Ahh Winter, the days become shorter, the temperatures cooler and the streets and roads can start to ice up. But does this mean we have to completely give up our bikes? Cycling in the Winter is seen by many people as dangerous and to be avoided at all costs, but we see it differently!
By following a few simple precautions, you can actually learn to ride your bike safely in Winter, and we are going to show you just how to do that! So, if you are a keen cyclist who enjoys nothing more than the brisk wind in their face when on your bike no matter the temperature, then read on to find out how to bike in the winter.
In Winter, it is common for people to actually slow down in terms of exercise, as we tend to spend a lot more time indoors than we do throughout Summer. This, combined with all that merry Christmas food that comes along with the season, can sometimes pack on the calories.
Therefore, if you are a regular cycler, or just enjoy getting out your bike now and then, it is important to keep cycling when you can in order to keep your fitness levels in check and not give in to the seasonal laziness! The cold air can actually be good as well, and cycling has many health benefits which also help both physically and mentally.
During Winter, due to the lack of sunlight, many people suffer from a thing called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) which is known as the Winter blues. Cycling can be a great exercise to keep you feeling your merriest, and should not be given up simply because it’s Winter.
So, how do you bike in Winter? Well now we will move on to the precautions you can follow in order to bike better during those long Winter months!
Ok, so this may seem pretty common, but layering up well and appropriately is key to making the most out of your wintertime cycling as you will feel a lot colder when riding, even if you are going extremely fast. The best thing is to have a really warm base which you can add multiple layers to, and that way if it does get a bit toasty later on in the ride, you can remove one layer at a time until you feel better.
The trick is to get the layering just right, so that you actually feel cold before you ride as you will likely warm up as you ride. Start off too warm, and you will cycle yourself into a sweat and a struggle to stop and remove layers on the way.
Your hands and feet are generally the first areas to get cold, and those are the body parts which are mainly getting you around through navigating the bike and pedaling. Therefore, in order to enjoy your Winter cycle as much as possible and without freezing, you definitely need to keep them warm and insulated. This means investing in a good quality pair of Winter gloves, and not just a cheap pair from your local supermarket.
Your hands will certainly thank you later, and you will be able to ride around without any worries of your hands becoming uncomfortably cold. The same can be said for thermal socks and warm boots, as there is nothing worse that riding a bike and having cold feet.
When riding in snow and slush, this will bring a lot of dirty salt and water onto your bike’s parts and get it pretty messy. This could possibly damage it over time and therefore it is recommended to wash your bike after each ride to ensure no build up occurs. In fact, spraying some WD-40 on the frames of the bike before riding could help avoid ice and grime that tires have accumulated.
Although you might not feel warm during your Winter cycle, you are still exercising and sweating, and so this means you need to keep up with hydration. A good idea would be to brink an insulated flask of hot coffee or hot cocoa with you to keep you going. This is good to help give you a little warm energy boost throughout the journey, and help you to stay warm at the same time.
When riding in Winter, road safety can also become more of a problem. This is because the days become darker so much quicker, and if a snow storm was to start out of the blue and you’re on your bike, you never know if an accident could happen and take you off guard. In the extreme case of something happening, it is better to have a powerful bike light on your handlebars, so that you can be seen by passers by.
Another popular trick which many cyclists like to do in Wintertime is to lower their saddle. Why? In the case of roads and streets becoming icy, lowering the saddle makes the bike a lot less wobbly and easier to manage over any ice areas and gives you more balance. The lowered saddle also makes it easier to avoid any skidding, as you can quickly use your feet to keep the bike balanced again.
It is known that a tire that isn’t so pumped up will actually give a bit more grip on a slippy road surface. Therefore, you can remove a little bit of air from your tires to make them grip the road easier. You can also purchase special Winter tires which include small spikes to allow for extra grip on the surfaces.
Cycling in the Winter is not at all difficult if you learn to do it safely. We hope that after following these simple precautions that you too can enjoy some safe cycling during those nice, crisp Winter days!