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Winter, to some cyclists means very little time on the bike, to some it's an off season away from racing but to a few it means fun and laughs. Yes it can be cold, muddy, hard work but it can be a lot of fun if you take it for what it is......winter riding.

At first, it might seem to be a daunting activity bundling yourself up to ride through winter snow, ice, rain, mud or even just cooler temperatures. But give it a chance. The rewards are many.

Wearing the right clothing is a great place to start to make spending the time out on the bike as warm and dry as possible. A good pair of waterproof warm gloves are essential and remember to layer up with a merino base layer underneath a number of warmer layers allowing you to regulate your temperature.

A waterproof jacket is an essential piece of winter riding kit, not only on the rainy days but also as a wind stopper and they keep you dry from the spray and mud thrown off your tyres. A jacket with a hood is a good choice, ideally it will go over your helmet rather than underneath or a merino skull cap under the helmet will keep you extra toasty on those sub-zero days.

Your legs never seem to suffer as much as the top half but a good pair of thermal tights and a pair of waterproof shorts will keep the legs turning and feeling fresh.

Waterproof socks and shoes are popular with some riders and in my own experience do work well until the water gets in the top then they act like wellies holding the water in the shoe!

I know they are ugly and make don't fit well with the sweet lines of the frame but a good set of mudguards will keep you dry as well as any clothing and they keep the mud out of your face and eyes, so I would recommend investing in a set for winter.

Don't let winter keep you off the bike, fight back with the right gear and get out and learn new skills riding the mud and slipperyroots. It will make you a better rider come summer.

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