Cycling is great fun no matter the weather, but come winter, when it’s cold dark and rainy you need to be properly prepared to face the elements. Here is a list of tips and ideas to ensure you cycle safely.
- Cover your hands and feet!
Frozen hands and feet are the last things you need when you’re cycling, so keep them covered up properly! Overshoes keep your feet dry when they get sprayed with puddles and mud. Try to keep your footwear pretty loose; too tight shoes or too many pairs of socks and you might cut off circulation all the way to your toes. Simply wearing gloves will keep those fingers warm and working well.
- Wear Layers
You want to keep nice and warm when cycling rather than getting sweaty. Invest in good quality thermals that keep you warm and dry by soaking up moisture. Wool is probably the best choice of material; it’s durable, natural but does require special care. On top of this a well-designed jacket will be a life-saver. Make sure it keeps the wind as well as the rain off you.
Rain, snow and grit from the road could impair your vision when cycling so it’s important to keep your eyes protected. Goggles are padded and remain tight on your face so are much more effective than glasses.
Being able to be seen by others while cycling is vital, whether it be other cyclist’s pedestrians and drivers. Have lights on the front and back of your bicycle and make sure you are wearing reflective materials.
- Check Brakes
Roads will be icy and slippery so keeping your brakes in working order is of utmost importance. Avoid using your front brakes in slippery conditions as this takes away the control and traction from your front wheel and could cause an accident.
Your type of tyre depends on your route. Cycling on roads with slush is best tackled with thin tyres which cut right through it. Cycling on mountainous terrains or other off road tracks are handled best with wide, studded tyres which provide a lot more traction.
Keeping your chain clean will help you avoid damaging it in the future. Supplies are readily available at most cycling stores and you can clean it without having to remove it.
In cold weather keep your bike outside or in an unheated area in your home. This keeps from ice on your bike from melting and corroding it as well as avoiding condensation issues.
- Plan your route
Check in advance to see when roads will be gritted or ploughed and cycle after these times. Roads will be clearer and much safer. Leave extra time to arrive at destinations and remain cautious at all times.
- Lower your seat
By lowering your seat you will also lower your centre of gravity, making balancing easier. It will also make it easier to put your foot down if you happen to slide.
Amy, the author of this article, is a writer with a passion for cycling. She regularly commutes to work by bike and likes to keep this up during the winter, and wanted to share some of her best tips for doing so. She works for 50cycles.co.uk, online retailers of electric bikes.
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