Winter is not always the best season a cycling trying to sustain performance and motivation in the cold, the wet and lessened available daylight hours all make it a chore for the recreational cyclist or commuter alike in making their cycling rituals possible. This leaves us vulnerable to gaining a winter coat of increased weight and as the years gain on us makes it all a bigger task to shed when the warmer months arrive.
There are some things that can be considered that may make your winter months more enjoyable and keep you prepared for when it is more amicable to return to the road and have at least kept a reasonable level of fitness and the winter coat potentially to be the wearing of clothing and not increased midrif layers.
Take the bike first; if intending to hang in the dark corner of the shed have you thought of its condition? A good time to have your bike serviced in readiness for when you may well have the urge to ride again particularly on those sunny winter afternoons that occasionally beckon. There is real peace of mind getting back on a machine that is finely tuned even if the body is not. A good tradesman never blames his tools, and as cyclists we need to have the tools of the trade in fine operational condition.
There are many stationary bike trainers that are available that are folding and take up little space in the corner of the shed or wardrobe. Been looking for a legitimate reason to get the bike into the house this might be the break you were looking for. Setting up a trainer is not a big chore and the benefit is having the bike you normally ride lessens any risk of body damage if the bike was set up properly in the first instance. Half an hour on a stationary training with a reasonable commitment is as effective as a good hit out on the road. On a trainer there are no hills to roll down and using your gears can replicate a good long flat ride with a few rises and hills to make the work out worthwhile, remembering that hydration before during and after is still required. Stationary trainers are another way of polishing your pedalling techniques that can not only increase fitness and breathing efficiencies while making an increase in your power outputs leading to gaining greater endurance.
Cycling is a strong discipline of mind and body and most cyclists find out of their commitment they eat and sleep better and they can spoil themselves occasionally with forbidden fruits of food. Getting off the bike requires modification of such thinking. The eating and drinking routines may well need reviewing and modification if the exercise regimes are changed. It could be a time for some quality time with family and spouse.
Consider taking up walking as an alternative, it could be that Saturday morning becomes another ritual of a brisk walk for an hour of so followed up with the traditional coffee and forbidden fruit of the muffin to accompany.
Consider swimming at the number of heated pools we have in the City of Greater Bendigo. Cycling and swimming have very similar disciplines there are usually very intense and low impact on the body but high in cardio and aerobic capacity gains. Can’t swim not a problem a kick board work out is beneficial or just walking up and down the lane will give a similar work out.
Be mindful of the change to sleep patterns and not extend them too much if leaning towards becoming a couch potato and a late riser from the comforts of doona.
Winter can make time for a review of routines and compromise of the time on the road to be substituted with group spin classes morning or evenings. Get a group of mates together and make the classes as competitive or as social as you would like to make them.
Please be mindful of hydrating well as we can perspire quite a lot and over heat our bodies up if not careful in the amount of clothing we put on in our exercise times. Finding the right keys to accompany the new found exercise regimes is that of enjoyment of having others share the time together.
Consider the rowing club a gym or finding the pathways of our local Vic Parks the possibilities are endless with the right mindset and commitment, learning to transfer our bike riding attitudes in reaching other accomplishments that complement our fitness and well being that cycling has brought.
Looking forward to seeing you on the road soon God willing.