It’s tough enough to ride during the cold, wet and dark winter days – with a little bit of prep and planning your riding could be a lot easier, warmer and more enjoyable.
WORDS : FRANS LE ROUX | IMAGES : OAKPICS
OFF THE BIKE
Yes, you won’t be caught wearing these elsewhere, but on a chilly ride nothing beats a thermal baselayer. They are perfect for fitting underneath your cycling shirt.
+ RAIN JACKET
This might seem logical, but you get rain jackets and then you get rain jackets. Most of them will do a fine job keeping the wind out, while only some will repel water. Make sure you buy the correct one.
#Sockdoping is a thing and most socks will easily increase your street cred. Winter socks are something different and even though they might look less flashy, they are there to help keep your ankles and toes warm.
+ SHOE COVERS
Usually seen on the feet of those flying roadies, they offer further protection against wind chill and they fit neatly over your existing mountain bike shoes.
+ LONG FINGER GLOVES
Once more, plenty of gloves are available but only a few will insulate your precious hands and keep them doing important stuff like braking and changing gears.
+ WATERPROOF COVER FOR YOUR ESSENTIALS
A simple zip lock bag could do the trick but there are other alternatives to keep your cash, phone and keys dry.
+ REFLECTIVE CLOTHING
You might look like a traffic officer, but these will provide even more visibility to safely reaching your trails.
+ PUNCTURE KIT
A Co2 canister, adapter, some plugs and a multi-tool will go a long way to get you back home. No one likes the person who walks next to his bike because of something silly such as a flat tyre.
ON THE BIKE
We’ve been hammering on about mudguards forever, and we firmly believe they are the best cheap winter upgrade you can make to your bike. As polarising as bar-ends, mudguards will keep the muck out of your eyes and your kit cleaner too.
+ WET CHAIN LUBE
During the odd occasion that it does rain in South Africa, a decent wet chain lube can do wonders to prolong the life of your chain and cassette. Before applying a new layer always make sure to remove the old lube first.
Its dark pretty much the entire winter. Light up your life and your bike by investing in some proper cycling lights. We are not referring to those R50-jobbies which no one can see while you’re riding. Proper visibility is key and a bright set of front and rear lights will go a long way to ensure your safety.
A different season calls for some proper bike maintenance: It’s a major pain in the you-know-what to clean your bike. During winter and especially after a muddy and wet ride, you have to clean your prized steed. Something as simple as making sure your draining hole is open and clear will ensure all the excess water
will escape your frame. DON’T use a highpressure washer if you can avoid it. I’ve heard many a mechanic complain that this only forces all the gunk into your fork, shock and other sealed places. Bearings take a massiven beating and a bearing service should be considered if your ride or race was excessively muddy. A quick rinse (if you don’t have water restrictions) after a ride will go a long way to ensure the longevity of your drivetrain.