If you are like most cyclists, you are counting the days until you can clean the dust off your bike and head out on that first ride of the spring. But who ever said you have to wait until spring? Follow these 9 tips for winter biking and get a jump start on your cycling season.
Like snow tires for your car, wider tires with deeper grooves are safer than thinner tires for winter because they are less likely to slide when riding across ice or snow. A good set of winter wheels will keep your butt in the saddle and off the pavement.
Take The Pressure Off:
Lowering your tire pressure is essential in the winter to help maintain traction. Look on your bike tire, it should tell you the recommended PSI the tires should be filled to. Fill the tires to a few pounds lower then what is recommended. Besides providing more grip, it will also help smooth out what would be an otherwise bumpy ride.
Because biking is less common in the winter, drivers are less cognizant of cyclists sharing the road. Flashing lights in the front and back of your bike, along with reflectors will help motorists notice you from farther away. Red and blue lights are a good option because they are easier to see in snowy conditions.
Good advice for the bar on Friday night as well as the roads in the winter. Try and keep your shoulders, back, arms and hands loose; if you are real tense and come across ice you are more likely to jerk your handle bars when you come across a patch of ice and wipe out.
You’ll want to wear numerous layers to protect yourself from the cold. That being said, you don’t want to wear heavy clothing that limits your mobility. Multiple layers of a breathable material with a wind-proof outer layer is the best option. A hat is also a good idea to keep your head and ears warm, which might require you to purchase a larger helmet.
When snow and ice are on the ground there will be more of a glare, which will impair your visibility. Also you are more likely to kick salt and up from the road and into your face. A snug fitting pair of shades will protect you from both of those hazards.
Metal watches are likely to get cold quickly and can cause frost bite. A watch with a plastic strap is a much safer option.
When it is cold out riders are less likely to bring water on their ride. Between wearing numerous layers and the exertion that comes with winter cycling, you have to remember to hydrate regularly.
We recommend both you and your bike get cleaned up after a ride. Salt and dirt are more likely to get into your bike’s gears and cause corrosion in the winter. A warm and soapy rag will ensure that your bike will be ready for your next ride.