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Where to Ride This Winter

26 Nov 2015 00:57:07

Cycling in Winter

There’s nothing better than cycling through the countryside and getting some fresh air along the many cycling trails our country has to offer. And why should it be any different in winter? There are countless cycling trails that are perfect for winter cycling, so there’s no excuse to not get outside for a ride. All you need to do is be extra careful when it comes to icy surfaces and unpredictable weather, as winter can be a fickle thing. Here’s a few of our favourite winter trails:

Brecon Beacons, Wales
The Gap trail is well known in mountain biking communities, as it offers great views along some pretty amazing mountains. This ride isn’t for the faint hearted, but the good thing is that it holds up very well in winter conditions and is a reasonably slow and steady ride, making it easier to scope out the trail ahead and ride safely. 

Thetford Forest, Norfolk
If the winter weather is really too much in higher altitudes, the forests in Norfolk offer a great opportunity for some fun rides. Beginners will be happy to know it’s the least mountainous part of the U.K and the dense trees through Thetford Forest mean that riders are somewhat protected from icy easterly winds.

Hastings to Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex
This is fairly leisurely track, perfect for beginners or even the whole family. If you don’t want to push yourself in the harsh winter conditions, this 20 minute trail will give you a nice, quick ride. The good thing is that the traffic-free, flat, and paved trail is safe to ride in the winter months. You’ll also get a great sea-side view with a beach shingle section of the trail.

Getting out and being active in winter can seem hard, but these beautiful winter cycling tracks might be just what you need to help you get out the door. Of course, it is always important to stay safe as the low light in winter can make you harder to be seen by motorists and fellow cyclists alike. Wearing protective bright or high visibility clothing, like our warm but breathable Switch jackets, can help ensure that you are visible and keep you safe out on the trails.

Comments | Posted By Blog User

How to Train During Winter

26 Oct 2015 11:28:39

Training in winter

Training and exercising in winter is tough, even for the most motivated among us. But as the temperature drops, the days get shorter, and the food gets more ‘comforting’, it’s still important to remain active. Not only will it help keep off those dreaded winter pounds but it also works wonders for keeping the winter blues at bay. Here’s a few simple tips about training throughout winter to keep you on track:

  1. Don’t overdress:
    It may seem tempting, but you don’t want to be sweating before you even leave the house and you don’t want to overheat during your work-out because this could lead to dizziness and dehydration. You should feel a little bit chilly once outside, try to dress for temperatures approximately 10 degrees warmer. You should wear breathable clothing that isn’t too heavy, and layering is key so you can take some off as you begin to warm up. For an ideal jacket, check out the Reflect360 running jacket which is made of warm, water-resistant fabric, but has perforated panelling under the arms and across the back to keep your body temperature at the optimum level. 

  2. Spend more time on warm-ups:
    You need to take it easy on your body during winter, as the cold will cause your muscles to tighten. Without an adequate warm-up, you could very easily pull or tear a muscle. Make sure you spend a bit more time warming up before going into your higher intensity work-out. If you normally walk or stretch for 10 minutes, try giving yourself 20 minutes to really loosen those muscles. 

  3. Eat the right foods:
    Thankfully there are foods that give you much needed energy and also fight off those nasty winter colds and flus. Oats and barley will provide plenty of warm, nourishing energy, while also boosting your immunity and speeding up the healing process. Garlic is a wonder for fighting bacteria and infection. Try having two cloves a day as studies show that garlic eaters are two-thirds less likely to catch a cold. And lastly, try to add more fish to your diet as the protein will provide energy and help reduce inflammation and increase airflow to the lungs. 

Working out in winter doesn’t have to be the challenge it seems. By taking care of yourself, and spending a little more time on the basics you can ensure that your workout is just as fun and effective. Of course, don’t forget to stay visible as well! The greyness of winter can hide you better than you think, so make sure you stand out by wearing bright and reflective sportswear. If you’re exercising out-doors then the new PixElite Jacket could be right for you – it has reflective yarn built into its high performance fabric to give you breathability and protection all in one. Safety always comes first!

Comments | Posted By Blog User

Winter Running on mountain

When the temperature drops and the nights draw in it can be hard to find the motivation to head out on the trails. But, although mud, rain and snow might make staying in by the fire or hitting the treadmill at the gym sound like better options, winter conditions can make for great running too. Jen & Sim Benson, authors of guidebook Wild Running (Wild Things Publishing, £16.99), share their top tips for getting out and having fun, whatever the weather. Find out more and buy their book at Proviz customers can get 25% off and free UK P&P by entering code PROVIZ at the checkout.

1.     Time it well

It always feels like there’s so much more time to run in the summer, when both mornings and evenings are warm and light. With the arrival of winter it can feel as though running in the dark is your only option, but a lunchtime run can be a great way of making the most of the available daylight. It’s also a good way to introduce some new trails into your training, as well as exploring a new area. There may even be others who want to run with you: always great for a bit of added motivation.

2.     Good company

If there’s no option but to run in the dark, a bit of company can make an otherwise lonely training session much more fun. Arrange to meet a friend after work (or before if you’re really motivated – it’s great to get training out of the way early!) or join a club and face the darkness together.

Shine Brightly with Proviz

3.     Shine brightly

A good head-torch is an absolute must when you’re running in the dark. We invested in an excellent set last winter and were astounded at the difference they make, particularly off-road when seeing every bump, twist and turn makes running infinitely more enjoyable – and safer too. Get the brightest you can afford and you won’t regret it!

4.     Pick your trail

With a bit of planning, running off-road in winter can be just as much fun - if not more - than in summer. Frozen ground requires a bit of extra care to negotiate but is often much easier-going than when muddy. Snow can make for some really exciting running: we love being the first out on a snowy morning, breaking a fresh trail across the fells. And of course there’s little better than getting out, getting muddy and having a blast on the trails with the reward of a hot bath when you get home.

Snow running

5.     Layer up

When it comes to clothing, cold-weather running is all about layers. Running generates lots of heat, so even if you start off freezing cold you’ll find you warm up rapidly. Having several layers, rather than a single warm layer, means you can adjust for this. We always make sure we carry an emergency warm layer when we’re running off-road in winter too, in case we need to slow down or stop for any reason.

6.     Feet first

Footwear is an even more important consideration when the weather’s bad. Shoes with shorter studs work well on firm trails and rocks, whereas deeper lugs will give you better grip over slippery, muddy terrain. Fit is really important too, as shoes that are too large are more likely to trip you up, whereas shoes that are tight will be uncomfortable and make your feet feel even colder. Socks are an essential addition too, with many brands making winter-specific socks that offer warmth, cushioning and even waterproofing.

7.     Accessorise

There’s a fantastic range of winter running accessories to choose from, all of which make heading out in the cold a much more pleasant experience. Natural fibres such as Merino offer good warmth, with light weight and small pack-size, meaning you can stash hats and gloves in a pocket once you’ve warmed up. Headbands keep your ears warm, without covering your head, or a Buff or similar can be used as a neck-warmer, sweat band, hat or bandana.

8.     Fuel up

Simply keeping warm burns calories fast, so it’s important to make sure you’re well-fuelled for winter training. We love porridge on cold mornings to get our fires burning ready for a run. Recover with a well-deserved hot chocolate – cheaper, more delicious and just as effective as a protein shake.

9.     Goal!

There’s nothing like having a race on the horizon to keep you motivated. There are lots of fantastic winter races to choose from, whether you prefer a cold, crisp half-marathon or a full-on muddy fell run. Many of the bigger marathons are staged in early spring too, so having one to train for is great for staying on track when you’d rather stay in.

Night Running Proviz

10.  Be safe – been seen

Even running off-road it’s important to make sure others can see you, especially when you’re crossing or running alongside roads. On grey days its’s good to wear bright colours so you stand out from your surroundings. At night make sure you have plenty of reflective details on all of your kit to ensure you’re as visible as possible. We’ve noticed having reflective detail on the parts that move most during running, such as hands and feet, is particularly eye-catching and therefore effective. The Proviz running range will make sure you’re as visible as possible.

Wild Running BookFor the chance to win a copy of the Wild Running book, head over to our Facebook page

Comments | Posted By Naomi Paget

Performance doesn’t just come down to personal ability. 

performance cycle jacket

If you have the wrong equipment and the wrong clothes, you may find yourself going slower and exerting more energy. So much can come down to what you’re wearing, and more specifically, the material, fit, and mechanics of your performance clothing choices. We’ve compiled alist of the key factors of effective outdoor performance clothing.

1) Material

The effectiveness of your exercise and performance clothing is often because of the material it’s made of. There have been countless innovations in fabric technology, from materials that can change their shape, conduct energy, and even contain anti-aging properties. Still, despite all the options available today, the most important aspects of performance materials are weight, weave, fabric, and wind-resistance. 

  • Lightweight materials don’t weigh you down when you’re training to increase speed and stamina. Heavy and thick materials on the other hand work against the body and demand more exertion for less results. 
  • The weave of the material is important too, as it should be tight enough that it sits comfortably on your skin, remaining thick enough to protect you against the weather, but not so much that it effects breathability.
  • The fabric of the clothing should be designed to work in tune with the body, much like Proviz’s PixElite range, which is made of a soft stretch mix of polyester, elastane and brushed thermal microfiber. This combination is also breathable and allows your body to sweat normally, regulating body temperature and letting your body to work at its peak.
  • Materials that trap air or billow outwards automatically slow you down. To heighten your performance, it is best to wear materials which hug the body and moves with it.Proviz cycle jacket
2) Fit

The fit and style of your performance wear goes hand-in-hand with the material. To maximise performance, you need clothing that is streamlined, reducing points where the wind will meet with resistance. Close fitting clothing, or race fit clothing, will also work to increase speed by increasing the body’s aerodynamic quality. 

Proviz PixElite Jacket

3) Protection

Performance clothing that also works to protect you from the elements, i.e. sun, wind, or cold, takes some of the hard work out for you. But it is also important that effective performance clothing protects you from elements you can’t see coming. Cycling safety is thankfully being integrated into the materials we use for performance clothing, for example the PixElite range, which is made with a reflective yarn woven into the fabric. This innovation means that the fabric is not bulked out with reflective panels, but rather streamlined with completely integrated reflective yarn, making your ride safer and faster.
Reflective yarn detail 

We would love to know what you think of the new PixElite range and what clothing helps you to perform best when you're out running or cycling?

Comments | Posted By Blog User

Cycling for Good

7 Sep 2015 12:25:59

The power of bicycles

Cycling can sometimes seem like a very personal pursuit, but there is a charity called World Bike Relief that is changing that and bringing cycling to disadvantaged communities in Africa, providing them with a much needed way of getting around. Proviz has been working with World Bike Relief for the past year to bring bikes to those who really need them, and it’s really easy for you to help support them.

Whenever you check out online, you have the option to donate 50p to World Bicycle Relief which Proviz will match each time. This money has gone directly to providing bicycles and the knowledge and equipment to fix and maintain bikes to people all over Africa. So far, the money Proviz has raised has enabled 15 bicycles to be given to children who need them and aim is to reach 50 by Christmas.

New Bikes


The philosophy behind the World Bike Relief is to mobilise people through the power of bicycles. Providing people in isolated communities with a mode of transport positively effects things like access to education and healthcare and provides local entrepreneurs with the ability to establish a source of income. In 2013 alone, the World Bike Relief distributed over 47,000 bicycles to people in desperate need of sustainable transportation.

We contacted Steve from World Bicycle Relief to hear first-hand how this support helps: “Donations from supporters like Proviz enable World Bicycle Relief to provide Buffalo bicycles to school children in Zambia, South Africa and Kenya. Our community led programmes have been shown to increase attendance and academic attainment among girls. It costs just £95 to put a bicycle into the hands of a child.”

Indeed, for children like Exildah Malambo, a new bicycle is a very big deal. She attends the Chippapa Primary School in Zambia and before getting her bike, had to walk over 2 hours every day to get to school. Her travel time is now cut down to 30 minutes, meaning she is never late or too tired to concentrate on her education. There are people all over Zambia, and the rest of Africa that are in similar situations, often too far from schools or hospitals to access them freely. 

Happy cyclistsThe positive impact created by this initiative is not limited to education and healthcare, the project also works to support social enterprise. World Bike Relief staff train local field mechanics to fix and maintain bikes, providing families with a source of income and people with a reliable vocation. The benefits of the initiative are far reaching and illustrate how something as simple as a bike can have such a big influence on someone’s life. This is a chance to really get involved and give back to those who need it. So next time you go shopping for cycling gear, help out a good cause and donate 50p to the World Bicycle Relief.

Alternatively, to start your own fundraising and change lives through the Power of Bicycles go to

You can find out more about World Bicycle Relief at

Comments | Posted By Blog User

Innovations in Cycling

21 Aug 2015 07:58:40

  1. The Very First Bicycle
    Wooden Bike
    Let’s start at the beginning shall we – and we mean the very beginning. Well, not as far back as the wheel (which was invented in Mesopotamia around 3500 BC and was not for transportation, but rather a potter’s wheel). We’re looking at the very first bicycle. The term was coined in France in the 1860s, but the very first evidence of a bicycle type machine was in Germany in 1817. The first means of transportation with two wheels arranged consecutively was the German draisine. It was a two-wheeled vehicle that was propelled by the rider pushing along the ground with their feet, either by walking or running. The front wheel and handlebar was also hinged to allow for steering. It may seem basic now, but this simple innovation led to the modern bicycle, which slowly equipped with chains, pedals, gears, and brakes over time.

  2. Brakes
    Bike Brakes
    Ah brakes, where would we be without you? If the design of the draisine is anything to go by, braking was once a process of using your feet alone to slow down or stop your bike. Not very convenient if you want to stop suddenly. Once bicycles were designed to get more speed, they also had to look at more effective ways of stopping. One of the first designs was a metal lever that pressed a wooden pad against the rear wheel. Brake innovation came about with the introduction of cable operated brakes. These brakes transmit mechanical force or energy by the movement of an inner cable, allowing for easier front and rear braking.


  3. Light Frames
    Bike Frame
    The first bicycles started out as a wooden structure, so really anything would be an improvement. But it was the lightweight, thin-wall frame tubing that revolutionised the speed and usability of the bicycle. The lightweight metal tube frames became popular around the 1930s, and in that year’s Tour de France, cyclist’s speeds increased more than at any other time in history. There are variations on the thin-wall frames now, with carbon and other materials being widely used, but it was this first innovation with metal to manipulate frame thickness and lightness that changed the way we ride.

  4. Pneumatic Tires
    Bike Tyers
    Bicycle tires are now air-filled, but once they were just wooden wheels surrounded by tires made of iron. This earned them their name as “Boneshakers”, as they were very uncomfortable to ride, literally shaking riders to the bone. The pneumatic tyre was patented in Scotland by Robert William Thomson in 1845, some 43 years before John Dunlop's re-invention. It essentially means a tire inflated with air, but this innovation in bike gear meant that riders could cycle with more comfort and at much greater speeds.


  5. Cycling Clothing and Safety
    Cycle Clothing
    Just like the early bicycles, cycle clothing was once very heavy and cumbersome, and most of the initial cycle clothing was made of wool, making it scratchy, heavy, and water retentive. An Italian tailor named Armando Castelli was the first person to introduce silk jerseys in the 40s, which were much lighter and more breathable. Then in the 70’s came Lycra, a fabric that combined polyester with elastic and made the rider more aerodynamic.

    So, we now had speed, but what about safety? We are so used to seeing high-visibility bike gear and cycling accessories now, but the concept first came to the UK in 1964 for experimental use on Scotland’s railway tracks, with vests used to give track workers more visibility. It was a success, and from there high-visibility material trickled down into cycling accessories and clothing. For a long time, reflective panels were used to catch the eye, but it was clear that for rider’s safety, they needed to be as reflective as possible.

    The idea behind Proviz, for example, rested on the lack of highly innovative, light-emitting and reflective cycling products. Their material was unique to the market; made from 100% reflective material so that the cyclist were highly visible at night and could be seen from every angle. This all-round reflectiveness in cycle clothing and cycling accessories is at the forefront of cycling safety, and the innovation is helping to reduce cycling injury and death. We have come a long way from the heavy woollen cycle clothing of the early riders, we are now riding safely, efficiently, and with speed, and looking pretty good while doing it. 
    Hi Viz Jacket 
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