Some Helpful Winter Biking Tips

FEBRUARY 4, 2013

Source: BostonBikes

379238_321292234615213_1025792625_nCourtesy of our friends over at Commonwheels Bicycle Co-Op

  1. Be aware of your long coat hanging low and covering your rear light — if it’s blocked, maybe change where your light sits on your bike.
  2. If you’re ever riding on black ice or frozen cold metal grates, just keep the handle bars straight, don’t turn, and don’t brake! That’ll help you from slipping.
  3. Always have gloves – they will keep you a lot happier. Outer thicker/cycling gloves, inner glove liners, and hand warmers are great on really cold days. Also, surgical plastic gloves work well as a cheap first layer to keep hands dry during wet ride.
  4. Is it getting pretty wet out? You can use plastic bags (free from CVS) and wrap your shoes or put it over your socks in your shoes to keep your feet dry. Cheap and classy!
  5. Decrease your tire pressure when riding on snow, maybe by 10–15 PSI; you’ll go slower but get more traction and have an easier time riding over the chunky rock-salts.
  6. Plan your attire for “10 minutes into your ride.” Layer up (non-cotton clothes; base, middle, insulation, waterproof) keeping in mind you’re burning calories; start colder and warm up into your clothes. Riding overheated is an uncomfortable way to roll. But, if your ride is less than 10 minutes, start warm and stay warm!
  7. Lube Your Chain! Even if there’s no snow, you’re still riding in salt and sand. Do it every other week at the minimum, with the real stuff (not WD-40!).
  8. Lowering your seat just a bit may help keep balance, especially if you need to catch yourself slipping on a turn or on ice.
  9. Is your head cold under that helmet? Get a thin cap, or a bandana, or even tape up the holes to keep that warmth in!
  10. Fenders are great at keeping that melting slush from splashing your back (skunk trail). You can modify most types to fit your bike, or make some with duct tape and a box.
  11. Even if the snow has melted, the sand on the roads can be just as slippery as ice, so take care, go slow on turns, prepare to catch yourself sliding.
  12. Brake Twice; the first squeeze is to clean off your rims, which will make sure you stop nice and quick on round two.
  13. Stash a plastic bag under your seat or in your bag so when it’s raining you can cover your saddle while briefly locked up outside.
  14. In 15 degree weather, a good face mask will be the best $25 you can spend.
  15. If you have to bike in 5 degrees for an extended period of time, you’re risking minor frostbite on any exposed skin. Put a thin layer of Vaseline or the like on your nose and cheeks to prevent frostbite. It’s extreme, but so are you!
  16. You lose lots of moisture from breathing out steam in the cold, though you may not realize it. Remember to stay hydrated out there!
  17. The weather can change fast over the course of the day. If the weather changes and you don’t want to ride, be multimodal and take your bike on the T.
  18. A nice thrift store wool sport coat makes for a warm, effective outer layer that you won’t mind getting a bit dirty on slushy days.
  19. Potholes are common after a few days of hard freeze followed by a warming. The expanded soil beneath the asphalt melts back down and causes the pavement to crumble. Keep an eye out for new potholes in your commute.
  20. Consider packing some extra batteries for your lights. The cold can effect electronics and drain your juice. Stay bright out there!