Cycling in the winter requires a little bit of preparation. You simply can’t go out, jump on your bike, and head out for a ride. You need to make sure you have the right gear, that your bike is prepared for the winter weather, and that you know how to ride on icy pavement. This means that you’ll probably need to go shopping. While there are a lot of different items you can purchase for cold weather cycling, there are some essentials that every biker needs to have. Here are five of these essentials.
Winter Tires: Your regular tires are not designed to grip on the snow and ice, so you’re going to want to purchase a set of winter tires. These tires have studs all along them that provide traction on surfaces that are slick or covered in snow. These snow tiresare also usually a bit wider than your regular tires, too, which also help provide more of a grip.
You want to make sure these tires are also very durable. They are usually harder than summer tires, and if you squeeze on them, you’ll find that they’re not as malleable either. This means they will not wear down as quickly. This also makes the tires more resistant to being punctured. That’s important because the melting snow and rain can wash debris onto the road. It can be very hard to see some of this debris, but if you ride over it, it can stick into your tire and eventually cause it to go flat.
Cold Weather Clothing: Before riding in incredibly cold temperatures, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got the right cold weather clothing. This includes the right jacket, pants, hat, helmet, gloves, and shoes. If you aren’t property attired, you’re going to get very cold very quickly.
You want to look for clothing that is lightweight, isn’t very cumbersome, and is insulated. Ski gear is often perfect for cyclists because it generally ticks all three of these boxes. You can also wear some of your usual cycling gear underneath it. Your cycling shorts are designed to provide comfort while biking, but they’re not going to keep you warm. Pair them with insulated pants so you’re warm and comfortable.
For your hands, you’re going to want to find insulated snow gloves that will keep your fingers warm while also letting you keep a good grip on your bike. Again, look for insulated gloves that aren’t very bulky. Mittens are okay, but they are often not as warm as gloves are.
The extremities such as your fingers, toes, and the top of your head are going to be affected by the cold first. You’ll want a good cap or beanie from the POC AVIP collection to wear under your helmet. While helmets do provide safety, few of them are very warm. In fact, the ventilation in some helmets is actually designed to allow air to flow around your head to keep you cool. This is definitely not what you want in the winter.
The Right Glasses: While glasses are important any time of the year to help you avoid the glare of the sun, they are especially important in the winter. This is because the sun reflects off the snow, making it incredibly bright and dazzling. Without a good pair of cycling glasses, you can easily become blinded by the white landscape. There are some glasses made especially for winter sports that are designed to cut down on the glare and reflections of the sun off the snow.
Safety Gear: Of course, while finding gear that keeps you warm is important, you can’t forget your safety gear. In fact, it’s even more essential that you have a durable bike helmet during the winter because hitting a sheet of ice can hurt more than simply hitting the road. You’re also more likely to have an accident when riding on ice because it’s so slippery. That’s why you want to take it slow when you first start riding. Test the pavement and your bike’s traction often to make certain you can turn and stop safely.
Lights: While there are plenty more tips for safe cycling for winters, the final tip for this list is to make certain that you have a light on the front and the back of your bike. Few people are expecting bikers to be out during the winter, and they may be watching for them. Many drivers are also much more focused on the road and keeping their car from sliding than on what’s around them.
Another reason to always have a light on your bike is that the days are shorter during the winter. You’re more likely to be riding in low-light or dark conditions that you would during the summer, so you’ll want to make certain you can be seen.
By Lisa Brooke
Lisa Brooke is a sports person and wants to explore each and every hidden hamlet in the world. She is an alumni of the University of London and has done her graduation in English literature. Her hobbies include indulging outdoor activities, participating in boot camps and creative writing.