We know the winter can be tough on your motivation. It can be cold, dark and wet - it all just makes the sofa far too inviting. In fact, anything can seem like a better idea than going out on the bike. It’s surprisingly easy to talk yourself out of going for a ride, isn’t it?
That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 products that we reckon will help you get stuck in, when you’d tempted to get stuck into the mince pies instead.
Wrap up warm
It’s cold out there, and there’s nothing like investing in a high-quality cycling jacket to help get you out the door. Some of the jackets we’ve tested recently have been so good that they’ve made us hope for cold and wet weather just so we can enjoy taking it on. Check out our jackets review archive.
Keep spray at bay
If it’s the thought of getting caked in mud and water from the road that's putting you off riding, slap some mudguards on your bike. We know the misery of getting a wet bum and legs from the spray thrown up your own wheels, but with some mudguards fitted it can be fun to cycle through the rain. Go to our mudguard reviews.
Light the night
The day seems all too short at the moment and if you’re insistent on getting on your bike in daylight hours, you probably won't get much riding done. Riding at night can be a lot of fun. It's great to riding into the sunset and then come home in the pitch black. With some of the latest and brightest lights there’s little to fear from the darkness. Go to our lights reviews to see what's available and find out how the various options stack up.
Base layer for warmth
A really good base layer feels luxurious next to your skin. A good one - our fave is merino wool - will keep you well insulated from the cold, and keep you dry when you get a sweat on. Baselayers can sometimes seem expensive, but the warmth and comfort they offer is worth the small outlay. Get yourself a good one - or several - from our base layers reviews archive and you’ll never look back. Trust us.
Winter is a good time for getting the miles in, and a CycleOps PowerTap wheel is a good way of taking your training to the next level. Perhaps you want to get into racing next year, do your first time trial or finish a sportive with a gold time. Whatever your aim is, a PowerTap can help you get the most from every ride, help you turn your weaknesses into strengths and making every ride a specific training session. Check out our review.
Turbocharge your training
If you really can’t face the outdoors and don’t want to hit the gym, then a turbo trainer is an affordable way to keeping cycling. Your rear wheel simply clips into the frame and you can pedal as hard as you like, until a pool of sweat collects on the kitchen floor. Turbo trainers can be hard work but they’re great for training when it’s just too horrible outside. Read our review of the Cycleops Fluid 2 indoor trainer, for example.
Ride a new route
Exploring new routes is a good way to keep things interesting. If you’re tired of following the same old route you always ride, then why not explore some new roads? You can either use a free mapping website to plot your own route, or search for routes in your area then download them to a GPS computer. It’s a good way of expanding your horizons and you’ll probably be surprised at how many good roads you’ve been missing out on. The Garmin Edge 800 is a great GPS computer to help you.
Banish puncture woes
Punctures are no fun and if you're continually getting them it's time to get some new rubber for your bike. Tyres can be expensive, but remember that they’re a very important part of your bicycle. They’re the contact between you and the road, and have a huge influence on how the bike rides, so don’t skimp. Go to our tyre Buyer's Guide to find the best choice for you.
Look after your fingers
Gloves are an essential item of clothing that can have a huge impact on your riding happiness. Nothing is more miserable than freezing cold fingers, and the bad news is that once they get cold on a ride they're only going to get colder. We’ve been known to cut rides short because of cold hands so chunky winter gloves are a must. These Extremities gloves, for example, will help keep the cold out.
Set a challenge
Join the Rapha Festive 500 or set yourself another challenge (and, yes, before anyone points it out, we know it's not stictly a product). There’s nothing like having a goal to stimulate flagging motivation, and the idea of riding 500km between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve could be just what you need. Go on, go on, go on...
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.