First things first – don’t store away your bike at the first sign of rain, frost or even snow. Admittedly, we’d like to be riding in 20-degree heat with the warm sun shining down on our backs all year round, but unfortunately, this is England and we aren’t even guaranteed that during the summer months!
By following these do’s & don’t of winter cycling, we hope you will be well-equip and prepared enough to not only face the challenges the colder months bring but actually embrace them.
- Layering is key here. If you overdress, you’ll eventually begin to cook but underdressing can be just as detrimental. We suggest thin garments but lots of them, and a big enough rucksack to store the layers you do decide to remove. Obviously, the exception here is your extremities (head, feet and hands) ensure these are properly wrapped up as they generally get colder the longer you ride.
- Following on from our previous point, do always pack extra clothing! The British winter, although generally not extreme, can be unpredictable and you should always be prepared for a drop in temperature.
- More extreme weathers like heavy rain, sleet & snow will have a be harsher on your bike so take more care when cleaning it and we would advise washing it more often.
- As the evenings and morning darken, ensure that you invest in good quality bike lights so you can announce your presence to other cyclists, drivers and pedestrians.
- Most modern bikes are designed winter-proof to begin with so there is no need to buy a completely new bike for winter riding, just alter the one you’ve got. If we get a particularly cold and rainy winter, perhaps consider investing in new bike tyres; ones that offer more grip. If you have rim breaks, ensure you give the wheels an occasional wipe down to improve your bike’s stopping power.
- Don’t forget to invest in good quality waterproof shoes, as well as thermal socks. Cold, wet feet will definitely ruin your ride.
- Don’t be afraid to get muddy – just remember to bring a spare change of clothes, especially if you commute to work! You could always spend on a good quality mudguard to reduce how wet and mud-spattered you get.
- Look out for and avoid ice patches! If you feel you’re about to head into ice, go slowly, don’t break harshly and try not to panic.
- Don’t forget to give yourself a break, especially as riding can be more tiring in the winter. Your body will recover faster and your riding and strength improves during rest periods – not when you’re actually riding!
If you’re anything like us here at Aladdin’s Bikes, you can’t imagine not riding your bike for a week, let alone a few months so by following these do’s & don’t your winter riding should not only become more manageable but more enjoyable too.