The clocks go back this weekend ushering in that time of year when, for many cyclists, dust sheets are thrown over bikes before they are packed away for the winter months.

But, even in the inhospitable Scottish climate, it is possible to cycle all year round. Here some top cycling names share their expert tips on happy winter pedalling.

Stay dry and warm

When it comes to choosing gear for a winter's day, two-time world champion Graeme Obree wouldn't leave home without his trusty touring cape, which is worn like a poncho.

"I've been in the middle of moors in Ayrshire with a broken chain, heavy snow coming down and using my touring cape like a survival suit as I fix it," says Obree. "Make sure you have a tool kit - and know how to use it."

Scottish mountain biker Gareth Montgomerie, who represented Scotland at the 2006 and 2014 Commonwealth Games, has a raft of great advice on this theme. "Block up the vents on your cycling shoes - including the ones on the soles," he says. "Duct tape on the outside and tape or tinfoil on the inside will stop cold air getting in and hot air getting out. Combine this with toe covers/overshoes and your feet will stay nice and warm in the worst of conditions.

"My second piece of advice would be to ride in shoes a size bigger than you normally would. This allows you to wear thicker/warmer socks, but more importantly allows your toes to move and keep blood circulating."

Be lit up like a Christmas tree

"It's not only your bike that needs to be ready for the dark mornings and evenings; the rider must be prepared, too," says Ellis Bacon, co-author of Cycling Anthology: Volume 5 (Yellow Jersey, £8.99), published November 6. "Wearing bright, reflective clothing of course goes a considerable way to helping you get seen by other road users, but when you're crouched over your bike with a rucksack full of your work clothes obscuring most of your back, the benefits of that hi-viz top can often be negated. So invest in an luminous rucksack cover: an elasticated fabric (and, handily, usually waterproof) that is quickly and easily attached over your bag.

"A fluorescent yellow or orange one is best for when the light begins to fade, ideally with large, additional reflective strips to get you seen once darkness falls. Some models even have integrated lighting to supplement your bike lights.

Remember: the brighter, the better. Aim to light you and your bike up like a Christmas tree, and you'll have gone a long way to eliminating the classic: 'Sorry, mate - I didn't see you.'"

Preparation, preparation, preparation

"Mudguards make a huge difference because you don't want to have a soaking wet bum whenever it starts to rain," says six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy. "Make sure that your bike is in good working order too. Whether it's a flat tyre or a problem with your chain, there is never a good time to be mending your bike at the side of the road but certainly not when it's miserable, wet and cold."

His thoughts are echoed by Montgomerie, who has recently opened bike shop Studio Velo ( in Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway, offering top class custom builds, clothing and coffee. "Have everything laid out and prepared the night before including clothing, bike and nutrition," he says. "Always carry a rain jacket, pump, two inner tubes, tyre levers, multi-tool and quick links (and know how to use them).

"Make sure there is food available to you as soon as you return - a quick snack/protein drink soon after your ride will greatly improve recovery."

Have a winter-specific bike

Many newer cyclists don't realise that salt from grit on the roads will wreck a good bike. Your loyal steed deserves better than being slowly eaten away and corroded by road spray. As soon as the first gritters arrive out on the roads, your best bike should be stored away for the winter months, says Commonwealth Games bronze medallist James McCallum.

"I remember destroying a brand new pair of wheels in about three weeks because of all the grit coming off the road surface," he says. "It sticks to everything and becomes caustic. It wore out my brake surface in less than month.

He has some handy storage advice too. "If you don't have a garage and need to keep your bike indoors, buy a cheap yoga mat or an old school roll of vinyl carpet protector," says McCallum. "When you arrive home with dripping wet, muddy tyres it helps keep the floor clean and stop unnecessary damage.

"In terms of storing your good bike over the winter, try to give it a little overhaul before you put it away. There's nothing worse than it being a lovely sunny day next spring and desperate to get out on your bike, only to end up losing the best part of a day doing basic maintenance such as fixing the chain or changing brake blocks."

Consider going off-road on your rides

"The slower speed and loose terrain of riding off-road means you work harder at lower speed drastically reducing windchill," says Montgomerie. "Riding a cyclocross bike will also allow you to replicate your road position and improve your bike handling skills."

McCallum, who is part of TrainSharp Cycle Coaching Team, firmly agrees. "I spend a lot of time riding my cyclocross bike in winter," he says. "The effort that you have to produce on the road to stay warm can be counterproductive when it's really cold.

"If you can go ride your bike in the woods and hide from the wind a bit, your body temperature stays up and you get a good workout. It's traffic-free and with the roads in the winter being a little bit more hazardous, it can be a safer option. You can also have a decent training session without having to be too structured."

Think about expanding your horizons off the bike too. "Yoga - I can't recommend this enough," says Montgomerie. "When cycling you operate generally in one plane of motion. Yoga will help open hips and improve core strength. Replace one of your turbo/spin/gym sessions with a yoga session and I bet your cycling performance will improve with faster cadence and more relaxed pedalling style."