2014 Year In Review

While we’re already looking ahead at 2015, but as we close out 2014 we wanted to take a moment to look back at the 10 best stories and posts that we’ve shared throughout the year – we’ve got even more planned for the coming year, so stay tuned!

1. Real Advice: How To Properly Clean Your Water Bottle

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Apparently a lot of you were curious about how to get more mileage out of your water bottles. Real Advice: How To Properly Clean Your Water Bottle was our top post of the year.

 

2. Throw Down: Electronic vs. Mechanical Shifting

mech-vs-elec

This one struck a chord with a lot of people out there. Love it or leave it, electronic shifting is finding it’s way on to more an more bikes, so we weighed the pro’s and con’s of each.

 

3. Ridden and Reviewed: Diamondback Century Sport Disc

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For those of you who always wonder how the bikes stay upright in our photos….here’s a small hint. :)

 

We test rode a lot of bikes this year, and this was one of our favorites. As the disc road movement gained more momentum this year, the Diamondback Century Sport Disc no longer seemed so much a fish-out-of-water as a bike ahead of the curve.

 

4. Ridden and Reviewed: Ridley Helium

ridley_helium_01This year we were super excited to introduce Ridley Bikes to Performance. Among the most popular was the Ridley Helium. We got to test ride this bike at the source: in Hasselt, Belgium and man, were we impressed.

 

5. Choosing The Right Chain Lube

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Wet or dry…or something else entirely? This one got a lot of discussion, and a lot of you shared some helpful tips about how you take care of your chains.

 

6. Ridden and Reviewed: Ridley Fenix

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The Ridley Fenix was probably one of the most versatile bikes we rode this year. From the cobbles of Belgium to the roads around our home offices, this bike was as popular with us as it was with you.

 

7. 5 Ways To Stay Warm On Cold Rides

hot bidon

Polar Vortex 8 hit a little earlier this year, which left a good number of cyclists all across the country scrambling to figure out how to get rides in. We shared our favorite tips to help you stay warm when the temps drop.

 

8. Ridden and Reviewed: Diamondback Interval Carbon

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Probably one of the most unique and coolest bikes we saw this year, the Diamondback Interval Carbon was a sleeper hit, both in the stores and here on the blog. With a high performance carbon frame and all-day comfort, it’s not hard to see why.

 

9. Alternative Road Bikes: The Only Bike You Need?

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2014 saw a lot of changes in direction for the cycling industry, and perhaps the biggest one was a move towards alternatives to traditional racing bikes. Alternative road bikes with bigger tire clearance, non-UCI compliant geometry, and disc brakes are becoming more commonplace, and more popular.

 

10. Ridden and Reviewed: Charge Cooker Maxi Fat Bike

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2014 saw fat bikes explode in popularity. When Polar Vortex 6 hit North Carolina, we got a chance to take one out and give it a spin, proving (to us at least) that the performance matches the hype.

 

So there it is. The Top 10 of 2014.

What was your favorite post of 2014? Let us know in the comments.

And don’t forget to check back next year for tons of new commentary, reviews, how-to’s and more.

 

 

Real Advice: Achieve Your Cycling Goals in 2015

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A few years ago my wife and I decided to stop making New Years Resolutions, and start making New Years Goals. This might sound like an eye-rolling game of word play, but bear with me a minute.

We realized that we seldom (never) stayed with our resolutions for long, because by saying vague things like “I’m going to bike commute to work more”, “I’m going to wake up early to train”, or “this year I’m going to get back into racing”, you’re not laying yourself any pathway for success. You’re just saying things you’d like to do, but they’re not goal oriented, and there’s no real way to chart your progress.

Once we started making Goals, things got off to a different start, because behind each Goal was a plan with clear, actionable steps.

Here is our guide to help you make 2015 your year to finally achieve those cycling goals.

Step 1: Set a Goal

Pick something that’s important to you, and be as specific as you can. Set specific monthly mileage, pick out a target goal event, etc… Make it challenging, but also rewarding.

If it’s an event, then pick out a time you want to be able to complete it in (i.e. ride a century in under 6 hours). If it’s mileage, then pick something that’s far above what you’re already doing (i.e. go from 75 miles a week to 200 miles a week).

Eddie MTB 2

Signing up for a goal event, like Eddie did with Shenandoah, is a great way to ensure you stay on track

Looking for a goal? Try a local charity rides, or a gran fondo or mountain bike race.

 
 

Step 2: Is this a goal you’ve set before?

Did you achieve it? Were you happy with the result? Why didn’t you achieve it, or how can you do better next year? This gives you a chance to do an after-action review on previous goals and examine what you can do differently this year.

An example: my goal for 2015 was the Alpine Loop Gran Fondo. While I finished, I wasn’t super happy with how I rode. Here’s my assessment why:

-Too few long distance build-up events

-Too little time spent in the mountains

-Inadequate fueling/hydrating in the first half of the event

-Carried too much clothing and repair supplies

-Bike was overbuilt for durability, and ended up being heavier than I would have liked

Brian's titanium Scattante frame should be the right tool for the job

Look back on previous goals, and see how you can improve on them

Having trouble getting over hills? Check out our How-To Article to make it easier.

 
 

Step 3: Start Planning

Get out a calendar, a notebook, and a pencil and start planning how you’ll achieve your goal. Look at what you wrote down for Step 2, and think about what might need to do differently this year to be more successful.

Some tips:

Set mini-goals for every week and every month that can help you chart your progress

If your goal is an event, mark the date on the calendar and work backwards from there

Look for secondary goals you can set through the year that can help you build fitness (smaller events, local group rides, etc…)

You don’t want to get down into the nitty gritty of what you’ll be doing on every day months in advance—part of making a plan successful is making it flexible and allowing for life to happen—but you should have a weekly idea of what needs to happen.

Remember you have a whole year to work with, and you don’t have to do it all at once.

Testing the Ultra kit on cobbles

Planning out challenging rides in advance can help keep you motivated and on track

Looking for a new challenge to help you prepare? How about a Group Ride?

 
 

Step 4: Is This Goal Realistic?

This is where you need to be really, brutally honest with yourself. You need to decide if this is a goal that is either too hard or too easy, and if it’s a plan you can realistically stick to. Look for challenges you need to take into account (i.e. kids, family time, work commitments, etc…). Once you’ve done this, think of ways to get around the challenges.

Example:

If you’re someone who struggles to get going in the morning, making waking up a 5:00 AM to ride a part of your plan isn’t something you’re likely to stick to for long.

Instead, you might want to start by trying to wake up just 30 minutes earlier than normal and getting in a ride on the trainer instead.

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Make your plan realistic, and look for ways around challenges. If you can’t make it out the door at 5:00AM, trying waking up just 30 minutes earlier than normal for a trainer session

Need an indoor workout? Try Riding On Rollers.

 
 

Step 5: Track Your Progress

At the end of every week do an assessment of your progress. Are you following your plan and getting closer to achieving your goal?

If not, take a close look at why you aren’t and what’s happening. Talking with friends or family can be really important for helping you identify things that might be going wrong (even if you don’t want to hear them) and figuring out how to get back on track.

Using social media can also be a giant help in keeping you accountable and getting support. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are incredibly useful to keep track of your progress, update your friends and family, and help keep you motivated.

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Remember, big achievements happen through a series of small steps. Keep your eye on the prize, Tiger.

 Here are some other helpful articles to help you reach your goals:

Avoid fatigue on long rides.

Weight Loss For Cyclists

Words of Wisdom for Novice Riders

Guide to Cycling Etiquette

5 Reasons to Join a Group Ride

6 Steps to Master The Paceline

6 Tips For Traveling With A Bike

Working Out At Work

Build a Home Gym For Under $250

4 Articles To Get You Through The Holidays

Happy Holidays from Performance Bicycle! We hope you’re enjoying the time with friends and family.

But like you, we’re starting to crave some bike time. Realistically though, that’s not going to happen for a few more days. So we went back through the blog and found some of our favorite articles that got us pumped to start get out and ride…or at least some motivation to avoid the cookie tray next time.

1. 5 Tips for Cold Weather Riding

No matter how cold it is, follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy a ride outside.

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2. Cyclists Guide To Surviving the Holidays—2015

Family time, food, and booze. Follow these tips to ensure you start the new year in (close to) good shape.

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3. Build a Home Gym On A Budget

Not feeling the outside riding? You can still get in a good work out, by building a complete home gym for as little as $250.

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

The foam roller is one of the best recovery tools available to any athlete

4. Alternative Road Bikes

Didn’t get the bike you wanted? Maybe this is your chance to get the bike you need. Today’s alternative road bikes are tough, faster, and more capable than ever.

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

The GT Grade is one of the most exciting gravel bikes yet

5 Things We Can’t Wait For In 2015

2015

1. SRAM Electronic, New Drivetrain Players

Making a return from last year’s list: SRAM electronic drivetrains. This year we made the switch to electronic drivetrains on our personal bikes—with Campagnolo Record EPS and Shimano Ultegra Di2, respectively. We couldn’t be happier, but are increasingly intrigued by SRAM’s near-mythical wireless electronic shifting system. It’s said to be introduced in 2015, and we’re definitely looking forward to see how it stacks up against the more traditional wired systems.

2015 is also rumored to see the introduction of an FSA electronic drivetrain, and some sort of drivetrain from Rotor (fabled Spanish maker of aluminum cranks, power meters, and Q-Rings oval-shaped chainrings), although whether it will be mechanical or electronic is still unknown. This will give the drivetrain market its first real shake up since 2006 when SRAM introduced their Force groupset.

 

2. New Helmets From Performance

2015 will see a raft of new helmet brands and models hitting our proverbial and literal shelves. We can’t tell you exactly what they are yet, but we can say that they grace the heads of some today’s best professional racers. Also coming soon will be the Smith Overtake—which we’re super pumped about.

 

Here's a small hint...

Here’s a small hint…

 

3. Shimano XTR M9050 Di2

Di2 on a mountain bike? Sure, why not. Electronic shifting systems have already more than proved themselves on the road, so it’s about time that they made the switch to the trails. We got to take a quick peak at it at some of the trade shows and it looked mighty impressive. Shimano XTR is already arguably one of the finest mountain bike components groupsets available, so Di2 should only make it that much better.

The new XTR 9050 Di2 looks pretty amazing

The new XTR 9050 Di2 looks pretty amazing

 

4. Performance Custom Wheels

A long time ago, in another building far, far away, Performance was known as a one-stop shop for custom wheels. But while the wheel building machine in our warehouse has long since been shut down, we’ve never stopped thinking about the perfect hoops. So over the course of the past year we got to working on how we could start making the wheels we really want to ride, and providing them to customers at a great value.

In 2015 we’re excited to announce that we’ll be returning to the custom-built wheel game. We’ve curated a carefully selected wheel collection, and carefully matched up what we think are some perfect rim/hub/spoke combinations. The result are some unique and exciting wheels from Stan’s, Shimano, and Reynolds, custom-built only for Performance Bicycle.

 

New custom-built wheels, like these Shimano Ultegra hubs to Mavic Open Pro rims, will be arriving throughout 2015

New custom-built wheels, like these Shimano Ultegra hubs to Mavic Open Pro rims, will be arriving throughout 2015

 

5. New Clothing Offerings

It’s not just wheels that we gave some serious thought to this year. Clothing was also high on our agenda—more specifically clothes for those rides that are more about the destination than the ride itself (think riding around town, touring, bike camping, etc…).

We’ve been hard at work designing, picking out fabrics, and testing and are pretty pleased with what we came up with. We can’t show them to you just yet, but keep an eye out around February.

We can't show you too much...but here's a sneak peak of some new clothes in the works

We can’t show you too much…but here’s a sneak peak of some new clothes in the works

2015 Holiday Gift Inspiration

Looking for a gift for the cyclist in your life? Maybe you’re a cyclist looking for a few goodies to add to your wishlist or a “Happy Holidays to Me” package. We’ve got you covered. Our website has thousands of bike parts, clothing, and bikes to choose from. But sifting through that stuff can be a little daunting. So we’ve picked out some of our favorite stuff.

Back again this year is the 2015 Holiday Inspiration list. We polled riders around our office for the stuff that they want for the holidays.

If you’re still wondering if there’s time to get that last minute gift, don’t worry! Orders placed by 12/22 with 2nd Business Day shipping, or order placed by 12/23 with Overnight shipping will still arrive in plenty of time.

And of course our retail stores will remain open until 12/24.

 

 

Sarah

Marketing department

Triathlete, aspiring mountain biker, weeknight concert goer

  1. Garmin Forerunner 910 XT GPS watch with Premium Heart Rate Monitor
  2. Giro Women’s Feather Mountain Bike Helmet
  3. Performance Women’s Thermal II Tights
  4. Performance Cabot Softshell Gloves
  5. Performance Women’s Tone Henley Long Sleeve Jersey

DREAM GIFT: Grand Canyon Connector Bike Trip– Cedar City, UT to Tempe, AZ. Hits Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon

sarah

Eddie 

Accessories Buyer

Mountain biker, CX up-and-comer, one-time pig owner

  1. Bell Super 2 MTB Helmet
  2. Giro Terraduro MTB Shoes
  3. CamelBak M.U.L.E. NV Hydration Pack
  4. Kuat NV 2-Bike Hitch Rack
  5. Schwalbe Hans Dampf Tires

DREAM GIFT: Week-long trip to Whistler, BC

Eddie

Brian

Social Media Team

Roadie, unrepentant Italophile, coffee enthusiast

  1. Castelli Gabba Convertible Jacket
  2. Bell Star Pro Helmet
  3. Smith Pivlock Overdrive Sunglasses
  4. Louis Garneau Course Thermal Bib Shorts
  5. Skratch Labs Apples and Cinnamon Hydration Mix

DREAM GIFT: Trip to the Pinarello Gran Fondo in Trentino, Italy

 Brian

Simple and Fun Bikes

Getting on a bike and riding is easy, to be sure, but riding a bike over great distances or for maximum performance can be a real challenge. Whether you’re participating in an important charity ride, or if you are planning on a full season of road racing, you need to set goals, plan your training around those goals, and stay on track to accomplish them. If this is your game, there are lots of great choices to help meet your needs, like the Fuji Transonic road bike or the GT Helion full suspension all-mountain rig.

However, in your quest to improve your performance, it’s easy to lose sight of the reasons why you wanted to ride your bike in the first place. This is fun, remember? Take a day or two and put down the Garmin, stop posting pictures on Instagram, and ride simply for the love of it. Coast your bike. Coast a lot. Now, try taking your hands of the handlebar; that feels good, right?

One of the many wonderful things about the age of bike specialization is that every bike is designed to meet a certain need. We’ve handpicked a few of our favorite bikes that are designed to deliver as much fun and good feelings as you can handle on a Saturday afternoon.

Access Chinook Charlie and Bravo Fat Bikes               

These are our bikes for us. No really. One of the great things about riding bikes all the time and working around them is that we also get to design them. The Access Chinook Charlie and Bravo Fat Bikes have a Shaquille O’Neal sized tire footprint with the strength to match. They’re built with high quality parts, but more importantly, they’re built to float over sand and snow like no other style of bike can

     

    

Shop All Fat Bikes

Diamondback Apex Mountain Bikes

No mountain bike is as simple to use or as versatile as a hardtail (no rear suspension), but not all hardtails are equal. We love the Diamondback Apex series because they stay true to the heritage of hardtails while adding a modern spin: the Apex matches frame sizes with wheel sizes. That means the frame sizes that are Extra Small and Small have 27.5” wheels and sizes Medium, Large and Extra Large have 29” wheels. The result is a bike that fits your body more appropriately  and more fun because of it. That’s why these bikes are aptly named Right Fit bikes.

Want to learn more about wheel sizes and the difference they make? Learn about 27.5” here. Learn about 29ers here.

Fuji Absolute Flat Bar Bikes

The Fuji Absolute is a flat bar road bike that is among the most popular sold in the U.S. Thanks to its non-aggressive, easy riding style, it’s pretty much the perfect bike for cyclists who would rather see the sights and enjoy the ride in their everyday clothing than get all dressed up in lycra for a road ride. The Absolute is ideal for just about everything on a road; especially having fun.

The Absolute series of bikes all feature a durable and lightweight frame, with either a carbon fiber or a high tensile steel fork that helps absorb road noise and chatter, while increasing comfort. The flat bar setup gives the rider a more upright position for greater comfort and improved stability and visibility.

Even the shortest ride can have an incident. Be prepared with these 11 must-have emergency items.

GT Transeo Hybrid Bikes

Some of us just need an excuse to leave our cars in the garage and enjoy the simple pleasure of feeling the sun and the wind against our faces more often. Sound good? It did to us and GT supplied the means to unlock all of those stress-free feelings with the GT Transeo hybrid bike series. With plenty of comfortable standover height, front suspension, and easy to use shifting, the GT Transeo bikes are loaded with comfortable features to make every neighborhood or park ride enjoyable.

 

Even new bikes make some strange noises. Curious about what’s going on down there? Check out our article What’s that Noise? to learn more.

Schwinn Beach Cruisers

The Schwinn brand is over 100 years old, making it one of the oldest bike brands in existence. Today, they continue to churn out great bikes, but their beach cruisers have always held a soft spot in our hearts. With great colors and unique styling, there’s sure to be a Schwinn cruiser that matches your personal tastes.

 

Not sure which bike is right for you? Check out our 10 FAQ on how to pick the best bike for your needs here.

These are just a few of our favorites, but if we talked about them all, we wouldn’t have time to go for a ride ourselves (it’s almost lunch time and the bikes are calling us). Do you have any personal bike favorites? We’d love to hear which bikes put a smile on your face in the comments section below.

2015 Exclusive Bike Preview

Just in time for the holidays, we’ve managed to get our hands on three new bikes that just showed up at our headquarters. Two road offerings from Ridley and Scattante, and a brand-new mountain bike from Charge. These bikes are all exclusive to Performance, so you won’t find them anywhere else.

 

RIDLEY ORION

First up we have the Ridley Orion. The Orion is one of Ridley’s most successful bikes ever, and was the foundation for what would become the pro-level Ridley Fenix. Built with 24-ton high modulus carbon fiber diamond-shaped tubing for incredible strength and rigidity while riding, the Orion is bike that’s been proven again and again on the cobbles of Flanders and Northern France (it even has a sticker that says “Tested On Pave”—and they really mean that).

The Ridley Orion—exclusively available from Performance Bicycle—is outfitted with 11-speed Shimano Ultegra 6800 shifters and rear derailleur, with a new 5800-series 105 front derailleur. FSA supplies the crank, and Ridley’s own 4Za brand supplies the stem, handlebars, seatpost and saddle.

This is a great bike for an aspiring racer, a club rider, or someone who wants one bike that can do it all. With a race-proven pedigree, high performance parts, and an all-day endurance geometry, the Orion is a bike that will provide a smooth, comfortable, and fast ride.

 

 

 SCATTANTE CFR ELITE

Next up we have the Scattante CFR Elite. Classic black and a touch of what we’ll call future-blue; the Scattante CFR Elite features a balanced Shimano 105 11-speed build on a gorgeous carbon frame set. The frame furnishes a tapered head tube for added control and stiffness and internally routed cables offer clean, modern style. A full carbon fork and steerer simultaneously lightens the front end and dampens road vibration.

Outfitted with Shimano’s new 5800 11-speed 105, you know you’ll get great, race-proven performance in your shifting. Descended from the pro-level Dura-Ace 9000 and Ultegra 6800 groupsets, 5800 brings updated ergonomics and functionality at an outstanding value. The ScMT CFR LE frame provides a stiff, stable, and lightweight ride platform that make the miles fly by while keeping you comfortable on those long rides.

The Scattante CFR Elite is perfect for the rider who’s looking for high performance at a great value.

 

CHARGE COOKER

Finally, the all-new Charge Cooker is one of the best aluminum 29er’s we’ve seen in a long time. Charge is always keeping classic and stylish, but the 2015 Cooker—exclusively from Performance—takes their signature flair to a whole new level.

The Cooker rocks a lightweight and durable 6061 Series butted aluminum frame with a tapered head tube that is rigid enough to withstand any trail, and the RockShox 30 GOLD TK fork assists by offering 100 mm of travel in the front to give you confidence during descent and features Solo Air technology that allows you to fill both the positive and negative air spring chambers of the suspension through a single Schrader valve, making fork adjustments a cinch.

The Cooker drivetrain also consists of handpicked Shimano components, including Shimano SLX shifters to filter through the 20 gearing options. A Shimano Deore front derailleur and Shimano XT Shadow Plus rear derailleur promote responsive shifting by sucking up slack and preserve the pivots for greater durability over the long-term. The Shimano BR-M355 hydraulic disc brake system is reliable in all weather conditions, provides control in the corners, and excellent stopping power when obstacles get a little too close for comfort.

Simplicity is the name of the game here, so you’re a seasoned pro looking for a durable, do-it-all aluminum 29er, or a newer rider looking for a bike that’s lightweight, stable, and can brush off a crash or two, the Cooker is the ride for you.

 

Cyclists Guide To Surviving The Holidays – 2015

Thanksgiving_17

Next week begins the Great American Holiday Extravaganza, the time of year where most Americans travel to see family, pack on extra pounds, and generally have a good time. But in the midst of all this revelry, what’s a cyclist to do? All that travel makes it tough to ride, and all that food can make hard-won weight loss gains evaporate in an instant.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers here (at least none that won’t end with a high probability of being served divorce papers), but there are a few tricks and tips we can use to stay fit, keep the pounds off, and enjoy the holidays.

1. Try To Ride Early

Even if you have your bike, getting away from family during the holidays can be a pretty tall order. Try riding early, before you’ll be missed. Plus, your in-laws might be impressed when you show up for breakfast, having already gotten a workout in…or not—but you’ll definitely feel better.

2. Alternatives

That ride not going to happen? Try going for a run or doing some core work instead. Running and core work usually takes less time than a run, and all you need to pack is a pair of shoes and some shorts or sweats. Plus, since you won’t be going as far, you don’t have to worry about getting lost on unfamiliar roads. Running will also give you plenty of time to think about how much you miss being back on the bike.

3. Watch Where You Sit

The Thanksgiving and Holiday feasts are unavoidable, but studies show you can help avoid those extra holiday pounds by trying to sit as far from the snacks as possible to prevent mindless eating. Although if your house is anything like ours, that could be easier said than done.

4. Pick Your Favorites

Instead of going all in at dessert time, try setting yourself the goal of only eating what you’ll truly enjoy. Not that we have anything against pecan pie, but we’d rather enjoy an extra slice of pumpkin instead.

5. Drinks

If you’re trying to lose weight this coming year, or have vain hopes of staying at race weight all year long, then watch what you drink. Whenever possible, choose something no- or low-calorie like water or a sugarless electrolyte drink. Instead of beer, try drinking wine or spirits (just not in the same quantities) for that holiday cheer without the pounds. Avoid eggnog like the plague, and lay off the soda.

6. Go Easy On Yourself

Even if you bring your bike with you, don’t worry about it if you don’t make it out for a ride or fail utterly in your attempts to curb your appetite. There are more important things in life than riding bikes, and worse sins than forgoing the diet for a few days. Think of this as a time to reconnect with loved ones, especially family you might not get to see very often, and enjoy yourself. There will be plenty of time for dieting and riding in the coming year.

Good luck you guys, and happy holidays

Good luck, you guys

5 Ways To Stay Warm On Cold Rides

Here we go again…looks like the Polar Vortex has descended upon us once again. We don’t know about you, but so long as we don’t get one of our famous, downhome Carolina Ice Storms, we’ll keep riding outside as much as we can.

Now, you wouldn’t think a bunch of Southerners would know much about riding in the cold, but most of us actually grew up riding, training and racing in places like Vermont, Chicago, Pennsylvania, and Portland (Oregon, not Maine– which is a whole other animal), so we’ve learned a few things over the years about riding in the wet, the cold, and the snow.

So here it is: 5 Ways To Stay Warm on Cold Rides.

1. Layer Up

Using layered cycling clothing can help you adjust your temperature to suit the ride and the conditions. You can pretty much layer every part of your clothing system as the conditions warrant, from your feet all the way to your head. Click here for our guide to layering.

PRO TIP #1: No matter how well you think you’ve layer up on top, always bring a wind jacket or vest with you in case conditions take a turn for the worse. #1B is to bring some knee warmers on super cold days– if your knees get cold you can put them on over (but preferably under) your tights for extra coverage.

PRO TIP #2: Spare arm warmers, spare gloves or liners, a spare hat, and base layer can pack up small in a plastic bag that fits easily into a jersey pocket. On long rides, it gives you the option of changing out sweaty, damp garments for warm, dry ones.

PRO TIP #3: Don’t use super thick cycling socks with your cycling shoes. Instead, layer your overshoes as needed, putting insulated ones closer to the foot, covered by wind/waterproof ones.

Layering up is a great way to make sure you can a stay warm, and adjust your core temperature as you go

Layering up is a great way to make sure you can a stay warm, and adjust your core temperature as you go

2. Hot Water Bottle

Using an insulated water bottle filled with some warm tea or Skratch Labs Apples and Cinnamon hydration mix (which is absolutely delicious, by the way) can take the edge off a very cold ride. This is a tip that the pro’s use during early season races like Milan-San Remo to stay warm (check out a video here)

Make like the pro's, and use some warm tea to hydrate on your winter rides

Make like the pro’s, and use some warm tea to hydrate on your winter rides (Orica-GreenEdge)

3. Eat Enough

In the winter, you burn more calories on the bike than during the summer. Not only are you using fuel to exercise, but also to stay warm. That means that during the winter you should fuel up with a healthy breakfast like oatmeal, and then bring plenty of bars, chews or gels to eat while riding. This will give you plenty of carbs to keep your body warm and prevent the dreaded bonk—which could mean serious trouble if you’re far from home on a cold winter’s day.

Eating a solid, healthy breakfast, and having plenty of food for the ride will help prevent you bonking

Eating a solid, healthy breakfast, and having plenty of food for the ride will help prevent you bonking

4. Mix In Intervals

If you’re really feeling the cold, trying mixing in some intervals to bring up your body temperature. You can either 1) pick a target a good distance away and ride as hard as you can until you reach it, or 2) go by time, and ride as hard as you can for about a minute. Just make sure you don’t go so hard that you start sweating a lot, which can just make the problem worse.

Riding a few hard intervals is a great way to get your body temperature back up

Riding a few hard intervals is a great way to get your body temperature back up

5. Take a Rest

We usually like to plan our long, meandering winter rides with a destination in mind—usually a restaurant or café with warm drinks and food. But it’s OK to take a break at any time if you’re feeling cold, chilled, or just tired. Stop at a gas station, coffee shop, café, whatever, warm up and take a breather.

Go in and get warm, grab some hot tea or coffee, and eat a cookie.

PRO TIP #1: If you’re feeling the chill from a damp clothing, you can use your rest stop to change into your spare base layer, spare gloves or liners, and hat. That way you can go back out into the cold feeling dry and warm.

PRO TIP #2: If your toes are feeling very cold on your ride, see if you can get some aluminum foil or a foil food wrapper, and wrap up your toes. It’s not the most comfortable thing, but it does provide some additional insulation.

PRO TIP #3: Ask if the coffee shop or restaurant can refill your water bottles with hot water.

When you start feeling cold or chilled, go ahead and head indoors to warm up

When you start feeling cold or chilled, go ahead and head indoors to warm up

Real Advice: Setting Up Your Trainer Room

trainer-image

1. Pick the Room

Even trainers that claim to be “ultra-quiet” are still going to generate enough noise to annoy someone in an adjacent room. Pick a room that’s separated from others in the house, such as a basement, garage, or spare bedroom. Make sure you have room to set up the trainer and angle it toward your entertainment of choice. And remember folks—make sure that floor is level-ish. An uneven floor can make the trainer rock, putting a ton of stress on your hips (no good) and the bike frame (really no good).

 

2. Sweat Catching

Since you’re not going to be riding anywhere, there will be no air moving on you. That means you’re going to sweat more. To avoid ruining the carpet or hardwood, set up a trainer mat or towel underneath your bike. To avoid ruining your bike (specifically the headset and BB bearings), use a sweat catcher or hang a towel over your bike.

Using a sweat net or towel can help preserve the life of your compoents

Using a sweat net or towel can help preserve the life of your compoents

3. Cooling

Since riding the trainer gets super-hot, it’s a good idea to set up a fan to keep from overheating. Even a cheap mini tabletop fan can make a world of difference. Using a fan doesn’t preclude following Step 2—you’re still going to sweat like a demon.

 

Not sure what kind of trainer to get? Check out our guide.

 

4. Entertainment

Riding the trainer with nothing to do can get really, really boring really, really fast. Make sure you have a TV, tablet, or computer to watch a movie or do a structured work out.

PRO TIP: Since there trainer is loud and you’ll have a fan running, if you’re in a domestic living situation or have housemates, it is generally considered polite to invest a couple of bucks in a headphone extension cord or some wireless headphones so you’re not tempted to crank the TV volume.

Using headphones can help maintain domestic harmony

Using headphones can help maintain domestic harmony

5. At Hand

Set up a stool or some medium height shelves next to your bike. It should be at about a height where you can reach it comfortable while seated in the saddle. This will ensure that your remotes, computer mouse, gels, spare water bottle, spare towel, etc… are all easily at hand.

 

6. Be Prepared

The trainer is usually more demanding than an outdoor workout. Not only do you have the increased resistance of the unit itself, but heat buildup and a tough structured workout can really take it out of you. For an hour long trainer session, you should have 3 water bottles (2 of them filled a hydration drink) and some gels to keep your energy levels up and avoid dehydration.

 

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