If you are going to cycle during the winter, you want to stay warm and safe and avoid any mishaps that could cause injury. Most people put their bikes away during this time, but some of the braver ones can still be seen cycling. There’s nothing wrong in cycling during the winter, but you may need to adjust your cycling style in order to stay safe. Here are some tips for cycling in the winter.
1. Stay Warm & Dry
Make sure that you wear the right clothing in order to stay warm and dry. Depending on how long you’re out on the bike and how cold it is, you had better wear proper clothing to keep you nice and warm. Also, you need to wear clothing that’s high-visibility. You want to make sure you can be seen by everyone. You may think you want cars to see you, but pedestrians may be surprised to see someone on a city bicycle, so make sure you can be seen by them as well.
2. Slow Ride, Take It Easy
Remember, icy and wet conditions will take you longer to stop, so make sure you ride appropriately. That means you have to take greater care and ride slower and make sure to look out for obstacles. When you’re pulling off, ensure you’ve caught the eye of motorists. Try not to use the front brake, in order to avoid sliding.
3. Watch For Slippery Bits
Be very careful on tram tracks, manhole covers, drain covers and even road markings as these tend to be really slippery. Don’t speed or brake suddenly on these.
4. Puddles & Leaves
Look out for puddles or things like a heap of leaves. Not only can they be slippery, but you will not have a clue as to what may be underneath them. A pile of leaves may be on a pothole or there could be other dangers like nails.
5. Hitting Ice
If you do hit ice, try to steer straight and don’t pedal! Don’t hit the brakes either. This is a tricky situation and you need to think fast in the event you’re losing control. Go for a snow bank as it is going to be a softer fall compared to hitting a car.
Don’t bother cycling in winter if you don’t have mudguards. You don’t need the spray of gunk hitting your face, neither do you need it hitting your back or backside, as it’s really cold and uncomfortable. In such conditions, rotating bike tyres can spray an unbelievable amount of water.
7. Just Be Careful
Cyclists are not the favourite people of motorists (perhaps vice versa as well?) at the best of times, let alone winter. People may be going home and may have just got into their car and the windscreens may not be quite as clear. So please be alert, be careful and arrive safely.