With the time change this upcoming weekend, darkness will fall earlier each day making it more challenging to fit training rides in the schedule. But fear not, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we have training strategies that can help you make the best of the daylight and night hours!
Given that the days with long sunshine hours are ending, there are ways to make the most of the daytime hours. It requires a little planning and creativity. Also, time management plays an important role here. Scheduling your workouts in your calendar; shifting meetings and family obligations to early morning, late afternoon and early evening; and optimizing your lunch hour as ride time, are three areas that can assist in getting your scheduled training in during the daylight hours. Again, the idea here is to create a plan and stick to it. If you plan a ride during the daylight hours and miss it, then it creates stress on how to make that ride up. However, as other bike enthusiasts know, riding at night can be fun, relaxing, and a delightful end to the day. If you are up for a little adventure, here’s how to make night time riding work for you!
Be a well lit cyclist. Purchase cycling apparel that is visible. There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands. Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels. You do not notice it during the day and it shows up white at night. And, as the temperature drops, it’s hard to know what to wear when it’s 50 degrees and sunny outside versus 30 – 35 degrees and cloudy. Riding in transitional weather can be a challenge! But, with clothing that is versatile, lightweight, and easy to pack down, you can find a cycling wardrobe that works for you. Watch our video, How to Dress for Winter Cycling to get ideas.
Explore your ride options. Riding in the dark makes the riding of any technical section immediately harder than in the day. It takes a good while to overcome this, so don’t set yourself a task to ride the most demanding trails or bike paths you have. Ease yourself in as the nights start earlier and downgrade your expectations. Remember, you will inevitably ride and travel more slowly than in daylight. A way to overcome this is to invest in a good set of lights. With that being said, be mindful that your route doesn’t exceed your lights battery capacities.
Become a fan of bike maintenance: Experiencing mechanical difficulties in the cold and at night is not fun! A well maintained bike is a fun bike to ride. Yet, for some, bike maintenance can be a chore. Having the right set of bike components and bicycle tools can make all the difference. When prepping your bike for for the colder temps and night riding, there are several things you want to do to keep your bike in good working order. A good thing to always do is to wipe down and inspect the frame. As the weather changes, rain, snow, ice, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts. Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.
Also, remember to lube your chain and cables. As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity for winter riding. It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube. As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand. Finally, since you can’t see what you are rolling over in the dark, it’s a good idea to frequently inspect tires, wheels, and brake pads. Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.
Daylight riding or riding at night – it’s all good! As you can see, there’s no need to fear the time change. The time change can mark the end of the season and bring on a new adventure. Embrace creativity and plan your rides during daytime hours. Or, seek adventure and embrace the challenge and make night riding work for you!