“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. It is a saying pretty well-known in the cycling community, and from Erik Kleinhans’ first-hand experience, it rings 100% true.
When the sun rises late and sets early, it quickly becomes a difficult task to stay motivated and make the time to keep the fitness high, especially if you live in winter rainfall areas like Cape Town. Fortunately if riding your bike is your job, you have more daytime to train, but when it rains for a few days in a row, how do you keep the pedals going?
For me, clothing is the starting point. Luckily riding for a European team, the Topeak-Ergon boys order plenty of winter kit from our supplier, Canyon. I don’t need it as much as the others who often deal with sub-zero temperatures, but without a doubt, if you can dress warmly, and block the rain, it actually becomes fun and exciting to go out for a ride.
Added extras in the clothing department which are a must for me during the winter months include a 100% waterproof rain jacket, winter gloves, shoe-covers and headgear. A product which we don’t often see in SA but which I highly recommend is a pair of 100% waterproof rain pants. If all else fails go to the hardware store and buy a waterproof worker pants, they work like a charm!
Gear yourself up. There are so many cool gadgets on the market these days, especially lights, night rides is a great way to keep it exciting during winter. They are also super important to keep you safe and visible. And don’t be shy to give fenders a try to keep your feet and ass dry.
When I know the weather will be bad for a few days, I try and find out what my cycling mates are up to; it makes the kilometres go by a bit faster, and it is a major plus if you know someone is waiting for you.
The cold months give you a great opportunity to do some different workouts. Going for a run takes less time and is slightly easier in the dark. Another favourite is some gym-work, it is something I also do during the peak season to help build some strength which I find could be really beneficial, as well as a core or yoga class. Then with the advancement of the WattBikes, it is easy to get a good workout without going outdoors.
The best motivational trick is still to set yourself a few goals during the winter months. Pay that entry fee, book the accommodation, invite your mates… then you can’t turn back and you sure can’t let any of them beat you!
And when all else fails… Light the kaggel, sooth the throat with some gluhwhein, and hope tomorrow is a sunny day!