It's all well and good having the winter kit, but sometimes an escape is needed. We spoke to HUNT Beyond athlete Sofiane Sehili about how he keeps riding as much as ever in Winter. Sofiane has won many of the toughest bikepacking and ultra races as well as touring extensively all over the world. So rather than offering tips on how to deal with the cold winter conditions, Sofiane has given us 5 tips on how to escape winter based on his extensive travel experience.
Tip 1: Pick the right destination for you
There are several places where you can find pleasant weather during the winter. If you're looking for a short break from the cold, the Baleares, the Canaries or the Algarve are probably your best options in Europe. If you have the time and if you're looking for real heat, south east Asia is a bikepacking paradise that always delivers when it comes to high temperatures and sunshine. If you're willing to splurge and don't mind extra long flights, you'll find some of the world's best riding in New Zealand.
Tip 2: Do your research
Some places are more adequate for road cycling, other for gravel or MTB. For example I wouldn't bring a road bike to Colombia. A monster gravel or mountain bike is needed if you really want to enjoy everything the country has to offer. For Tenerife, an all-road bike is brilliant as it allows you to ride the beautiful tarmac that you'll find there but also some of the smooth gravel roads. Thailand has an awesome network of paved roads so it's great for skinny tyres.
Tip 3: Don't overdo it
Regularly training in the winter is a great way to ensure you'll be fit and ready to go when next season starts. But everybody needs rest at some point. So if you had a tiring season, make sure you don't add to that fatigue. Ride leisurely and take as many breaks as needed.
Tip 4: Don't pack just a bathing suit
I know it's warm where you're going and that's the whole point. But believe me, even in tropical climates, you can end up needing a down jacket. Both in Colombia and Laos, I have found myself facing unpleasantly cold temps. Once happy I had warm clothes and once wishing I had packed some. Don’t forget the sunscreen though!
Tip 5: Make the most of it
Whether you're traveling for a week or a couple months, time flies. And soon enough you'll be back riding in tights with gloves and shoe covers. So don't waste a minute of sunshine. Forget your phone and go get that vitamin D. If you don't do it for you, do it for all of your friends that wish they could take a break from winter but don't have the opportunity.
Something to take on your escape...
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