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The new year has started. Gradually, we have started to dream of spring. Unless you enjoy working out on a home trainer, this means having to go out in the dark once in a while. Here are seven indispensable tips for training in winter:

  1. Make sure you can be seen. Weather conditions can be more unsafe than in summer – not only in the dark, but also during the day. When you’re cycling in the dark, through the fog or when it’s raining, it is important to be prominently visible. It’s best to wear cycling clothes with reflective stripes so that cars and other cyclists will notice you faster. You could consider reflective stripes and lights in front as well as in back. You may feel like a cycling Christmas tree, but no one will recognise you in the dark, after all.
  2. Don’t count on others to see you and be alertfor cars and other cyclists. Take responsibility and make way if you notice that others have not seen you. Never cross the street unexpectedly, but anticipate carefully on any oncoming traffic. Keep in mind that not every cyclist will have the same good lighting that you do.
  3. Before you leave, communicatewith someone to tell them which route you’re planning to take. Also let them know when you expect to be back.
  4. Choose cycling routesthat are well-lit. Try to avoid rush hours if possible. Everyone is rushing to pick up their children from daycare or school, to the supermarket or home between 4 and 7 PM. In the hustle and bustle of rush hour motorists are less alert and an accident can happen before you know it.
  5. If anything should happen, make sure that you are identifiable. If you were to fall unconscious for whatever reason, it is important that bystanders know who you are. They should also be able to warn somebody easily. Therefore, you should put the number that can be called in an emergency in your phone clearly. If you are unconscious, others will be likely to call the number listed under ‘mum’ or ‘honey bear’. It’s a good idea to add the number of your emergency contact to your phone under ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) to prevent people having to go through your entire list of names.
  6. Injuriesare more common in winter than in summer. Make sure you warm up carefully and also adopt a cooling down routine. Test the surface of the road in the morning for iciness. We want to go cycling after all, not skating! Loose cobblestones and exposed tree roots are also a greater hazard in the dark.
  7. Don’t be frightenedby all the possible disasters mentioned above. When you’re comfortable, you radiate confidence. Be friendly to your fellow cyclists on the road and enjoy cycling, even in winter, so you will be ready for all the challenges that spring has in store for you!

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