Although we are experiencing a superb Indian summer here in Holland, we can’t pretend winter isn’t coming. You’ll find lots of articles and tips these days on what you could be doing to make the most of the off season. I found these tips all boil down to one thing; winter is the time to move outside your cycling comfort zone.
Mix it up
The popular thought is to work on your cycling fitness by going for long rides while keeping a steady heart rate. Making these so called base miles, however, will get boring, so mix them up with other exercises to keep yourself entertained. You could try some climb training by picking a good hill and repeating the climb until your time plunges. Or get your hands on a mountain bike for some off road cycling. It will improve your (road)bike handling and adrenaline is great for stiff winter legs. Plus you will discover roads and landscapes you wouldn’t have seen on your road biking trips.
But there are plenty of other approaches to choose from. You’ll find simple but effective ideas for a winter cycling plan in this video by the Global Cycling Network if you want to think it through properly. And check out these winter workouts from Bicyling, who don’t believe in long cold rides to get you through the cold months to come.
Choose your focus
Total womens cycling (TWC) have put together five things to focus on over winter, a good read. I will take them up on two of these points. The first one is building up Core Strength. Manly because you always need core strength, no matter what you are doing. And a great way tot get some, besides the very sensible exercises TWC propose, is yoga! So just sign up for some Yoga classes and your cycling will improve, too easy right?
The second area I’ll be looking to get some improvement is handling & group riding. First step: singing in for the Sheroes course organized by Strongher. They gathered a few experienced female cyclists who will teach the participants all about leading a group ride, by sharing their own experiences, and going for a ride together.
If you have a good look around, you will find there are plenty sessions you can sign up for in your region. Off season is not a time to sit still. Gone are the days of storing your bike away for the winter. These next few months are all about finding new ways to spark your cycling enthusiasm. Stepping outside your comfort zone and trying out some of the many tips presented here.
I’ll end this post with what I think is the best winter cycling tip anyone can get. Get yourself some good winter gear and have hot chocolate when you get home.