Brr, It's Getting Cold Out There! How to Make it Through a Chilly Bike Ride

פורסם: 8 בנוב׳ 2010, 21:57 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 8 בנוב׳ 2010, 22:02 ]

Everything you need to know about bicycling in the winter.

Thu Nov 4, 2010 11:36

Nothing is more pleasant that going for a bicycle ride when it is warm out, but what about when the temperatures drop? For those of us who commute by bicycle, getting motivated to ride to work or school becomes a lot more difficult when the mercury dips. Similar to riding when it’s hot, riding in cooler weather is possible if you take the necessary precautions.

When fall rolls around, it doesn’t mean you have to park the bicycle in the garage until next year. If you choose to ride year round, here are some tips on how to make the most of your fall/winter commute.

Dress for Success
Keep in mind that you are going out into the elements. You probably won’t wear the same clothes riding to work as you would riding in a car. If you can, bring a change of clothes. It’s likely that you will get wet or cold. Once you realize this, you can learn to dress appropriately and riding in the winter will not seem so bad.

That means sporting a waterproof jacket for days when it’s raining or snowing, and layering up. Throwing on a pair of waterproof pants helps too. Your hands and feet will be the most sensitive areas, so invest in a pair of waterproof gloves and find appropriate socks and footwear. You can also get a helmet cover for your helmet to help repel water. A headband or thin hat or balaclava that fits underneath your helmet ensures you’ll keep your ears covered. If you are riding in really bad weather, get a pair of goggles to keep the rain or snow out of your eyes.

Bike Check

Once you know how to dress for the weather, take a look at your bicycle. It’s probably a good idea to park your expensive road bike and use a mountain bike with knobby tires instead. Mountain bikes are better suited for difficult terrain. The thin tires of a road bike don’t give you as much traction as a mountain bike’s fatter tires.

Try to get studded tires for winter riding. The roads are slick, and depending on where you live, they may be covered in snow, sleet or rain, and that rain can easily turn into ice. Studded tires have spikes in them ensuring that you grip the road better.

Always bring along extra tubing and a patch kit when you ride. You can reinforce your tubing using a tuber liner such as Mr. Tuffy that is inserted between the tire and the tube to prevent unnecessary punctures. Because the weather may bring unexpected debris from the road, chances of a puncture are more likely.

Clean Bicycle

Make sure you clean your bicycle regularly. Riding in the winter means more grit, sand and other debris will kick up from the road. Road salt is hard on bikes, so rinse off your bicycle regularly and wipe it down before you head out to avoid rusting. Don’t forget to make sure that your chain is lubricated and all cables are well-greased, otherwise moisture can get into the brake housing and freeze, causing damage. Cleaning your bicycle regularly ensures that the parts keep running smoothly and that everything is in check.

Light Up

Having a good light for the front and back of your bicycle will increase your visibility on the road. Winter days are shorter, so you spend more time riding in the dark. Good lights will also make you more visible in stormy weather. A blinking reflector (back) light will help drivers see you--just be sure to check batteries often.

Being a prepared and savvy rider ensures that you will have a comfier ride to wherever your destination is. Winter riding does not have to be a hassle. In fact it is often pleasant since there are fewer commuters and it is just you and the elements.


More on biking

Better Biking
Ride Your Bike All Winter: Part 1
Ride Your Bike All Winter: Part 2
42 Tips To Help You Ride Your Bike All Winter