Published on March 1st, 2018 | by Start Cycles0
Six Winter Cycling Tips
The early stages of winter 2018/19 are coming in fast. Meaning shorter days, colder mornings/evenings and trickier conditions on the roads as well as on the paths.
Cycling in the winter has its pros and cons, no matter how experienced you are. For those who are just entering their first winter of commuting to work or getting in that morning ride or the few who are looking for inspiration, we have come up with SIX tips to make sure that you stay safe on two wheels!
1. Service the bike
If you haven’t done so already, get your bike serviced. Now is the perfect time to get any creases ironed out and a professional pair of eyes to repair or upgrade parts on your bike.
If you’re based in the north east region of England, simply book your bike in for a service with us, Start Fitness. Depending on what kind of service is within your budget, try to get the top end or closest to, as this will make you feel assured that your bike will see out the year.
It can be a hit on the financial plan but, overall, you’re guaranteeing your bike is in good shape and prepared for the cold/wet climates.
After the bike service, keep on top of the maintenance, checking the brakes, the chain, lights and tyres every week, ideally over the weekend, where there is better, natural light.
2. Tyre-d of waiting
As mentioned in the post above, making sure that you check your tyres before your commute or at least every week, means you know the condition of them, you wouldn’t leave the house with flat ones now, wouldn’t you?
On top of this, making sure that the correct type of tyre has been installed on your bike, no matter which type you own, it’s a key aspect for winter. Punctures are more likely to happen the moment it gets darker in which you’re less likely to see hazardous items such as glass, stones and sometimes pins. Head to your local bike shop and get a set of anti-puncture tyres and stock up on spare tubes also!
3. The ice breaker
We’re not quite into that stage of the winter, however, it won’t be long before the frost arrives.
Cars, pedestrians and cyclists loathe this weather, let’s be honest, we’ve all had our fair share of near misses when wintertime rolls around catching black ice at a bad angle, having a wobble or, actually come off the bike.
It should be mentioned it’s not just icy conditions that cause an issue, right now detached leaves from trees are bound to make their way on to your route and provide that wonderful sap/greasy residue from it, just be wary and take your time going over them, especially in damper weather.
4. Dress for the weather
The fresh mornings and evenings mean that the bib tights and cycling jerseys will have to be put away for another year and replaced with the long tights and jackets.
Depending on how far you commute, you’re bound to build up heat and get a sweat on, so dousing yourself in copious amounts of layers is not something we would advise, unless it’s under 2 degrees, of course!
Scanning the weather the night before or quickly on the day, before you leave, will leave you in a better position to pick out suitable kit.
5. Helmet o’clock
This is easily the most important piece of kit you will own. To put it bluntly, it’s a life saver and you need to have one, regardless of the distance you travel.
There have been so many sightings across the country and world, of cyclists commuting while using busy roads/crossings, especially during rush hour traffic, without wearing one.
If you do a quick search online, regarding incidents with cyclists and them not wearing headgear, you’ll see a high percentage of serious to fatal collisions, a statistic that looks to be on the rise.
Probably the main reason why some choose not to wear one is, how you look. Let’s be honest, safety should prioritise how you look, especially with the dark conditions drawing in, with some leaving the house when it’s pitch black and returning within the same conditions.
Our advice would be to get sized up for a helmet, it’s very simple to do and can be done at your local cycle store, seek guidance on different models, structures then purchase. The costings vary, depending on what brand you go for. Whatever the price is, it’s definitely a worthy investment, you’re saving your own bacon in doing so.
You can find our range of helmets on our website here
6. Be safe, be seen
As well as wearing a helmet, making sure that you are seen on the roads is highly advised.
At this time of year, lights, high visibility and reflective gear should be at the top of the kit list when going out during the mornings and evenings. Front and rear lights MUST be attached to your bike, and even additional lights are a bonus! These simply make pedestrians and vehicles aware that you’re on the roads and can see where you are in terms of positioning i.e. left on the roads or preparing to indicate for turning.
For hi-vis equipment, the possibilities are almost endless. Nowadays, almost all fabrics contain some sort of bright colouring or reflective panelling, some more than others. Do your research, look at long tights or jerseys that possibly offer good visual coverage. Some may be pricier than others but as mentioned in the above point, it’s definitely a worthy investment, especially to keep yourself covered too in harsher conditions – you also have the option, if you take a rucksack into work, to purchase a cover for the bag that is HIGHLY reflective, easily the best thing to have to be seen by motorists, if you’re unsure, check the link here.
Using reflective bands work fantastically if you want to avoid catching pants within the chain or to wrap around your wrists to act as indicators when turning.
So there you have it, our tips to stay safe and warm over the winter season. Do you think we’ve missed anything or have tips of your own to share? Let us know!