In the UK we’re blessed with a variety of trails and natural single track but less so when it comes to the weather. Our short summers and wet winters means we spend more time in the wet than in the dry. We don’t have much prediction to our seasons, they seem to come and go when they please. But one thing is for sure….WINTER IS COMING!
With that in mind here is our list to get prepared.
1 | Wet weather tyres
Time to swap out the fast rolling tyres for something with more grip. You can either fully commit to a full mud set or you can prioritize the grip on the front with a bit of slide on the back. Again, depends on your style. Typically tyre choice comes down to the spacing between and profile of the grip/”knobs” in combination with tyre compound i.e. how hard or soft the rubber is. Deeper, wider and softer means its more aggressive to mud terrain. Some favorites are the Magic Mary from Schwalb and the Shorty from Maxxis.
2 | Going tubeless
Going tubeless will make for a better riding experience in general but will be more appreciated in wet weather conditions. Going tubeless means you can run lower pressures with less risk of pinch flats, this means you can run the best pressure for you while eliminating the risk of pinch flats. Make sure you have the right tyres with strong side walls.
Just remember that tubeless does not mean it’s invincible. Keep a repair kit and CO2 cylinders in the bag for those rarer moments.
3 | Mud guards
One of the simplest changes which will make a big difference to your ride and it doesn’t cost a lot. Keeping mud from flying into your face, eyes and up your arse means less distraction and more focus / enjoyment on the trails.
We recommend these flat EnduroGuards which you simply attach to your bike with zip ties. They are cheap, look good and fit pretty much any bike.
For many with 9-5’s and a family at home, riding after work is the only time you have to get out on the bike and normally that means riding in the dark. Riding at night can be some of the best riding you can do. Trails you would normally ride seem totally different with reduced visibility and perception of obstacles. I find it more exciting as you need to be a lot quicker on the reflexes.
But in order to enjoy a good night ride you need reliable and high lumen lights, you need to feel confident that the lights will last throughout your ride and that the trails are kept well lit. But as a suggestion, it’s worth keeping a small, cheap, mountable light in your bag just in case you’re left in the dark in the middle of nowhere.
The Gemini Titan is a great choice as is well priced in the leading pack of products and ticks all the boxes.
5 | The right clothing
Just like a certain Scottish band from the 80’s, winter in the UK is Wet Wet Wet…..See what I did there?…..Erhem!
Anyway, wet and cold are a bad combination for the body so it’s important to have clothing with a good level of resistance to the wet and the cold or separate layers to provide each. Here are some suggestions but we consider 1-4 essential.
- Waterproof cycling jacket
- Base layer/s
- Winter / thick riding gloves
- Clear eyewear
- Riding shoes with good tread. Sometimes you need to hike through it.
- Head band / neck tube
- Waterproof shorts.
6 | Cleaning products
We’re all guilty of being lazy when it comes to cleaning and even general maintenance of our bikes. In the summer you can get away with it, within reason, but in the winter there is no room for laziness. You need to get your bike cleaned up after those filthy rides and ensure components are well maintained. Gears, brakes, cables etc need to be tip top all the time. BikeRadar have actually put together a great list of the cleaning gear you should consider. Check it out
And here is a guide to how to clean your bike from the lads at GMBN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMmjygdQAoQ
7 | Trail choices
Once you’re all prepped and ready to go, it’s time to get out and ride. But wait, take a moment to consider where you are going. Some of the trails you know and love in the summer may be a marsh-land in the winter. Many a ride has ended up with our wheels axle deep in mud.
Consider riding trails with good run off and well compacted ground or alternatively look at available trail centres where they tick the boxes and are kept well maintained.
That’s takes us to the close. Hopefully you’ve found this list usefully but you feel we’ve missed out some essentials, please add them to the comments below.