The Georgia Bikes Blog

Be Savvy During Your Winter Rides!

  

Winter finally hit Georgia with sub-freezing temperatures and a wintery mix of rain!  This change in weather does not mean one must give up bicycling, however, it does mean casual summer rides are over. There are many lists of “to-do” and gear suggestions, here is a list of “to-do” and a few sites to follow up for more information.

 

  1.  Basic layering skills with the idea to maintain core body heat is a must as well as finding gloves and shoes that will both insulate and keep the extremities dry!   
  2. Staying hydrated is always a must even when the sun lies lower on the horizon.  Insulate beverages to maintain heat and retard being frozen.
  3. Light your bike up!  With longer nights and more inclement weather, lights keep one visible.  Ride bright and with joy!
  4. Carry extra gear, including clothing socks and gloves, tube and patches, lights and heat packs, for yourself or a friend.
  5.  

Find winter clothing suggestions are bountiful!  There is a hack for every price point.  Here are some key suggestions for any wallet.

  1. Wool is your friend. Cotton is not.  Keep a base layer closest to your body that wicks away moisture.  Add various layers of thickness both on top and bottom.  And an outer shell that is water resistant. 
  2. Gloves can also be layered and non-sport specific.  In other words, find a pair of wool gloves and layer under a more water-resistant glove.
  3. Keep your head covered, 40-45% of body heat escapes through our heads! 
  4.  

Bike riding position and bike maintenance will keep your riding throughout the year.  Winter bicycling conditions are different than in warmer and dryer weather.  With the addition of water, snow and accumulated slush, taking the lane and not riding near the curb will keep you up-right and riding more predictably.  Bicycle maintenance in winter means after every ride, clean the drive train (i.e. chain rings, cassette, chain) and free it of moisture, dirt, and debris.  After cleaning, grease the chain with lube.  And finally wipe off your brakes, brake pads and tire rim.

 

Winter riding can be fun!  Finding out what works for you and your bike is the start to enjoying bicycling throughout the year.  Here are a few sites for more information and suggestions.  What are your winter biking tips for either the commuter or recreational rider?

https://www.bicycling.com/training/tips/9-dos-and-donts-of-winter-cycling/slide/10

https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/winter-bicycling.html

https://www.sheldonbrown.com/winter.html

Recent Inquiries on Bicycle Safety

The choice to ride a bicycle is being made by more and more people across the state of Georgia. People are riding for a multitude of reasons: daily commuting and transportation, health and wellness, recreation and tourism, as well as to be social with their friend, neighbors, and community. Many of these riders are coming back after a long time off a bicycle and others are first-timers.

With these parameters, the need for bicycle education is important for both those on bicycles and those driving. Roadway safety is an evergreen topic! A few commonly unknown or misunderstood laws are described below.

On way to center bicycling is to recognize that “Bicycles are vehicles and have the same rights and responsibilities on public roads as motor vehicles” [40-1-1(15, 75)].

This changed since many of us were children on bicycles. “Bicycles must travel in the same direction as motor vehicle traffic, even when in a designated bike lane” [40-6-294(f)].

As things go, cycling is social, “Bicyclists may lawfully ride two-abreast” [40-6-294].

When it comes to use of bike lanes, “Bicycle lanes are set aside for preferential use by bicyclists. Bicyclists are not required to ride in a bike lane just because it exists. In general, use a bike lane when it is safe and convenient to do so based on your destination.”

 For motorized vehicles drivers (cars, trucks, transport trucks, etc.) there are several that maybe unfamiliar to you as they address how to drive with a bicycle present on the road. “Obstructing a bike lane or multi-use path is a misdemeanor [16-11-43]. Working in conjunction, “aggressive driving is considered a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature in Georgia.” When passing a person on a bicycle, there is a right and wrong way to pass. “The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle that is proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between such vehicle and the bicycle and shall maintain such clearance until safely passed the overtaken bicycle. The term ‘safe distance; means not less than three feet” [40-6-56]. To achieve distance of three feet, “cars may cross a solid yellow centerline to pass a cyclist if the oncoming lane is clear and it is safe to pass” [40-6-46(c)].

And finally, cyclists who violate traffic laws will be subject to the same penalties as drivers of motor vehicles, except that no penalty shall be assessed against a cyclist’s motor vehicle driver’s license.

Keep these in mind as they address most situations, however, there are more laws and standards of bicycling that any rider will be held accountable of. To find out more about laws, expectations and safe bicycling practices, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy of our Bicyclist Pocket Guide. We will ship the amount of copies requested. Be smart and have fun!

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