Winter cycling proposes a completely different type of challenge to that of summer cycling. The cold and often extreme conditions make it an altogether more testing experience and can also impact on your safety as grounds become wet and frozen and the light fades earlier on evenings.
It is vitally important that you dress right for winter conditions and we have a range that covers everything you need from insulation to protection from the elements. It’s also important not to neglect moisture management and ensure your skin stays dry from sweat as well as the rain.
Practical elements also need to be carefully watched as things like punctures become more regular and general bike maintenance needs to be more rigorous.
For four-time World Champion mountain biker Nino Schurter, the winter period brings around the off-season giving him time to cycle without the pressures of competition on his shoulders. So how does the Swiss champion enjoy winter cycling and what are the important factors he faces when the weather takes a turn for the worse? We also got the opinions of his Scott-Odlo team members Jenny Rissveds, Michiel van der Heijden and Marcel Wildhaber.
Nino Schurter: “It’s never more critical to dress right as it is in the fast changing weather conditions we sometimes have in the fall. Often it’s still warm enough you sweat on the climbs, but the descents can be very cold. It’s important to understand the way the layering works, especially in cycling.”
Michiel van der Heijden: "It’s always hard to choose the right clothes when the weather starts changing. When it gets colder outside it’s important to wear warmer clothes so you don’t get cold during exercise. It’s great to have the opportunity to choose from so many different styles of Odlo clothing that are suited for every weather type."
Marcel Wildhaber: "You need more layers to stay warm. That also means you need more time to get ready for a ride."
Nino Schurter: “It’s key to stay healthy in sometimes severe conditions. If you dress right you can train in all conditions, no matter how cold or bad the weather is. Not taking the art of dressing serious enough can be a big risk for your health. All the training is for nothing if you end up getting sick from not dressing up right.”
Jenny Rissveds: "For me it’s really important. If it’s too cold I try to find a different option to riding outside as it’s not healthy to breath in too much cold air. Normally during winter I’m out riding in -5 C degrees. In these conditions I wear a pair of warm gloves, windproof jacket, windproof shoe cover and also windproof pants. Apart from good clothing that keeps me warm I try to ride faster to keep warm!"
Marcel Wildhaber: “You can improve your technical skills in wet and muddy conditions.”
Nino Schurter: “As long as there is no snow I like to do longer tours up high in the Alps. This year was a great fall to do awesome rides up to 2500m above sea level.
"When the snow arrives I look for alternative sports such as cross-country skiing and back country skiing. If I go ride I prefer the mountain bike, but the rides are getting shorter unless it’s cold enough that the snow is dry and compact. That’s when riding through snow-covered forest can be spectacular.”
Michiel van der Heijden: "After the race season it’s always good to go into the mountains on an enduro mountainbike and ride single trails. When it isn’t so warm anymore during the winter months I like to do some cyclocross races."
Jenny Rissveds: "I love riding in snow and cold conditions, so it’s not too much difference during off season. I go on my bike even if it’s snow but another good complement to riding is cross country skiing, which is a popular sport here in Sweden."
Marcel Wildhaber: "I also do the Cyclocross season from September to February with 25 races in total."