The beautiful bicycling paths of northwest Istria are just as gorgeous in the winter as they are in other seasons. If you are familiar with these parts, you will know that snow is rare and that cycling conditions in the winter days are not likely to give you too much trouble. You are almost certain to avoid plowing through the snow and to be able to use the same kind of bicycle that you would in the spring. Still, the ride is bound to be different to a certain extent in the temperature at least. As a result, you might find yourself one early morning riding down the Parenzana, one of the most beautiful paths in Istria, and you might come across some frozen ground, but it shouldn’t give you too much trouble.
Considering that there is no snow, what matters most when it comes to Istrian winter cycling is an appropriate choice of clothing and shoes. Experts say your biggest enemy in the winter is overheating, that is, putting on the right amount of clothes. If you put on too much, you’ll be hot, and if you put on too little you can end up freezing. The key is to have layers so that you can get rid of or put on pieces of clothing as you see fit. In order to do that, you will definitely need a waterproof backpack where you can put the extra clothes. Also, make sure to grab an extra cycling shirt in any given season, in order to have something to wear when you finish the ride and want to change.
Still, the fact that you’re not facing proper winter conditions doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get your bike ready for winter rides after picking out the right clothes. Before leaving, check the bike. Make sure the lights are working (on the Paranzana track you’ll be going through several pitch-black tunnels), and that the brakes are functional. Definitely oil the chain with some oil from the bike shop. And since you have a backpack, regardless of the season, take an extra air pump and tire repair equipment, or better yet, the basic tools to deal with all potential difficulties (like broken chains).
After finishing the ride, although you’re probably exhausted, take care of your bike. Clean it up from the mud and the moisture, if necessary take off the fenders, the seat, and give it a proper clean in order to reduce the risk of rusting.
Take a look at the Parenzana path in the autumn: