This article originally appeared on BikeRadar.com
1. Bright, cold, frosty mornings
First and foremost, there’s nothing like riding on a perfect winter day. It’s hard to beat cycling through the countryside with frost coating leaves and trees, your breath clouding the air, and the bright sunshine lighting everything so it looks like it’s in a David Attenborough documentary.
Air so crisp you could cut it with a knife — ah winter, we love you!
2. Unexpected wildlife encounters
Since a lot of your riding is likely to occur in the dark over winter, your chances of coming face to face with nocturnal wildlife is all the greater. Is that looming dark shape ahead of you a bush, or a resting cow? Expect to see your lights reflected back in the glinting eyes of various animals, and strange noises overhead. It’s a little frisson of danger and excitement to what might otherwise be fairly tame trails.
That said, if you do happen to ride regularly where the wildlife is a bit more bite-y than the UK, where the worst you’ll have to watch for is a rampaging badger, it’s probably worth exercising a little caution depending on when and where you go out.
3. You get REALLY good at washing your bike and kit
One of the downsides of winter riding, whatever type of cycling you do, is the wear and tear that builds up quickly by riding on gritty, muddy trails, and the endless washing machine loads of manky kit. That means that washing your bike after every ride is all the more important, so expect to get your post-ride routine down to a fine art; off the bike, quick hose down (both bike and rider), wet kit in the washing machine while you clean off the bike, lights on charge, oil the chain, and you’re good to go again.
Of course, if you’re worried about ruining your pride and joy you can always use your winter riding plans to justify the purchase of a new bike. It’s the perfect excuse!
Bike washing: it’s the least exciting job, but probably one of the most crucial elements of successful winter riding
4. You’ll need more kit
Are you a total kit fiend? Do you like to have the right jacket, the right lights and the right tyres to suit every conceivable weather condition? Well, say hello to winter, your new best friend! Depending partly of course on where you’ll live, you’ll likely need kit to suit cold and dry conditions, cold and wet conditions, cool and dry conditions, cool and wet conditions, cold, dry and windy conditions… and that’s just for starters.
The first snow fall means you can finally dip into the new ranges of winter backpacking kit available, such as the Specialized and 686 collaboration winter fat biking clothing range. Toasty!
5. It’s oh so quiet
The chances are that the weather will put a few people off cycling (we have no idea why?!) so that means you’re likely to have the roads and trails to yourself. No searching for a parking space at the trail centre, no repeatedly calling ‘on your left!’ when trying to overtake, and no long stream of cyclists on the road or queues at the usual cafe stop.
To view five more reasons to love winter cycling, visit: www.bikeradar.com