Can You Ride a Bike in the Snow? Tips for Safe Cycling in Winter!
Winter isn’t a reason to give up your bike. This is well illustrated by the experience of the Scandinavian countries, where, despite the harsh conditions, bicycling in winter is common. Indeed, there is nothing to be afraid of, although it may seem quite the opposite. To tame the snow element, it isn’t at all necessary to purchase a fat bike or invest in a serious technical upgrade of your bike. The main thing is to know some winter bike riding hacks, which we will tell you about in this article.
Is Cycling Safe in the Winter?
Many people cannot even imagine how to bike in the winter, because it is cold, uncomfortable, unsafe and dozens of other factors. But in reality, this is completely not the case if you carefully prepare for such trips.
The main thing is to make sure the weather is calm during your next biking in the snow. Otherwise, you can get caught in a snowstorm, and eventually get sick, as well as discourage the desire to ride a bike in the cold season altogether. Many people simply may not understand what to wear biking in winter, dressing too warmly, which then can be very disturbing, and the body would be too hot. So if you’re ready for some important punk hits, you already know what the answer would be to riding a bike in the snow.
Winter Biking Tips
Now let’s get to the fun part. Here are the most important tips for all cyclists heading for a ride in winter:
Change Summer Tires
Preparing your bike for winter always starts with tires. This is obvious because without the right seasonal tires there would be no effective grip and the bike itself would lose up to 60% in handling. Ideally, it is better to get special tires for the off-season. They are made of materials with improved grip, don’t freeze at low temperatures, are resistant to road reagents, and have a well-thought-out tread pattern, which is responsible for good handling on snowy or icy roads.
Ride in Low Gears
Try to skate less in high gears during the winter. When pedaling with force, you would slip frequently, which increases the risk of accidents. In addition, high gears increase the load on the mechanical components of the bicycle, in particular, bearings wear out faster, in which the grease thickens in the cold.
Fit Suitable Wings
No matter how good or bad you feel about bicycle fenders, in winter it is a must. Otherwise, a mud mixture of snow, dust, and deicing agents would hit you in the face and strain your back. There would be little pleasure from such riding. The fenders must be installed with a sufficiently large mud gap ー snow shouldn’t be clogged between the fender and the tire, thus making it difficult for the wheel to spin. It is best to choose tall fenders like on mountain bikes.
Take Care of Your Transmission
The main enemy of the bicycle in winter is the anti-icing agents that are sprinkled on the roads. They pose serious problems especially for the transmission components, which are already subject to increased wear in the cold season. Lubricate the chain and sprockets after every 3-4 drives. For these purposes, it is better to use special winter compounds that don’t lose their properties in the cold, repel water and protect the metal from the aggressive influence of reagents.
Monitor the Condition of the Frame
Other metal components of the bike, in particular, the frame are vulnerable to the effects of winter factors. To a greater extent, aluminum models are adapted to winter skiing. Frosts insignificantly affect the change in their mechanical properties ー welded seams and other vulnerable components withstand impacts without consequences, aren’t subject to cold brittleness, and are resistant to the aggressive effects of reagents.
Observe the Three-Layer Equipment Principle
The comfort of winter skiing more than half depends on the right clothes, which would be comfortable, which would effectively keep warm and wick away moisture. Despite the availability of a wide variety of winter equipment options, the cycling industry offers in abundance, the basic principle of effective equipment remains unchanged ー this is the so-called three-layer scheme. In this form, you won’t need to worry about how to stay warm cycling in winter at all. Such equipment consists of a thermal jacket, a fleece jacket, and a membrane jacket.
Of course, besides dressing for winter bike riding, you need to have the appropriate accessories. These should include gloves, a hat, a buff that would cover your face from cold gusts of wind, glasses, socks. It is important that your limbs and exposed areas of your body don’t freeze, even if your torso is kept warm. It is impossible to select a separate area that needs to be protected most of all because each part of the body is responsible for some of your movements. Accordingly, they must all be in working order.
Consider Purchasing a Winter Helmet
A bicycle helmet is a basic element of protection, and for obvious reasons in winter, its importance increases significantly. It is naive to think that a thick hat would fully fulfill its functions. In matters of protection, a helmet is an indispensable piece of equipment, besides, it is much more comfortable in it, since the head is better protected from the piercing cold wind.
Consume Liquids Despite the Cold
A common mistake of most cyclists who actively ride in winter is a violation of the drinking regime. This is wrong because regardless of the temperature, the athlete’s body still needs to replenish fluid. Of course, it’s better to refuse ice-cold water from a flask; instead, set aside space in your backpack for a thermos with hot tea.
On long winter trips, instead of ordinary water or tea, it is more effective to drink isotonic drinks ー sports drinks that restore the body after intense exertion.
Now you know that you can bike in the winter, and you can also do it safely and as comfortably as possible.
We recommend that you take into account as many factors as possible so that none of the possible problems could spoil the experience of such an incredible ride. We also recommend that you show our winter cycling guide to your friends who also enjoy cycling. Surely they would like your idea, and you can ride together.
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