Baby, it’s COLD outside. My goodness!
As we start to move into the winter months, our normal bike riding routine can be totally disrupted.
Not only is it colder outside, but the time changes can mean that we really don’t even have much daylight during the week to get out on the bike!
We know that we want to maintain our fitness and continue our weight loss.
There is a desire to be consistent, but cozying up on the couch with a good book, some Netflix, or a cup of tea seems…well…just SO much more inviting.
Curious how I go about motivating myself to get on the bike through the cold weather months? Read on for 5 quick and easy tips on how to keep your body moving through the winter.
Tip #1: Get Creative – ALL Movement Counts
During this time of year one of the biggest ways that I can stay consistent with riding is to remind myself that all movement counts.
Sometimes it is super cold out and I don’t feel like riding outside (I call myself the Goldilocks of cycling temps…I don’t like to ride when it’s too hot or too cold!). In these instances I remind myself that all movement counts.
This means that I can go for a walk, and it counts. It helps me stay consistent with moving my body regularly, it gets me outside, it helps me feel good.
Or, I can just commit to doing a shorter ride around the neighborhood. If I warm up I can always go further, but if I don’t even start then I haven’t done anything.
Don’t hesitate to get creative with your thoughts about movement. Instead of focusing on what you don’t want to do or what you can’t do, ask yourself what you CAN do.
Maybe I don’t want to go for a 30 mile ride outside, but I am fine with a 30 minute walk in the fresh air.
Tip #2: Take it Indoors
This seems like an obvious one, but if you are like me and generally dislike biking in the cold, consider an indoor option.
There are so many ways to ride your bike indoors, and you might find that you actually love it!
There are all sorts of different spin bikes and exercise bikes. I have a Peloton and I am totally obsessed. I can ride inside during the winter months AND have fun.
Granted it is a different kind of fun, but it’s still fun! If you want an indoor biking experience that is more like your outdoor one, I suggest getting an indoor trainer and an app like Zwift.
This can be a lot of fun too! Before I got my Peloton I was happy to ride on Zwift with my indoor trainer. If this is something you are interested in, definitely check out the articles I link below on Zwift and indoor cycling for more info on how to get started.
Indoor Biking Guide
Girl’s Guide to Zwift
Now, these options are not always cheap, but there are low-cost indoor trainers that you can use just to keep your body moving. Alternatively, remember that something is better than nothing, and all movement counts.
Your indoor workout does not even need to be on a bike! You can do a YouTube cardio workout, some strength training, or even yoga. It all keeps you consistent with feeling good and moving your body.
Tip #3: Get the Proper Gear
One of the biggest reasons I used to hate riding outside so much in the cold was that I didn’t have proper cold weather biking gear. Once I got a warm jacket, some cozy tights, cold weather gloves, and wool cycling socks I was so much less miserable.
A Balaclava is a great way to keep your head and ears warm, and they have biking specific ones that go right under your helmet!
I know that this is an investment, but if you are serious about biking in the cold weather it is an absolute game changer to have the right clothes for riding in the cold.
If you don’t have cold weather biking gear/a way to bundle up that works on your bike you can always bundle up in non-biking stuff and go for a walk. It still gets you out in the fresh air and feeling awesome about moving your body.
Tip #4: Be Mindful of the Weather and Sunset and Plan to Ride at the Warmest Time of Day
It is so much to motivate and get out on the bike during the sunniest, warmest parts of a winter day.
This isn’t always possible during the work week or when you have other plans, but a great way to get some cold weather biking in is to plan to ride on a weekend afternoon.
One of the best ways to get out in the cold weather is to make a plan each week for when you are going to move your body, and keep the weather and time of day in mind.
This will help you keep your commitment to getting out on the bike even though it’s cold…when it’s still sunny and the warmest time of day you are in the best case scenario for your bike ride!
Tip #5: Bike With a Friend!
Making plans to ride with a friend during the cold weather months can sometimes be the biggest possible motivator to getting on the bike.
I know that every time I ride with a friend I am instantly distracted from any parts of it that I don’t particularly like. It could be my butt hurting from the saddle, some big hills, or the freezing cold.
One of my first group rides this year was VERY cold, and knowing that others were going to be there and were depending on me to lead the ride was a huge motivator for getting out there on the bike.
It was SO much fun even though it was colder and darker than usual because I had a group of amazing women to ride with.
You can even make plans to ride with someone INDOORS. Peloton lets you follow friends and know what classes they are in so you can make a “date” to do a ride at the same time.
Likewise, you can ride with friends on Zwift too! It’s not the same as riding with someone outside, but it still is really cool.
One of my favorite winter rides EVER was with some Sascy Cycling community members on Zwift…we all got on discord or some other app to communicate with each other and had an amazing time!
A Final Note
Your winter on the bike doesn’t have to look the same as your Spring, Summer, or Fall, and that’s OK.
The idea is to find a way to be consistent with moving your body through the winter months…either on the bike or off.
Don’t beat yourself up for “not doing enough” or for not riding long/hard enough during the cold weather.
Give yourself a little grace and keep your body moving as much as you can.
Also, remember it’s actually GOOD to have a season when you are taking it easy on your body. You have more time for rest and recovery, and will be ready to hop on nice and strong in the spring.
Focus on the beauty that is the winter season, and all of the cozy things it has to offer, and get on your bike when you can.