With cold winds in your face and slick surfaces to navigate, the winter is not the ideal to ride on your typical bicycle. Many of us use a bike as our regular transportation, and some of us have our bikes tricked out for winter riding, as well. In order to make the most of your bicycle during the cold winter months, and avoid sticking to an indoor bike, here are some tips for staying safe and sound and avoiding accidents while doing so.
Layering up is your best bet against getting injured just from the cold of a winter bike ride. This is not a matter of your normal layering, though – you should invest in bicycling clothes that are meant to be layered. They are typically thinner than normal layers, but act to keep you performance ready, as you will warm up as you ride. Riding in a full winter outfit makes bicycle riding more difficult, and may actually cause you to sweat more – if you then remove layers, your sweat will cool you, defeating the whole purpose of your winter outfit. You should consider:
- Moisture-wicking clothing, in case of cooling sweat
- Wind resistance and water resistance
- Covering your body from head to toe
This is always important, but during most times of the year, we tend to think of this as what to wear when cycling at night. With winter, you might be dealing with snow and with drivers whose own views are obstructed, so visibility is just as important when it’s cold out. Go with the usual suspects: reflective clothing and gear with reflectors on all sides, and make sure your bike has safety lights, using the brightest of your lights for the rear of your bike to avoid being rear-ended. If you do experience a bicycle accident, contact us.
Low Tire Pressure
You should be sure to check your bike’s tire pressure regularly, as they will lose pressure faster in the cold weather. Checking before each ride is a good tip. When refilling, though, you should be sure to keep your tire pressure at the low end of the acceptable range, in order to increase your bike’s traction, as it keeps you closer to the road and spreads your tire’s footprint out more that way.
Double-Duty Warm Water Bottle
Yes, for winter time, make sure your water bottle has warm water in it. This not only helps warm you up when you take a drink, but it is also helpful for keeping your drivetrain from rusting from all of that riding. You should also make sure to wipe your drivetrain down after you ride each time, and if you can, store your bike indoors (cover it if you’re storing it outside).
Especially if winter has come on fast, you can’t expect to be up to your summer speeds, so be sure to warm up to your typical cycling speeds. You need to adapt to how your environment has changed, which could change your cycling style or even your route for the winter.