It’s here. Cold, short days. The end of those long, evening rides as you know it.

You may think that just because winter is here your outdoor bicycling is over. That doesn’t have to be the case. This year could be the year that you become a true four-season rider. Here are a few tips to help you survive the cold, stormy days.

1. Fuel, Hydration & Clothing
The most important part of cold-weather riding is keeping your body warm. You will keep warm by properly fueling, hydrating and clothing yourself.

Never leave on a ride on an empty stomach. Failure to do so can result in depriving your body the right kind of fuel it needs to produce heat and energy. And don’t forget to drink. It might not feel like you are dehydrating, but you are.

Clothing can be tricky. You need to create the perfect combination to not be too cold or hot. If you are over dressed you will become too hot and sweaty, resulting in dehydration. The best practice to follow is to wear just a enough clothing to be slightly cold when you start pedaling. As you begin to exert energy, your body will produce heat and keep you plenty warm.

2. Maintenance
Riding in the winter calls for additional TLC for your bike. With all the muck and slush on the road, your bike will surely start to click and clack if you do not give it proper maintenance. Make sure to clean your chain and drivetrain after each ride. All you will need is chain cleaner, a rag and an old toothbrush. Also, don’t forget to wipe down your brakes and make sure your wheels are clean after a snowy or slushy ride.

3. Skill
Winter riding calls for a little bit different skill set than warm weather riding. Get used to moving slower, because it is essential for safe winter riding. Use extreme caution on possibly icy or wet roads. It does not take much to cause your tire to slip out from under you.

4. Caution
This tip should probably be number one. Your safety on the road should always be your primary focus. Winter riding requires you to be even more aware of your surroundings. Vehicles are use to seeing cyclist on the road during warm summer days, but not in the middle of the winter. Keep this in mind. Be observant and aware, always

Make sure to bring a headlight and taillight with you on your winter rides. Days are shorter and you never know when a storm might be rolling in. Proper lighting will make it much easier for drivers to see you sharing the road.

5. Stay Inside
And if all else fails, an indoor training cycle is never a bad option. Even more, if you are looking to maintain a certain level of cycling strength and endurance throughout the winter, you will have to make the indoor training cycle a part of your daily routine. Interval training on an indoor training cycle is a great way to get the most out of shorter workouts. Interval training can be just as effective as long endurance rides to build strength and maintain endurance.

iFit’s Google Maps™ based workouts allow you to ride your favorite routes all year long. Draw a route anywhere in the world using the iFit Workout Builder and download the workout to your iFit Ready Indoor Cycle. Your bike will automatically adjust the incline/decline or resistance to match the actual terrain mapped while showing you Street View images.