Winter biking need not be intimidating or something to be avoided. In fact, by following a few tips, it can be incredibly enjoyable. By biking through the Winter months, you will be able to take advantage of biking areas that are less crowded. In addition, you will keep your body well-conditioned.
Follow These Winter Biking Tips and Don’t Hibernate the Season Away!
- Layers, layers, layers. Brrr… the first couple miles are frosty and frigid. Twenty miles in, though, and you might find yourself sweating. That’s why layers are essential. Start with a base layer using thermal underwear or a thin, breathable fabric. Wear your usual cold weather cycling apparel, and add a warm jacket, gloves, scarf, and even hat. You can easily take things off as you warm up.
- Keep your fingers and toes warm! Nothing is more uncomfortable than having your fingers or toes get cold and go numb. Gloves and socks are a great start, but on extra cold days, consider having a few air-activated heat packs on hand. These hand and foot warmers are thin so they won’t affect your ride, but they can pack a lot of heat and will make your ride far more comfortable. Even if you opt not to use them, keep a few in your bike pack in case you change your mind.
- Liquids are still essential. During cold-weather rides, you may not ever notice that you perspire. But sweat, you do- even in the cold. It’s essential to replenish your body with liquids during your ride. I’ve found that warm liquids are an added bonus when I go for a sip. Insulated thermos options abound, and you can bring anything from coffee or hot tea to warm cider and lemon water. Just remember that you can still get dehydrated, even in cool conditions.
- Stay bright and be seen! Daylight hours are short in Winter months. Between the earlier sunsets and often gray skies, it can be difficult to be seen. Invest in some helmet and bike lights to make yourself visible. Also, remember to wear bright colors.
- Bring along extra gear and a cell phone. The only thing worse than having a flat in the frigid cold is realizing you don’t have the supplies on hand to repair it- and you are far from home. Make sure you bring plenty of essential gear with you, especially when biking in the cold. Also, a cell phone is an absolute must.
- Clean off your bike after a ride in the cold. Winter roads are a filthy mess. Slush, road salts, sand, and other debris will coat your bike in short order. These chemicals and debris can destroy your bike. After riding in the winter, take the time to spray your bike down and wipe off any salts, road chemicals, and debris.
By following these tips, you can ride all the way into Spring! As an avid biker, I don’t let cold weather get in the way of riding, and neither should you. As always, exercise caution on the road, and if you are involved in a crash, call our team of bike crash attorneys at Kass & Moses. We’ll get you back up and riding in no time!