“Winter Miles and Smiles” is a misquote, “Winter Miles for Summer Smiles” is how the saying actually goes; but “Miles and Smiles” sum up my first winter on a bike. I started cycling in November 2015 and now with spring in the air, I thought I’d write about the best of winter cycling, to motivate myself when the weather inevitably turns cold and wet again.
It’s been a long and stormy winter – Frank, Gertrude and James (are just the names I remember). After each storm passed through, Snowdonia was left literally sparkling in glorious winter sunshine. Cycling through puddles with the open road to myself, surrounded by waterfalls and dripping trees, I felt uplifted. No doubt I looked like an idiot – on my own, grinning from ear to ear – but happy with myself, my bike and surroundings. Joyous is the best word I can think of to describe how I felt!
Here’s some pics taken with phone camera below – please scroll down after the pics to read the best kept secret every newbie cyclist should know.
Let me tell you a secret, I’ve enjoyed cycling all winter but I haven’t bought loads of kit and expensive clothing. When I first started cycling, lots of really kind and well meaning experienced cyclists started telling me about the best waterproof tops, shoes, brakes, tyres etc etc, essential for winter cycling. I really appreciated these tips and I am sure extra kit does boost performance, but on a tight budget and with a Bianchi bike to pay for (Cycle to Work Scheme) I wasn’t in a position to buy lots of new stuff. I managed to get out a couple of times a week, in all weathers, wearing Aldi cycling tights and top – but with my secret weapons for winter cycling, lobster gloves and ear warmers!
So my top tip for a newbie cyclist is – don’t worry about having all the right kit – please just get out on your bike, enjoy and ride as much as you can. Cycling, even in winter, is the best legal high I know.
Here are some more pics, I am really proud of the snowy one – yes I did – I went cycling in the snow, I seriously loved my ear warmers and gloves that day.