Decreased Daylight: 5 Ways To Keep The Cranks Turning

Night Road Biking

As we enter the colder months in the northern hemisphere, the decreased daylight hours can take a heavy toll on our riding fitness as the available time to ride decreases drastically. Gone are the days of regular weekday rides in favor of darkness as you head home on your daily commute.

When the days start getting shorter, we have to get more creative with our ride selections to keep the legs up and moving during the colder months of the year.

Decreased Daylight: 5 Ways To Keep The Cranks Turning

The last thing we want to happen is to lose everything we worked for over the spring, summer and beginning fall months, so here are some ways to keep rolling through the decreased daylight hours.

  1. Turn 1 Weekday Ride Into Multiple Lunch Rides – While you might not have the time available to get in a long lunch ride, several lunch rides through out the week can add up just as easily. Pack your bike and gear to work and get in a 45 minute session with some of the nastiest hills in your office. It will beat the hell out of sitting on a trainer and fill in the gaps that your weekday ride after work left behind.
  2. Night Road Rides – In my area, we have several larger, residential areas that are lit nicely. This gives us the opportunity to ride at night with simple lights in an area that is safer than high traffic roads or roads without street lights. It isn’t ideal as we end up looping sections multiple times but…again…it beats the gym or being on a trainer.
  3. Big Weekend Rides – Since the regular weekday rides are all but gone, your weekends are the time to really get the miles in and enjoy being on the bike. Your grass and plants aren’t growing so the “honey do list” should be decreasing allowing you to get some miles in on the weekend.
  4. The Trainer – When all else fails (or you have a foot of snow on the ground), the trusty trainer is always there to save the day. By staying on the trainer several times a week, you can keep you legs turning over cranks all throughout the colder months regardless of the weather. The trainer can be insanely boring, so adding in music or movies can drastically decrease the looming boredom.
  5. The Gym – Hitting up the gym and spin classes over the colder months is another less ideal way to keep the legs in check no matter what everything looks like outside. While we would rather be on the bike, doing regular workouts and spin classes will keep you in shape and ready for prime spring riding season or your upcoming weekend ride.

Another important note worth considering as you look to keep your fitness up during the decreased daylight hours…as it gets colder…you want to eat like crap more and more. Your diet during the off season is incredibly important in keeping your fitness level up as you will not be getting in the consistent miles you are used to during the warmer, longer days.

Image by Rooney.

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