Ask any cyclist worth their salt and they’ll tell you the same thing: the secret to race season fitness is found in the cold, dark winter months. There’s no shortcut to success when it comes to being a bike rider, and anyone who thinks they can put their legs up and wait for spring is fooling themselves. Take time off now, and your riding buddies will be taking minutes out of you on the climbs come April.
When we picture our perfect ride, it’s almost always under summer sunshine, with our jersey open to the wind and those questionable tan lines growing more pronounced by the minute. But unless you’re one of the lucky few who live somewhere blessed with a year-round temperate climate, inclement weather is just part of the sport.
It can, of course, also be part of the fun – assuming you’re prepared for it. As the old cliché goes: There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. Once you’ve got the right kit, a whole new experience opens up. The hibernal landscape can be just as beautiful as its aestival relative and there’s a definite thrill in conquering the cold, being comfortably dry and warm on your bike in spite of the wind and the rain.
Your turbo trainer is an invaluable wintry tool as well. Zwift is probably the coolest thing to ever happen to indoor cycling, and if you use the code “GoInGamba” your avatar will look plenty sharp in our custom kit. But it’s still nice to get out and ride, and making sure you get regular miles in the off-season will keep your bike handling skills sharp and your core in shape.
Our friends at Giordana have a great range of winter gear to keep you snug out there. The FR-C Bib Tight‘s soft Super Roubaix fleeced material retains heat while wicking moisture away from the skin, and the top-of-the-line Cirro chamois provides unbeatable comfort.
The FR-C jacket, meanwhile, is one of the most versatile pieces of cycling clothing on the market. It’s great for cool weather when used on its own as a jersey, and when combined with the right base layers it can be used even in extreme conditions, providing the kind of warmth and ventilation that few jackets can match.
There’s also our trusty Vero jacket, which is perfect for the colder months. It’s excellent at drawing away sweat and the brushed fabric inside feels great against the skin. It comes in a more relaxed fit than the FR-C range, but with elastic where it’s needed to make sure it stays in place.
And last but not least, you need the right gloves. As one of the body’s contact points with the bikes, keeping your hands comfortable is crucial to both safety and performance. Giordana’s Corsa mits are perfect for both, using the same fabrics from the FR-C bibs and jerseys combined with durable leather and paddling on the palms. They’re also designed to slip right on and fit snugly – so no fumbling about with straps or fasteners.
Winter rides don’t have to be competitive. And there’s no “one size fits all” solution. Your old-school friends will favour long rides at a steady pace – it’s unscientific, but it’s been the method of choice for pros for generations. But if life gets in the way or a four-hour spin isn’t feasible, go sprint some laps. Ride down for coffee with some pals. Jump on your bike whenever you have a spare hour. Just get in the saddle. You’ll be glad you did next summer.