Road cycling in the harsh winter months can be miserable and also dangerous; ice, snow and rain can make road surfaces treacherous so many riders opt to stay off the bike, losing fitness and piling on the pounds.
But there are many ways to maintain cycle fitness when it’s cold and wet outside. This article offers some tips on how to stay cycling fit and fully prepared for the cycling season once good weather returns.
Indoor Cycle Training
Many keen road cyclists opt to keep on cycling by using an indoor bike trainer rather than going to a gym. With prices starting from as little as $150, riders can simply lock the rear wheel into the cycle trainer and pedal away using interval training techniques to boost fitness levels.
More expensive cycle trainers come with a complete range of cycling training software and training videos allowing road cyclists to practice steep hill climbing on a simulated course, just like in the Tour de France. As long as the rider doesn’t get bored, indoor cycle training is a great way of staying fit.
Some riders prefer the gym on a cold dark night and mix stationary exercise cycle workouts with spinning classes. While these classes provide a very different riding experience from being out on the road, they are a useful way to build stamina and a competitive edge as participants vary resistance levels and speed according to instructions from the class leader.
Strength Training for Cyclists During Winter
Other ways to maintain cycle fitness include the following, useful for strength training and general all-round aerobic fitness:
– Use a home exercise rowing machine to exercise all major muscle groups.
– Buy a low-cost fitness ball to strengthen abdominal muscles and improve balance, two key areas to encourage good cycling technique.
– Consider using a mini trampoline for some rebounding exercises that help to detoxify the body after holiday season excesses and also help with any neck or back pain, common amongst cyclists.
– Switch to mountain biking as tracks may be muddy but they are far safer than riding on slippery roads plus mountain biking, while slower, helps to build stamina as the rider constantly has to work hard to maintain speed.
Increase Cycle Fitness at a Cycling Training Camp
Those with time and enough money should think about a cycling training camp in a warmer climate. Keen roadies often head to training camps in southern Spain, Italy and France but there are also other winter training options like Club La Santa in Lanzarote and deserted roads in Cyprus where dry conditions and temperatures between 18-20 degrees make road cycling in winter a pleasure.
Winter Training for Cyclists
Stay cycling fit this winter using just one or a combination of the above winter training tips. Be fully prepared for the summer season by going to a cycle training camp if budget allows; otherwise keep cycling indoors or try a different form of exercise to keep motivation and aerobic fitness high.
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