Post written solely for BikeExchange by Paisley Hansen
When the colder weather makes its appearance, are you sadly tucking your mountain bike away for a long winter's nap, or are you excited to ride right into the season? If you're ready to keep on going, get excited — because it will be a fun winter. All you need is a little planning and preparation, and you'll be ready to ride all winter long. Keep reading for some tips to make winter mountain biking fun, safe, and well worth the extra effort.
Fuel Your Body Right
As with any exercise, nutrition is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Making sure you take care of your body will ensure you stay healthy and strong all season long. Fresh air and exercise work wonders for the body's immune system, and it's important to replenish and nourish yourself after tough winter rides. Since your body works overtime in cold weather and burns more calories, it's important to keep your diet balanced and full of what you really need to stay healthy. A simple and effective way to do this is by supplementation. With so many products available, such as green superfoods powder, you're guaranteed to find one that works for you.
It's also important to be prepared during your rides, making sure you have plenty of snacks and drinks on hand to sustain your energy and provide hydration. Granola bars, dried fruit, and mixed nuts are all great choices for on-the-go, as they provide quick and sustainable energy and they're easy to pack. Staying hydrated in cold weather is essential, even if you might not feel thirsty like you do in the warmer months. Consider an insulated water bottle to hold water, an electrolyte beverage, or a warm tea.
If you don't have winter-weight technical layering pieces in your wardrobe yet, it's time to go shopping. Not only will these fabrics wick sweat from your body, but they'll also keep you warm while doing so.
Making sure your core stays at a stable and warm temperature is an absolute must, so always start with a warm base layer. Adding additional lightweight layers on top, such as a pullover top, vest and jacket will allow you to remove or add the layers as your body temperature fluctuates. Since your legs are always in motion, simply wearing long biking-specific tights would suffice. Don't forget about your hands, feet, and face. Keeping those areas warm and dry will make all the difference in your ride. Pack extra gloves, face coverings, and socks in the event you end up needing to switch out.
Pamper Your Bike After Each Ride
With your bike exposed to the elements of winter, it's imperative that you take extra care in its maintenance throughout the season. Not only will this ensure your bike makes it through your winter rides unscathed, it means you'll be safer while riding it as well. No matter how tired you are after a ride, don't skip this part.
Keep in mind that cleaning your bike isn't as straightforward as washing your car, so don't hook up the hose and get your wash bucket out for this one. You're going to want to get salt, sand and dirt off of the frame, gears and wheels to prevent corrosion. Wiping these areas down with a clean cloth should do the job. Remember to never leave your bike exposed to the elements. If you don't have a garage or shed, consider installing a wall mount to hang your bike inside of your home.
Plan Ahead and Know Your Limits
Finally, while you're probably excited to get out there and try all the things that winter mountain biking brings, it's important to keep a level head, stay within your comfort zone, and be flexible in your planning. Know the difference between challenging yourself and being reckless, and try to bike with a group as much as possible.