So we all love biking right? You love the benefits it brings to your mental and physical health. You feel happy when you ride. It makes your day that much more fun.
When it’s cold, dark, and wintery, it can be a little more difficult to get out and ride the way that you want. Last winter, I would check the forecast. Anything over 30 degrees, I would try to ride to work. If you can’t ride to work, hopefully you can still go for shorter winter rides. I have learned some valuable lessons in the quest of cold weather riding.
Here are a few tips for when riding in the winter months:
1- Wear a ski/snowboard helmet. Avoid the brain freeze by limiting the air flow hitting your dome.
2- Wrap up your face with an insulated covering. Remember 2020? Mask up!
3- Layers. Wear a base layer of compression pants/shirt to trap the heat in and break the wind chill.
4- Wear bright colors. You might be wearing a bigger coat, but you can still get a reflective vest around your coat. Looks dorky, but it will save your life. Be seen, not hit.
5- Lights, lights, and more lights. You can never have too many. Be seen, not hit.
6- Get heated gloves. This was an absolute game changer for me. My fingers would be numb getting to work in the early morning until I found some cheap heated gloves on ebay and they were worth every penny.
Well, what do you do when you can’t ride? How can you still mimic some of those activities to have the benefits?
I’m currently restricted on riding because of an ACL reconstruction surgery. I’m counting down the days until I can jump back on my bike but until then I am doing some things to help me with my mental health through the winter.
I am riding the stationary bike at the gym for 20 minutes a day to get my mobility and strength back. I know it’s not the same, but I almost had tears in my eyes when I was able to ride it post surgery. Just the motion helps. Plus the action of going to the gym and breaking a sweat has major benefits on my mental health.
Going for walks, especially when the sun is out. Find the best time of day when the sun is out and walk with as much exposure to it while you are walking. Sometimes for group therapy, we will walk out into the sunlight, and just soak in some of the rays. The youth think it’s ridiculous, but after they do it, almost all of them say they feel better.
Maintain the mindset that whatever challenge you are faced with currently will pass. Just like the seasons and the weather, it always is changing. It might seem like forever, but with patience it will pass.
-Ride This Out!