How do people maintain bike handling and balance over the winter?

Every year, for the first ~10+ hours when I first bring the road bike out, I notice my handling and balance on the bike are garbage. Overreacting to gusts of wind, not holding a line well, can’t relax into aerobars as I feel off balance, etc.

I presume this is because the winter season here where riding a road bike isn’t possible is 4-5months (like snow, -10c or lower, etc). So that’s 5 months on the trainer with no need to balance or react to my surroundings.

I suppose training on rollers would help with this, but I don’t really have room for those.

Anyone else have any luck dealing with this? Yoga? Other sports?

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If you have access to a velodrome (I know not many do), that is a fun way to keep those handling and situational awareness skills. If not, I think rollers are your best bet. They tend to fold up pretty small so you can slide them behind a couch or under a bed when you’re not using them.

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Fat bike in the snow


cyclocross offcourse


Mountain Bike.

Mountainbiking is a summer sport tough :wink:

I’m the same as you, but I don’t sweat it. I know that after roughly 12-12hrs riding outside it will feel good again.

I just make sure the first 10-12hrs are no pressure (usually on my own on trials I know)

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Year round. Roadie is dry miles only :wink:


Riding outside?

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Don’t live in an inhospitable tundra maybe?


Care to elaborate on conditions?

Take up ice hockey??

Do ride outside in the winter. Riding on 45c studded tires on the commute to work, or a fat bike with 4.5" tires, is not quite the same as riding on 25c tires at 40kph while perched on aerobars. The balance and handling really don’t carry over I find.

Ha, yes I wish. But the tundra is home unfortunately. Though sometimes I really question that when it’s -20 to -30 for like a month at a time.

I live in SoCal

Depends on where you live. We can’t MTB where I live year round cause the trails are either covered in several inches of snow or are a muddy mess which destroys the trails. So unless it’s a unicorn week of no snow but low enough temps to keep it frozen you basically can’t MTB from Mid Dec to Mid April.

I live in SE Michigan so we have long stretches of snowy roads and high temps in the low 20s (F)(-5- -8c). If I wait a day or two after it snows (more for more snow) then I can go out on the gravel roads and the cars have packed the snow down enough to ride pretty well. If it’s more snow then I’ll take the MTB.

The aerobars are kinda a different story and might just take some time when you get back outside. But riding a gravel bike on snowy roads with winds in the 20+mph range is definitely an exercise in bike handling.

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My last outdoor ride was October 17, 2021, so a little short of 6 months ago. I don’t worry about handling skills over the winter because they come back relatively quick. It’s like asking how to be race ready for the first race of the season. Well, you can’t really because nothing replaces the real thing. The good news is that everyone is basically in the same position. I have a 100 mile MTB race in 3 weeks as part of of the NUE Series and I’d love to get out side but the weather hasn’t been cooperating. Oh well, I have a 100 miles to figure it out, lol.

I heard interviews of the podium finishers of the True Epic 100 (100 mile MTB race) and basically all of them said they only had a few trial rides prior, with one of them saying they only had 1 trail ride before.


As you noted, rollers would help a lot. Once you get used to them fixed trainers feel kinda strange (at least for me).

XC skate skiing may help? It requires lateral balance similar to biking (albeit much more than cycling). Also requires cornering though the specifics won’t transfer other than looking through the corner.

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I never notice it or have ever perceived a difference. My first few rides when I go out tend to be just easy long rides to get more time in…but always difficult not to go hard at some point on that first ride outside. I tend to be on the trainer all year round and ride outside only from May to Octt but still on the trainer for 1/2 rides a week.

I don’t. Come spring time I get on the bike like a newborn fawn, awkwardly jerking around to stay upright