Now we are all aware of huge benefits that commuting to work by bike has on our health, both mental and physical, our pocket and of course, the environment around us.
Whilst this decision may seem idyllic during the summer months, commuting by bike during the winter can sometimes prove challenging and at times, downright disheartening.
Aladdin’s Bikes has devised a comprehensive guide to commuting during the colder, rainier months, which will improve your daily rides in an instant.
- Keep a change of clothes and toiletries at work
Sitting at your desk, soaked through by the 20-minute downpour you’ve just endured and smelling “musky” (to put it nicely) probably isn’t the best way to greet potential clients.
Ladies – if you wear makeup, we suggest waiting until AFTER your commute to apply it. If not, not only will it clog your pores, you can almost guarantee to enter the office looking like a soggy panda!
- Wear suitable clothing
Now this may seem like an obvious point but you’d be surprised at how many commuters we see on their bike, suited and booted, with just the addition of a measly waterproof jacket. Come on now guys – even if you’re iPhone tells you there’s 0% chance of rain, we live in Britain and we are in November, meaning there’s always a 80% chance it could rain!
Some crucial pieces of kit we’d advise to at least have in your rucksack during the winter are:
- Head – for under your helmet we suggest a fleeced hat, with optional ear-flaps or the addition of a woolly headband if the temperature really starts to drop
- Neck – a tube-style scarf, which if the cold feels particularly bitter one November morning can be worn similarly to a balaclava to protect your nose from freezing off and your lips becoming dry and chapped
- Upper body – layering is key! You should always start with a wicking base layer, followed by an insulating mid-layer such as a jersey. Ensure both are long enough to cover your lower back, keeping out the chill when you’re leaning forwards during a ride. The final layer is your wind and waterproof jacket, sealing in all the warmth
- Hands – they need to be wind & waterproof but not too bulky as they could affect your range of motion
- Lower body – two words: bib tights. They are a must – a God send even! Make sure they are as snug as can be, especially around your waist and ankles to keep out chills
- Feet – highly insulating, long socks, with the additional of heavy duty and waterproof overshoes are your feet’s best friend during the winter and should help prevent ice block feet
- Dealing with punctures & obtaining suitable tyres
It’s a sad fact that the worse the weather becomes, the more likely us riders are to experience the worst, most inconvenient fate of all – a puncture!
Always carry at least two tubes and a working pump with you on all winter rides to prevent a disastrous commute.
Changing your tyres for the season is a must! We suggest finding some that offer at least a small amount of puncture protection. Although no tyre is puncture-proof, every little helps. Solid or tubeless tyres are another good option, providing better grip on more challenging road conditions.
We are now witnessing some riders using lights all year round, even during daylight hours, as a means of notifying drivers of their road presence. However, the winter months are without a doubt the most imperative time to make a point of checking your lights before each and every ride.
We suggest carrying a spare pair with you at all times as well to ensure you never get caught out at a time that can be extremely dangerous for riders, such as those foggy, pitch-black commutes.
Maintenance is arguably the most important factor to consider if you are a winter commuter, paying particular attention to your bike’s chain, gears and cables.
Check your bike over, as you would do throughout the rest of the year, such as cleaning off grime and keeping your chain oiled. Wet weather can be exceptionally hard on your rims and break blocks so be cautious of this too.
Little and often prevents having huge mishaps, which can be extremely inconvenient and expensive.
We hope our guide to winter commuting makes those dark, bitter mornings a little easier & will increase the adrenaline, positivity and satisfaction you normally feel after each and every ride!