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5 reasons to ride a ‘cross, gravel or MTB this winter

Treaded tires can be your friend as the weather gets colder

As winter approaches, you’re probably thinking about your off-season training. Do you prefer to only ride outdoors? Or perhaps a mix of Zwift with the occasional outside ride?

If you have the right gear, it’s possible to ride outside all year. But you may want to consider ditching your road bike (or keeping it inside on the trainer) for a bike with treaded tires. Whether it’s a ‘cross bike, a gravel bike or a MTB, there are lots of reasons why a more rugged tire can be your friend. Even if you still ride the road, or bike paths, having a bike with treaded tires can be very beneficial.

7 reasons you should ride outside this winter

It can be safer

When the roads get slick, a treaded tire is your friend. There’s not always a guarantee that the bike paths will be fully plowed following a snowfall. There might be some puddles from a recent rainfall that will make your favourite training route slippery. With a less slick tire, you’re definitely going to have more stability during the lousy weather this winter.

It’s warmer

If your tire has a heavier tread than your road tire, you’ll go slower. Instead of cruising along at 30km//h, you may find yourself going 25. Sure, this will mean slower training times and no Strava KOMs, but on a windy, cold day, your body may thank you.


Just because you have a bike that has a treaded tire doesn’t mean you have to go off-road. But it may mean that instead of sticking to your usual route, you can mix it up and beeline through a park you’ve ridden by all summer, but never visited. Maybe there’s a little shortcut through a forest. A bicycle gives you so much freedom to explore, but if you have a treaded tire, you can double the potential to see spots you might not normally see.

How this Ottawa cyclist uses bikes to explore unknown limits

Up your skills

Maybe you do decide to take some of your ride off-road. It can never hurt to use trails to work on your cornering skills. Riding through ruts on trails can help with your confidence in road races too. If you can learn the feel of your bike when you lose a bit of control, and stay upright, it can help you feel stabler and more confident when you’re back on the pavement.

Image: Grand Junction Off-Road

Get stronger

You may find yourself pushing bigger gears when the weather gets colder, and as long as you don’t overdo it, it can be a good thing. If you’re spinning fast inside when you ride the trainer, it can help to crunch some harder gears outside. Those strength gains can be helpful when you’re riding up some steep climbs in the summer months.