Cycling in summer is easy. But with the arrival of cold winter days, many cyclists put their bikes to hibernate in the garage.
The cold shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the day outside. Of course, it requires some preparation. You will have to take some precautions with your bike to avoid accidents and gear up to be able to face the winter weather without freezing.
So if you’re thinking of cycling this winter, take a look at some things you need to consider before going outside.
1. Layer Up
Some brave cyclists believe they can ride in light clothing, thinking that the exercise will soon warm them up naturally. But choosing clothes is the most important part of cycling in winter. It’s important to have the right base layers to protect your body from low temperatures.
Use layers that feel like a second skin. They work by regulating your body temperature and maintaining the natural heat it produces during exercise. At the same time, they keep the sweat on your skin under control so you don’t feel uncomfortable, as if your clothes are wet.
Winter gloves, winter shoes, and a warm head covering are also important as your extremities are the first to feel the cold. But be careful not to overdress; otherwise, the ride will be equally difficult.
2. Stick with the Same Bike
If you think your bike isn’t in the best shape to withstand the low temperatures and the natural elements (a frozen track, for example), change it months before winter starts. Never switch to a new bike in midwinter because you should be familiar with the way your ride handles in challenging conditions.
As a rule, if your bike does well on asphalt or dirt roads you shouldn’t have any problems on ice or mud. But even if you are an experienced cyclist, ride defensively during winter. Be careful when pedaling on slippery surfaces on wet days and always check the brake system. You need to know how your bike works to be prepared to deal with it in the face of an unforeseen event.
3. Store the Bike Properly
If you leave your bike outdoors, it’s best to change the habit during winter. Rain, humidity, ice, and cold can damage the equipment. Put it inside the garage or even at home. If you live in an apartment and can’t keep your bike indoors, at least try to cover it.
Be sure to clean your bicycle after each ride. If not, ice and mud can build up and compromise your suspension, gearing, and braking systems.
4. Take Safety Precautions
Cycling in winter requires you to invest in some additional components that you usually don’t need during summer. Here’s a checklist to ensure your safety:
- Invest in specific tires for water and ice
- Check the pressure of the tires before every ride, especially on colder days
- Wear reflective, bright clothing to be more visible in the daytime—especially during the snow
- Use reflective gear, headlights, and safety lights to be more visible on shorter days and during storms or fog
- Get a sports glasses prescription to allow for enhanced visibility during extreme conditions such as snow or heavy rain
- Be wise when choosing your cycling route, avoiding hard-to-reach places.
5. Learn How to Fix a Puncture
Winter is particularly cruel with tires. In addition to the cold and humidity, muddy or ice-covered roads can hide threats such as broken glass, wood splinters, or old nails.
If fixing a puncture is already uncomfortable and laborious in the summer, imagine doing it on a frozen road or in the middle of a storm. Therefore it’s very important that you not only learn how to fix a puncture but also carry all the gear to do it as quickly as possible.
Golden tip: take an air pump with at least two spare inner tubes, making sure the equipment is up to date before leaving the house.
It’s Never Too Cold To Cycle
While it doesn’t feel as pleasant as cycling in the summer, nor does it allow you to enjoy the scenery so well, cycling in the winter has its own benefits. After all, you will stay active even on cold days, avoiding sedentarism. But you need to prepare your body for the low temperatures and adopt some simple safety practices so that your bike is in good condition to face the weather.