How To… Ride A Bike In Winter

In the thick of winter many of us will have hung up the bike until the weather improves however winter biking can be a good way to warm up and get exercise, and a bike commute can sometimes be quicker than being stuck in a long queue of traffic.
 

How To: Here are a few tips to make your winter bike ride safer and more fun:

        • Slow down on slippery roads.
        • Brake only on the rear wheel to avoid locking up on slick surfaces and be prepared to take your feet off the pedals if the bike starts to slide.

 
Be aware.

        • Cars are less aware of bikers in the winter.
        • Ride defensively.
        • Make eye contact with drivers and light your bike up with reflectors, efficient front and back lighting and fluorescent clothing.

 
Choose the right ride.

        • Winter roads are not ideal for slick road bikes and grit on icy roads can destroy suspension and gears.
        • Have a sturdy old bike designated for winter use and if necessary add fat tyres if you live in a very cold climate. Fat tyres will add grip on dirt and ‘float’ on snow rather than digging in as a thinner tyre would.

 
Wear the right gear.

        • Keep your core warm with a wicking base layer, an insulating fleece layer and a waterproof/ windproof shell.
        • Protect your head with a balaclava and don’t forget the gloves.
        • Boots or sturdy footwear are safer than bike shoes on icy days.

 
Have a back-up plan.

If possible cycle near public transport, that way if the weather does take a turn for the worse you can bail out and hop on.

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