrong and it's a great way to improve fitness. (I've actually just got back after a quick ride on mine). Because it was pretty cheap, I don't mind going out in grotty weather on it and as a result ride as much in winter as I do in summer..
 

Will Spin

Senior Member
I carry on in the winter, though my mileage does drop off. I usually find that once I get out it isn't quite as bad as I thought it was going to be. This week for example we had heavy rain on Tuesday so I stayed in, but by Wednesday I had cabin fever so had to go out despite a forecast of more heavy rain and strong winds. I really enjoyed the ride, about 30 miles, met some friends for coffee and arrived home for lunch not quite as wet as I thought I was going to be. I have two "winter" bikes with full SKS mudguards, but I have to say that in my experience riding in wet conditions significantly increases the wear and tear on things like rims, brake pads, headsets, chains, cassettes and tyres.
 
The one thing upon which I insist on all my bikes are full mudguards. These make keeping a bike clean so much easier and reduce the speed at which components degrade, which in turn, means you're more likely to ride whatever the weather. The stripe up the back isn't a good look.
I also recommend fixed as mentioned above, less to go wrong and it's a great way to improve fitness. (I've actually just got back after a quick ride on mine). Because it was pretty cheap, I don't mind going out in grotty weather on it and as a result ride as much in winter as I do in summer..
The one thing I insist on not having, is mudguards. They are an absolute liability. If you hit something sizeable, they will put you over the bars at worst, wreck a tyre at best. Decent mudguards have a breakaway function built in, but if that is utilised, it negates the point. I’ll use an ass saver, and a stand clear rear guard on my Hybrids, but the only people who would be affected by not having tyre suckers fitted, need to get the hell away from my rear tyre ( wheel suckers ). Some velodromes insist on them, so then #5 and #9 applies ( get out on the road during the winter months ).
 

I like Skol

Hold my beer and watch this....
The one thing I insist on not having, is mudguards. They are an absolute liability. If you hit something sizeable, they will put you over the bars at worst, wreck a tyre at best. Decent mudguards have a breakaway function built in, but if that is utilised, it negates the point. I’ll use an ass saver, and a stand clear rear guard on my Hybrids, but the only people who would be affected by not having tyre suckers fitted, need to get the hell away from my rear tyre ( wheel suckers ). Some velodromes insist on them, so then #5 and #9 applies ( get out on the road during the winter months ).
I have never heard such b0ll0cks. Nothing dangerous about correctly fitted mudguards, and I have used them in some pretty rough terrain during my time.
 

ColinJ

It's a puzzle ...
I remember seeing a photo in Cycling Weekly of a rider who was in a coma after he had gone over the bars and landed on his head due to an acorn (!) jamming his front wheel/mudguard.

I had a conversation with a bike shop owner who had stopped selling mudguards after his best mate was killed in a similar accident. (Though I'm sure that it wasn't an acorn that time!)

Having said that ... I think mudguards with Secu-clips and fitted with adequate clearance are perfectly safe.
 
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