Of all the seasons of the year, the winter season seems to be the most Herculean. It is the coldest time of the year and occurs towards the end of the year. Even though it has its many significance, it is dreaded by many for so many reasons: The cold, usually most intense around November and January, the storms that could keep many locked in their houses for days without a supply of power, and many more.
The Winter season for Bikers and their bikes is a time to hibernate, waiting for spring to ride again due to the many hazards the winter season brings. The snow is beautiful but tougher to ride in. Even the best riders would attest that riding in Winter requires extra effort, skill, and preparation. It means layers of clothing, attention to detail, and extra care.
However, winter riding would give you some warmth in the cold. Bike riding in the snow is fun and could be added to your list of things to do as the festive season approaches.
Are there any Benefits of Winter Riding? Certainly:
It is easier and cost-effective to ride in Winter on a bike than in a Car; With the increase in fuel and had prices, you save more biking.
You would build Endurance capacity and strength.
Cycling outdoor in fresh air improves your mental health; Exercising releases antidepressants in the brain, reducing mood disorders that could arise from the isolation, and less light and movement Winter can cause.
In a bid to help you maximize the winter season to its fullest as a rider rather than wait for age-long for spring or expose yourself to unnecessary danger, we have curated some tips to help you ride safely in the snow. Find them below:
- Ride a Familiar Bike
- Slowly and steady
- Check Tires
- Dress up for Comfort and warmth
- Keep Clean and Cover Bike
Slow and Steady
Gradually ease into riding in the cold by adopting a slow and steady approach. Rather than ride all the way, take a walk halfway. You can commute by train and bus also. This should give you time to acclimate yourself and your body system to the weather change. It would also give you ample time to map out a riding strategy. Alternating your riding days could prove helpful, taking breaks when necessary.
Your Confidence and enthusiasm would increase significantly, and adaptability provides you with the necessary exposure to side in Winter.
Dress up for Comfort and Warmth
Your clothing can make the distinction in your ride. It would either make you comfortable or the ride intolerable. The appropriate way to dress in this season, unlike summer, is to wear layers of clothing as your shield from the cold.
Your hands and feet would receive the brunch of the cold; first, quality winter-proof gloves and overshoes will keep your extremities warm.
Keep grit out of your eyes by wearing tinted googles.
For recognition, reflective clothing would make you easy to spot by motorists and other riders, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.
Despite the layers of clothing, you must not be warm when you step outside to ride. It would be best if you remained a bit cold. If you aren't cold at first, you are overdressed.
Prepare for unforeseen situations like tire change, and it's like by packing extra gloves, socks in a ziplock bag.
If anything is taken into cognizance, the switch from light to dark in the winter season is swift. You must set measures that would enable you to see others and be seen by them. Of course, this means more lights.
The benefit of adequate lighting is that it would reduce accidents.
You should invest in the weatherproof headlight, tail, and safety light.
Ride a Familiar Bike
Yours or a familiar commuter bike is what you should ride as it would help you transition quickly and safely. The winter season is not time to test run a new cycle or go mountain climbing. The more recent the bike, the higher the risk that could occur.
There is also no need to change your bike for a winter-specific bike. An upgrade in accessories would be just fine.
GEARS AND ACCESSORIES
In the case of a gear upgrade, the lights, tires, fenders should be significant considerations.
In the cold, batteries drain faster. So if you would be riding your electric bike longer than usual or after dark which occurs more quickly than expected in Winter, have your batteries fully charged before setting out and have a spare handy as a supplement.
You should also store the Batteries in warm temperatures because colder climes drain battery power faster than usual.
To maintain the batteries:
- Don't overcharge them.
- Note that batteries not used over a long period could discharge.
- Ensure that you charge batteries before use.
Attaching fenders to your electric bike's wheel would keep muck and grime off your bile and yourself.
Bikes have light enhancements to help riders commute on the dark or sight trails far from light sources like road lights.
In recent times, advancement in technology has improved bike lights, thereby making them smaller and brighter.LED lights are most effective and durable for bikes.
Asides from the light that initially comes with your bike, you could have additional light sources on the front, by the side, and at the rear of your bike.
The Front Beams
should be attached to the handlebars and the front side of your helmet. It would help you see the road ahead clearly and help you avoid bumps, ice, and bucks.
Lights on the rear would keep you because of pedestrians and motorists coming behind you.
Additional should connect the lights to backpacks, the rear rack of the bike, or the back of your helmet.
Spiked tires are great riding buddies; they give you a firm grip on the road and prevent slips. They are, however expensive, a worthy long-term investment. For highly icy conditions, get spiked tires, and it'll just be you and the snowplow out on the streets.
Fat bikes: are the most suitable for Winter commuting and trail riding. With vast tire clearance, they function like mountain bikes with snowshoes and are Built for 4 to 5-inch tires and 100mm+ rims, and fat tire bikes are designed for snowy, icy, or muddy climates. The tire size amplifies traction and permits you to ride at an external tire pressure. Like mountain bikes, they have hydraulic disc brakes, front suspension, and XC geometry.
to gain control of the bike as you ride. Simply lowering your center of gravity is likely to make your bike far less wobbly, a small change that can make it far easier to manage icy patches. A lower saddle also makes it easier to manage any risk of skidding, says Luten, because you can use your feet to keep your bike balanced. If your feet can sit flat on the ground, you'll be far more stable and less likely to slip.
Ride Safely and Carefully
When riding in Winter, paramount on your mind should be your safety as the roads and trails could become unpredictable. Snow falls would make roads difficult to navigate and cover up bumps, ice, and bucks. Therefore, speed limits must be in check all the time.
A thorough wash of your bike after riding is equally essential whether it is Winter or not. Bikes must be washed by the rider or taken to a car wash at least twice every month.
A thorough cleaning would protect your bike frame from corrosion which dirt and grime could cause if care is not taken. Remember that your bike frame is the most expensive part of your bike.
Getting mudguards would serve as preventive care for your bike's wheel and pants as you ride.
It would help if you keep your bike in top condition at all times, of course, but in Winter, more attention must be paid to the bicycle, especially the moving parts, such as your chain, gears, cables, hubs, and bottom bracket.
Know that cleaner bikes last longer and ride better. To clean your bike, you need not worry about getting to the store; the items you need are your everyday household items and are sitting comfortably on your kitchen top or pantry.
What you Need:
Clean rags from your old shirts, brushes, buckets, square heads for the wheels, dish soap, and water.
When You Should Ride in Winter
- It would help if you only rode when it is sure that you are mentally stable and healthy enough. When this is in check, your ability to overcome any challenge you might encounter as you ride is guaranteed. Mental stability plays a huge role in the actualization of any task biking inclusive.
- Certify the roads are safe and accessible for riding. Storm outbreaks are a common feature of Winter, most especially at night.
- When you are confident that your bike is in excellent and working condition, functioning at optimum level. Deal no assumptions. You don't want road emergencies
Riding in Winter would be fun but never should it be put above Comfort and safety. Ensure to take all precautions and adopt a riding strategy suitable for you if you are riding this winter season.