Pedal away the cold with winter biking fun and safety tips
The cold is hitting our streets, and we are getting comfy indoors with our socks on, and our bikes prepare to get ignored for months. Whoever said you can’t cycle in winter hasn't seen the crisp vistas or the empty trails that make you wish you took your bike out for a spin. We admit it’s hard to beat the light-hearted joy of summer cruising, but winter is not as bad as it’s made to look. All you need is winter biking fun and safety tips to not be defeated by the season.
Layer up! Keeping warm is the key to bracing for the chill. Although you might not want to wrap up too much because cycling increases body temperature, making you sweat. You need to find the right balance between outside air temperature and body heat. Several thin layers are better than one hefty set of clothing, as you can take a layer off if you start to sweat too much. Moisture produced by sweat, if not evaporated, can make you cold, wet, and clammy in the chilly breeze. A lightweight & close base layer, wool and fleece, and waterproof windbreaker can keep you snug and warm. Make sure there’s breathability and wicking property in the clothes. Try to cover all exposed skin.
Riding in cold weather on snow, ice, and wet trails is harsh on the bike. Your bike gathers grit, salt, and dirt quickly, gunking up gears and moving parts. Clean your bike after every ride, paying special attention to the chain, brakes, gears, and wheels. Dry it off with a towel. Winter months get dark very soon, and wide viewing angle bike lights will enhance visibility. Consider both front and rear lights. Get fenders to keep the slush away. Use a wet lube designed for wet weather.
E-bike batteries have a diminishing battery range in cold temperatures. To maximise battery life, minimise using turbo mode. Remove the battery every night before a long ride, and store it in a warm place. You can buy a cover for some batteries to keep them warm during a winter ride.
Suitable winter gear
A scarf, balaclava, winter cycling gloves, thermal tights, GORE-TEX shoe covers, waterproof boots, and ski goggles will keep you warm and toasty. Protect your eyes from icy wind and glare with ski goggles. Wear a skull cap underneath your helmet. Winter has very little daylight, and reflective clothing helps other road users see you more clearly.
Check bike prior to riding
Your tyres can lose pressure faster in cold temperatures. Always check tyre pressure before riding. Inflate tyres to the low end of the recommended range.
Consider upgrading tyres
Studded tyres offer a better grip on icy surfaces. Deeper, knobbier tread grip tyres, too, prevent skidding. Wider tyres help you gain more traction by putting more surface area on the road, unlike skinnier road bike tyres. If you own a mountain bike, this is the season to favour it over the road bike as they are made for rough and slippery surfaces.
Eat and hydrate in proper intervals
The cold, dry weather in winter can dehydrate you fast. Staying hydrated is very important. You might want both hot and cold drinks to stave off thirst and to warm up. Make sure to start riding after a meal or snack to maintain body heat. Use thermos and insulated bottles to keep drinks in.
You can continue commuting by bike even in winter when you know how to prepare for the cold and bike safely. There’s a chance you might even enjoy it more due to less busy roads and the change in scenery. Clock faster speeds and travel longer distances with a reliable e-bike from Mini Bikes Off Road.