Cycling in the winter is a great way to get your heart pumping and really get in a brisk exercise session. There is nothing wrong with cycling in winter as long as you take a few precautionary steps so that you are safe. All you need is the right clothes and the right frame of mind and you will be good to go. Especially when you're training for a marathon, staying in shape or just like to sport a lot (like me).
There is no reason that you can't cycle in winter unless of course the roads are just not safe than it should be avoided. Taking precautions will help to make the experience enjoyable.
The Right Clothes
Cycling in the winter period is a bit different than cycling in summer in that the right clothes have to be worn to protect you from the elements but that you can also maneuver in AND that is safe to wear while cycling. For obvious reasons you need to have clothing that is somewhat tight fitting so that it does not interfere with the motion of the bike yet it has to be warm enough to protect you from the cold.
You will need a waterproof under garment that can wick sweet away from your body (yes you will still work up a sweet). You will need an outer garment that works well for cycling. Most cycle shops will sell outerwear for the daring winter cycling crews.
You need shoes that you can add insulated socks too. Headgear to keep your head from losing heat and a pair of good gloves that you still can manage some dexterity in.
Winter weather can be really hard on an exposed drive train so you do want to be sure that you perform extra maintenance on your bike to keep things running smoothly. Be sure all your tires are in top condition.
Start Out Slowly
It does take a little getting used to especially if you live in one of the colder regions. You want to start out slowly to build confidence. You can drive half way to where you are going and pull your bike out to ride the rest of the way or you can hop on public transportation and do the same thing.
You can try it out for a couple of days a week until you get used to it and only do half trips or quarter trips till you feel confident. Keep in mind that it is going to be cold the first few minutes but you will quickly warm up as you are riding and once you get started you will be fine.
The biggest difference between cycling during the winter month and cycling during the warmer months is that there are more hazards you need to look out for on the road. Slick spots, salt, sand gravel all the things that you can find on a winter road are a potential hazard but they are all something you can easily get used to avoiding. With a little practice cycling in winter will become as second nature to you as cycling the other three seasons.
Stay in shape!
Like I wrote in the beginning, if you want to stay in shape during the winter month' (maybe your baseball coach instructed the team to or you're going on skiing holidays soon) then cycling is really good fun and good to do. Take the precautions and you'll enjoy every minute on your bike! Other sports you can do to stay in shape during the winter period are cardio boxing, row training and running of course. Although running in the winter has the same precautions as cycling in winter!