Winter Cycling

Snow covered bicycleWho doesn’t love riding a bicycle? It’s good way to exercise and it’s great for the environment. Riding a bike instead of driving everywhere can end up saving you money on gas, and can be just as quick as driving a car depending on traffic and parking. Maybe most importantly, bicycles are tons of fun. That is, unless you’re riding a bicycle in the winter.

Winter cycling brings a whole slew of challenges that you don’t have to worry about in the warmer months. Black ice patches and slush puddles are just the beginning. Even the most mild winter day can be torture on a bike. Cold wind cuts through every layer of clothing and renders your hands useless, clumsy, and frozen. But riding a bicycle in the cold doesn’t have to be miserable. Here are some tips for winter cycling.

  • You want to wear clothing that is warm and breathable, but shy away from clothes that are thick and heavy. Bulky jackets and pants might keep you warm, but they can cause you to sweat or make it hard to move. Softshell jackets and pants offer the perfect combination of warmth, breathability, and weather resistance. Pack a hardshell jacket in case there is snow, sleet, or rain in the forecast.
  • Like with any other cold weather outdoor activity, you need to have a warm base layer. A base layer add lots of warmth without bulk.
  • Wind is usually the most brutal part of biking in the winter. You might be comfortable standing still on your bike, but once you get moving, the wind creeps through every possible opening and chills you to the bone. Windproof jackets hats and gloves are absolutely necessary to make winter cycling enjoyable.
  • Wear eye protection. Cold winter air can dry out your eyes in a heartbeat. Make sure you have some type of covering for your eyes like glasses, sunglasses, or goggles.
  • Proper cleaning and maintenance is always important for your bicycle, but it’s even more important in the winter. Road salt and grime get kicked up into the gear hub and chain of your bicycle. Don’t take your fancy and expensive bicycle out in the snow. Single speed bikes are low to no maintenance and relatively inexpensive.
  • Studded tires are great for ice, but we don’t really get enough snow in Fayetteville for most people to justify spending the money on a set of studs. Just make sure that your tires have good heavy tread. If you’ve ever tried to bike on ice with slick road bike tires, you know that you’re better off walking.

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