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.

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!

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?