Cycling is a year-round activity. You can ride your bike during any season and any weather conditions, in the city or in the countryside. While in the warm and dry times of the year you jump on the bike and go wherever you want “just like that”, during winter it is good to consider a few things in order to enjoy your ride. We have been advised by our friends from PULSE Cycles about some of the most important practices you may adopt while cycling in the cold.
Keep yourself warm and dry. Protecting your body during winter is essential to provide you with a nice cycling experience and here are some recommendations to do so:
- Wear gloves to protect your hands
- Put on a hat or warm technical fabric underneath your helmet.
- Protect your feet from the cold with a good pair of socks. Using shoe covers is probably the best solution to stay both warm and dry.
- Don’t forget your neck – a buff or scarf is a must for the windy winter days.
- Your eyes will need protection too. From cycling caps to ski goggles, anything is acceptable as long as you are able to see where you are going.
Whatever clothing you decide to wear, do not overdress as while riding you will definitely warm up! If you go for a ride in the mountain we suggest you to wear multiple layers of clothes. This way you can remove one layer when you have a long climb and put it back on when you start the descend.
Your bike will also need a few adjustments in order to be more suitable for the cold and snow.
- Many bike specialists recommend that you lower your tire pressure in order the bike to have bigger area of contact with the road and be more stable.
- Lowering your seat will add up to the stability as well when there is snow on the road or on the trail.
- Your brakes need to be sharp and tight to function properly in the unpleasant weather conditions.
- Your brake pads are wearing out faster in wet conditions, so keep an eye on them too.
- If you prefer you may consider installing mudguard on your bicycle to keep yourself clean and dry.
- The overall care for your bike is important, so after each ride in the snowy or wintery conditions in the city, where water and chemicals from the roads may stick on you bicycle:
- Wash it and/or wipe its cables, chain, rims. The PULSE Cycles’s team advises to do that after each ride. It is important, because the salt from the streets may damage your bike.
- Keep the chain clean and well lubricated.
And after having yourself and your ride prepared for the winter conditions, go out and revise your cycling style and skills.
Try to be seen by other participants in the city traffic by wearing reflective signs and clothing, as well as the compulsory lighting of the bike.
Slow down especially before junctions and intersections. Pro riders advise to break twice by quickly squeezing and releasing you breaks, as in this way you are clearing the water off the rims and gain better stopping power and control. Using the rear break also makes your stopping better and more controlled while you can “feel” how slippery the road is.
A good advice is to avoid puddles as you do not really know how deep it can be or what is in it.
Taking care of your bike and body equipment, plus taking into consideration the terrain conditions and your cycling skills will make your paddling in the winter much more pleasant and safe. So…, enjoy your ride!