With the weather in the UK taking a turn for the worse this week. I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about wet weather riding. Now I know some of you will be laughing at this, thinking it's just the same - you just wear more. However, for me, road cycling in the wet is rubbish. It’s almost as rubbish as road cycling in a headwind.
With that being said, and my made of sugar attitude exposed, here are my top 3 ways you can enjoy keeping fit if wet weather riding is not for you.
1. Mountain bike
Ah yes, the swear word. Mountain biking and wet weather go together as well as road cycling and sun do. You wear more clothing, the trails usually ride better, and you don’t have to worry about getting your pristine bike covered in water, dirt and rubbish off of the road. Mountain biking in the wet is brilliant and it will help you develop your bike control skill for when you do return to the road.
Mountain biking is also a great way to vary your fitness as it's completely different to the constant cadence of cycling. It’s much more like interval training with long high cadence climbing coupled with short, fast paced, slower cadence, riding on the downhill trails. If you do have a mountain bike in the garage, switch over to the dark side for a day and get it dirty.
Mountain biking is great for:
- Developing bike handling skills.
- Training your body in a different way, which will keep you mentally stimulated.
- Preventing your pristine road bike from getting covered in crap.
2. Turbo training
As the great Arnold Schwarzenegger once said: “It’s turbo time”. The rainy days are perfect for getting your turbo training done if you don’t want to transfer to the dark side and get on a mountain bike.
For me, being on a turbo trainer is boring and mundane, but I do know some of you absolutely love it. So much so that you have dedicated entire rooms of your house to your turbo pain cave.
When the weather is rubbish, jumping on the turbo is a great way again to replicate road cycling. It can be used to maintain cadence, work on your efficiency or if you’re stuck for time it can also be useful for smashing out hill intervals.
Turbo training is great for:
- Keeping you dry.
- Providing a training experience that is fully tailored to your weaknesses.
- Allowing you to compete with your friends on zwift.
Lastly, you could go completely crazy and try something that doesn’t even involve cycling. Running is something I do in the winter when I don’t want to get the road bike out on our salt covered roads. I do not have a hardtail MTB and I don’t want to be smashing my full suspension to pieces 3x a week, so for me, running is a great way to keep fit without destroying both bikes.
Running is also very time efficient and requires no washing up (aside from yourself) afterwards. Like road cycling, running is also very much constant effort. Climbing, flat and descending all require your body to do the work and you don’t get any let up.
If you do decide to take up running, I would 100% recommend a pair of good shoes and remember. While you may be a fit cyclist running is very tough, don’t expect to be running at record pace or completing Gran Fondo’s on your first run. Pace yourself, set goals and achieve.
It is also worth mentioning running is also a fantastic way to develop strength in your legs in ways that cycling won't. So you will also be developing your body in ways that can only benefit your riding.
Running is great for:
- Giving you a new experience.
- Making your training much more time efficient.
- Preventing unwanted rain and dirt damage to your bike.
- Developing your lower body strength.
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About The Author: Adam Copley
Adam is a self-employed coach based in Sheffield, UK. Alongside this he is an avid cyclist and competes in cross country mountain biking across the UK. He has raced Cyclocross during the winter and is also a huge lover of road cycling. While he's not working on his business, he is usually out on two wheels getting fitter, and enjoying the fresh air and many climbs in the peak district.