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Friday, 31 January 2014

Cycling Fitness Over the Winter Months

By Jack Hawkins

Photos: Shawn Whitelaw, Jim Goguen
Video: Delaney Fearon

As many a cyclist is aware, the winter months are those that you would usually remain bundled up indoors, hot chocolate in hand, blankets galore watching 'Gladiator' or some other epic film. Blood, guts, Romans, what more could you want?!

And then there are those cyclists who think, “Rain, snow, hail, ice? Pah! Not going to stop me getting around!” I am not one of those cyclists... Crying shame, I know! But, I'm just not one of those people, Winter is hibernation for me. It's when I take my time to write articles very much like this one, and reflect on what I've got planned for the New Year.

Well, after one, two, okay – three cups of tea, I've finally decided that I'd write an article about keeping fit over the winter months. Which is one of the reasons why people who cycle, cycle – it's a great way of keeping in shape. And so, since the snow has settled here on the ground in Canada, it's about time I put away my beloved tourer and found another way to keep myself fit throughout the long winters on Canada's East Coast.

Lots of cyclists will have indoor rigs set up to accommodate their cycling needs year-round. There are plenty of cyclists who will opt for either bicycle rollers, or magnetic resistance trainers, there are also those with exercise bikes, but they're often very expensive – depending on what you want, of course.

Personally, since I can't afford to buy rollers, or magnetic resistance trainers, I run on the treadmill. Obviously, it isn't comparable to the workout you'd get if you rode on the bicycle trainers, but I do work at least some of the same muscle groups and it's good for my cardiovascular system. I've also started doing upper-body and leg workouts to build strength.

For me, since I play lots of sports, keeping myself in good shape has always been a priority. But I also just enjoy exercise! It gets me out the house in the summer. And in winter months such as these, I have the equipment at home to maintain my fitness, even when it's minus-stupid outside.

Going forward, I'd love to get a set of rollers or a magnetic-resistance trainer at some point, but that's all in the future.

How do you keep fit in the winter? Tell us your own workout routine.


More Articles From Pico's Cycling (Just click photos or titles to access)

My Big Tour Preparation

This was written as a prelude to telling the story of my own cross continent attempt. Not meant as a how-to just a chronicling of what I did to make myself ready.

A Winter Cycling Microadventure

This the first and only article from Andrew Hendrickson. Just reading it will tell you that there is probably more where this one came from. It's a great little story and tour. I just have to figure out how to entice more from him.


  1. If you've got a trike like I do or plan to get one... Climb stairs... lots and lots of stairs.

    1. Personally I find the best is to just ride through the winter. I can't this year but I'm doing a lot of snowshoeing out of necessity. I think I'm going to be ready when the spring comes. Thanks for the response.