Australian Mountain Bike - - Contents - WORDS: ANNA BECK PHOTO: WAYNE REICHE

It’s hard work head­ing into win­ter. I know this is a big claim for many of us who live in Aus­tralia, as re­ally…it’s quite tem­per­ate. But de­spite be­ing for­tu­nate to live in a cli­mate that re­ally doesn’t have much win­ter, the cooler morn­ings and re­duced light can mean that it can still be a huge ef­fort to get out and keep fit on the bike over these months. Some­one once said; “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad cloth­ing”. To which I say pop­py­cock! If it’s un­der 20 degrees that’s al­most arc­tic and wor­thy of full-length arm and leg warmers, full fin­gers gloves, and per­haps even a bala­clava. (Yep, we are pretty tough here in Queens­land). In full se­ri­ous­ness; win­ter de­liv­ers shorter and cooler days, and for some peo­ple this can trig­ger sea­sonal af­fec­tive dis­or­der (SAD) which is a type of de­pres­sion re­lat­ing to the re­duc­tion of light lead­ing to al­tered mood, dis­rupted sleep pat­terns, and changes in ap­petite. Re­gard­less of whether you’re just brisk-averse (see what I did there?) or suf­fer­ing with a more se­vere SAD-type is­sue, ex­er­cise is key through­out win­ter. I have put to­gether some great ideas to keep you rolling through the bitter, ghastly cold win­ter (of trop­i­cal Queens­land or even a place where it ac­tu­ally gets cold).


If you are plan­ning on a morn­ing ride, tip one is to have all your things ready to go. There is noth­ing eas­ier to do than hit the alarm, get up, de­cide that get­ting or­gan­ised is too hard, and roll over and pull the donna up a bit tighter. If you have your lights charged and on the bike, tyre pres­sure di­alled, bot­tle ready to go, kit planned out and cof­fee wait­ing for you (brewed the day prior—#pro­tip) then it’s much eas­ier to roll out of bed, into your kit and hit the trail.


Phone a friend, or­gan­ise the ride and don’t be that gal that can­cels. Hav­ing some­one to ride with al­ways makes rid­ing seem eas­ier, and hav­ing some­thing planned keeps you ac­count­able; even in the depths of win­ter.


Look, I’m the first to ad­mit that at times the only rea­son I have even started a ride is be­cause there is a prom­ise of cof­fee at the end. Usu­ally this goes hand in hand with #2, and the ride starts with meet­ing some good friends, huff­ing a lot, sprint­ing up and down some hills, fol­lowed by some #deep­re­gret and my­self ask­ing how far away the cof­fee shop is. Ev­ery two min­utes. Cof­fee shop rides keep you in the so­cial loop, give you ex­tra en­ergy, and also warm the fin­gers tinged with frost­bite from the bliz­zards en­coun­tered on the trail.


How much bet­ter will you feel once the ride is done? Usu­ally a heck-load bet­ter than just sleep­ing in, rolling out of bed and go­ing to work. Some rides are just toil, there is no way around it. But in­vari­ably, even the rides where you feel like there are lead weights in your legs, and you’re rid­ing like a numpty, re­sult in a slightly bet­ter mood and out­look for the rest of the day.


If you’re a goal-driven per­son, en­ter­ing an event a few months away can be the swift kick up the bum required to get out and ride. It doesn’t mat­ter what you en­ter; grav­ity, a marathon, even an off-road triathlon for those who en­joy life with­out socks. What­ever the event, once you’re signed up it’s a kind of un­writ­ten com­mit­ment to ride your bike.


If all else fails and it’s sim­ply too hard/cold/dark to ride and you’re in a big old win­ter hole, then per­haps take a hol­i­day. Ski­ing is (al­legedly) an en­joy­able sport, or al­ter­na­tively for a healthy dose of Vi­ta­min D you could visit the north­ern hemi­sphere and en­joy their glo­ri­ous sum­mer. I hear the South of France is nice?

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