Dave Smith’s eight winter training Survival tips
Choose figure-of-eight or clover-shaped routes that take you close to home a few times, in case you have to bail out. You don’t want to be 40 miles away on an out-and-back route fixing a chain with bare hands in a blizzard. I speak from experience.
On frosty days, choose west-east direction to start rides, then switch to south-north. This takes advantage of the sun reaching icy patches before you do. It’s not foolproof, but it helps.
Take a spare base layer, thin gloves and a fresh cap to change into if you are planning a cafe stop. The feeling of dry, comfy niceness is absolute bliss.
Use the hand dryers in cafe toilets to warm hands, hair, neck and gloves.
Fighting a hard headwind is the nearest we UK cyclists gets to alpine-climb-type effort. Don’t avoid headwind, use it — it’s just air moving around in an inconvenient way. It’ll make you a stronger rider.
Avoid hammering up big climbs. You don’t want to get drenched in sweat as the wind-chill on descents can be severe. If it’s very wind and cold, stick to flat routes so you can regulate your temperature more easily.
Carry calorie-dense food that makes you happy: scotch eggs, pasties, and hot chocolate in an insulated bottle.
Plastic disposable gloves from a petrol station make good emergency glove liners.