It’s that time of the year again, the festive season, when many parts of the world get colder and wetter. Cold, wet weather should not be enough to keep you away from your bike, no. with these 10 cycling tips; you should be fine enough to enjoy riding in the winter
Staying warm during the winter is very important, and staying warm during the winter while biking is absolutely crucial. The head, torsos, hand and feet are the most important places to be well covered up during the winter rides. Place a scarf or a balaclava over your head and then wear your biking helmet to keep your head properly insulated. Thermal socks or layers of socks should ensure your feet and toes stay warm, and mittens or hand gloves go for your hands. Keep your body warm with layers, and the outer jacket should be lightweight and if waterproof, that would be a plus. Waterproof outfits will keep you dryer, and therefore warmer.
Visibility while biking is of utmost importance. You might be dealing with poor visibility during the winter, and do not forget that other road users will also be having the same problem. Also, some motorists might not be on the lookout for cyclists as they expect the weather to keep them inside. So, stay visible with brightly coloured, reflective outfits and a strong set of bike lights.
Plan the routes you will take before setting out. Determine the accessibility of the roads you plan to take. There is always the danger of road blockage due to debris and other factors, but during the winter the chances of a road block might be slightly increased. So, find out the route you plan on taking rather than cycle out in the cold only to be faced with a blocked path. And, if you do meet a blocked path, planning allows you know which other route is accessible to you and how much shorter or longer the alternate route is.
Maintain Your Bike
The winter cold and elements can be a cause of great distress to your bicycle. Pay close attention and take proper care to prevent too much damage to your bike. Take care to carefully clean your bike regularly, paying attention to the wheel, rims, chains and brakes. There is always the risk of rust, so make sure you properly lube the chains and steel components frequently. You should also schedule regular checks at your repair shop, for a more professional, thorough examination. If you want to replace your old bike, you can consider choosing a lightweight comfort bike for best winter cycling experience. If you are a woman, you can choose from some of the best bicycles for women available online.
Pay Attention to the Weather
Before you even consider stepping out in the winter season, make sure you consult with the weather forecast for the day. The expected weather will guide you on how to properly plan your trip, and let you know beforehand if you should schedule for another day. If the forecast predicts heavy snow storm, you definitely do not want to go out in that, and you’d be glad to be indoors as the elements wreak havoc outside. Consider the weather if you are planning long trips, too. Check the forecast for your departure date and your estimated time of arrival.
Ride with Company
Company makes everything better- or say some people say. Long winter rides will definitely be more tolerable and enjoyable if you make them with friends and other bike riders. It can turn out to be an enjoyable and more pleasant experience, as you shield each other from sharp winds and engage in small conversation. The safety factor is also greater here, as there is help on hand in case of a mechanical problem or incident.
People tend to get lazier in the winter, using the colder outdoors as an excuse to sit indoors and get no exercise whatsoever. If the elements are too harsh that you absolutely cannot risk taking a ride outside, keep yourself fit and quench your riding thirst by riding an indoor trainer. The trainer provides a safer alternative to riding in the cold, and is convenient and very effective. This is especially important for competitive cyclists who need to stay in top form.
‘Be prepared’ is the ultimate boys’ scout motto, and should come into play if you choose to cycle in the winter. With the worsening of the weather, there are higher chances that you will suffer some mechanical problem or a puncture. To beat the odds, make sure you travel with spare parts and actually know how to use them. A functional pump and at least two tubes are the basic requirements.
Food and Drinks
Your bicycle might not need fuel, but you definitely do. Ensure you pack up some snacks and liquids that will keep you thorough your ride. You feel really cold in the winter, but your body still needs hydration, so travel with warm or hot drinks like coffee or tea for that extra kick. Don’t forget to properly pack them in well insulated flasks to keep them nice and hot.
The winter temperatures require you to have a lower tire pressure than you would have during the warmer season. Lower your bicycle tire pressure if you plan on riding in the winter, to maintain proper traction. The tires on your bike should have a recommended PSI which the tires should be filled to normally. Take some pounds off the recommendation and fill your tires to this.
Most cyclists simply hang up their biking gear and count the days till the spring when they can head out again unto the bright and sunny bike paths. It doesn’t have to be that way; you can absolutely bike in the winter. With our tips, and if you are a hard-core cyclist at heart, nothing, not even a few snowflakes should keep you from your true love; cycling.