Cycling is an activity that has multiply benefits, and on top of everything, it is very fun. You may enjoy winter cycling in the cool weather, or you may be wondering about trying cycling in winter for the first time. Regardless of which category you fall into we are certain that you will find our tips for winter cycling extremely helpful!
There are a few issues that you will face during winter cycling, and so you will have to take some precautions to tackle these challenges, and these tips are essential for you to know especially if you are a beginner cyclist.
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Preparing To Ride In Winter
If you are going on a bike ride in winter some preparation is absolutely necessary, so let’s brush over our cycling in cold weather tips. The very first thing you should do before heading out with your bike is check the weather forecast so you can prepare yourself accordingly.
Winter doesn’t leave the roads in the best condition as we all know, especially if it snows where you leave. Therefore, you want to prepare your bike by keeping it in excellent condition. It is a must to have a great set of tires that will provide enough friction for you to brake even on an icy road.
Clothing is a very important factor when it comes to the matter of winter cycling, and we have some splendid winter bike tips for it. You should dress according to the temperature of the place you are living in, and before you select your outfit please make sure to remember that the air that will blow on your face while cycling is probably going to be freezing. Hence, you want to keep yourself warm with the right type of clothing.
While biking keep an eye out for black ice and slippery surfaces which are the cause of many road accidents. Also, don’t brake your bike on ice; this introduces a high risk of your bike skidding. If you already don’t do this, wear a helmet so the cold wind doesn’t freeze your face, and neither do you get injured from any road accidents.
Tips for Winter Cycling
Below are some winter cycling tips that every rider should follow.
Dress For Success
No one likes to feel like they are freezing. Hence, you should always wear the right pieces of clothing when you take your winter cycle out.
Although you initially feel the biting cold when cycling in winter, your body actually starts to heat as you cycle for a longer time. This is why a great thing for you to do would be to wear multiple layers of thin clothing so you can take some off if you feel like you’re getting too heated up. Your puffer jacket will only make you feel sweaty most of the time if you’re biking in the winter. However, there are times when the cold is so harsh that only your puffer jacket would be able to save you.
Insulating your torso is simply not enough, you have to ensure that your feet are warm as well so that you can cycle with ease. It is best if you wear a good pair of socks along with some waterproof shoes, so your feet stay warm.
If you are winter cycling in the UK or a similar climate, this means that you will also have to face some rain often. In such cases, always try to wear your waterproof clothing so you don’t get all soaking wet.
Since we lose a lot of body heat from our heads, you should also wear a hat if you’re going to cycle through the biting cold. A cycling balaclava is also an excellent option to protect your head as well as your face from the cold. You can easily find the best winter cycling baklavas online.
Boost Your Visibility
Since in icy weather roads can get very slippery, you want to ensure that you’re visible enough to the other drivers on the road so they can see you from a distance and if needed can stop their vehicle. A great way to do that would be to wear brightly colored clothing.
Fluorescent jackets may not be very fashionable, but they certainly will boost your visibility. If you’re cycling in the dark then wear a reflective jacket or vest so other drivers can easily see you.
You should always wear a helmet when cycling, but if you want to increase your visibility then a helmet in a hi-vis color would be great, and if you add on a reflective strip, it will be even better for visibility. Wearing fluorescent shoes, socks, or gloves is a great choice since they will further boost your visibility.
Another very simple way you can increase your visibility is by using front and rear daytime running lights at all times, even when it’s daytime. This will allow any driver of an approaching vehicle to spot you instantly, and prevent any sort of accident.
Prepare Your Bike
You don’t actually need a specific winter cycle if you want to cycle comfortably. In fact, for beginners cycling, you can just use your beginners’ cycle if you follow the tips we will be giving you now.
Your tires must be in good shape if you plan to cycle in the icy cold, so when you brake your bike doesn’t skid and you don’t get injured. Make sure the tires are in decent enough condition to provide you with the strong grip that you would need on the ice.
Furthermore, clean your bike completely after your bike ride. Rinse the whole cycle so all the dirt and debris are washed away, and then use a dry towel to wipe the entire frame dry. Then you can use a lubricant like WD40 or GT85 on the moving parts so they work well, and don’t get damaged. Additionally, use bike oil for the chain and gear mechanism so your bike can run smoothly.
Know Your Route
As we have previously mentioned, check the weather forecast every time you go out to cycle with your bike so you can prepare yourself properly. In addition to that, you also want to look up the route you will be taking so you can be aware of any obstacles you might have to face.
When you are biking in the cold, do not pedal too fast, or else there is a high possibility that your feet might slip which will cause you to lose control and result in an accident. Always avoid slippery surfaces like black ice, leaves, manhole covers, and try to cycle in the center of the road where the passing cars have cleared out the ice. Also, clean your rims at regular intervals so your braking time is not very long when you are riding over snow.
Do and Don’t
Since we have already discussed most things in detail, let’s take a look at what you should, and shouldn’t do in brief.
Do: Layer Clothing
This is an absolute must because your body will start to warm up as you cycle, so you might want to take off a layer of clothing a bit later. Also, another tip is that you should feel a bit cold when you start cycling, if you feel warm from the start it means you’re wearing too heavy clothing.
Don’t: Buy A New Bike
As we have mentioned before, there is no need to buy a winter bike. Even if you’re a beginner at cycling then even your bike will also do the job if you follow all our tips.
Do: Wash Your Bike After Every Ride.
Rinsing off the dirt, and debris is very important for your bike to be able to function properly in the cold.
Don’t: Ignore your extremities
Pushing your limits isn’t something you want to do in the icy cold. Stay in control because your safety comes first.
Do: Pack Extra Gear
You never know what you might need so it’s best if you have some extra gear in case you face any issues.
Don’t: Be Afraid to Raid Your Other Sporting Equipment
If you go through your other sporting equipment you might find that you don’t need to buy a lot of stuff for cycling because they will often fit your needs just right.
Do: Insulate Your Liquids
You should always have a bottle of water or an energy drink with you so you don’t get dehydrated, but it’s important you insulate them or they might become too cold or even freeze in the cold.
Don’t: Ride without Fenders
If the climate you live in is rainy, then fenders are a must for you so you don’t splash people with mud and water as you cycle.
Do: Make Sure You’re Seen
Boost your visibility by wearing hi-vis colors, and using front and rear lights so approaching drivers can see you and avoid any accidents.
Don’t: Neglect Your Skin
You don’t want a lot of your skin exposed to the freezing cold, and you also should moisturize your skin properly so it doesn’t crack due to the cold.
What is Winter Cycling?
It is essentially cycling during the winter when you have ice, and snow on the ground.
Is it Safe To Cycle in Winter?
This entirely depends on how cold it is where you want to cycle.
How cold is too cold to ride a bike?
When the temperature falls below 0 degrees it is a bit unsafe to ride a bike.
Is Cycling in Cold Weather Bad for Your Lungs?
You won’t develop an issue in your lungs due to it, but if you already have respiratory issues then you shouldn’t bike in the cold.
Why do my Lungs Hurt when I bike in the Cold?
Cold air causes a feeling of constricting and this is called bronchospasm.
Cycling in winter can be a pleasurable experience if you follow all our tips for winter cycling, or else it could be quite challenging and risky. Hence, you should take the right preparation, and stay safe when cycling in cold weather!