Winter biking: Tips for bikers with the grit
Winter: The time of year when all you see and hear are endless downpours, snow, and miles of black ice. Everything looks dark and sad. That is why winter biking might not be your cup of tea. However, winter biking can be fun and awesome despite being challenging. All you need is the right biking gear and you will be as comfortable biking as you would be at any other time of the year. Bearing in mind that biking improves your emotional health and wellbeing, it is important that you make it an all-year-round outdoor activity. Biking is also a key component of socializing, transportation, and entertainment.
This article explores 5 tips that will help you bike even when it gets cold, wet, dark, and snowy.
- Lower the saddle
Lowering your saddle means that most of your weight will be concentrated near the floor, so your center of gravity will be lower. The lower your center of gravity, the more stable you will be on the wet pavements and icy patches. It also means that you will be less vulnerable to skidding, especially because your feet will be close to the floor and will readily sit flat on the floor in case you lose your balance. With a lesser wobbly bike, you will enjoy your biking just like you do in summer.
- Keep warm
Your winter biking experience will be much better if you are warm, comfortable, and safe. You need to understand your body’s preferred comfort levels and wear clothes that keep you comfortably warm- not too warm. Note that it is possible to overheat even in winter. Some of the clothes that you need to acquire for your winter biking include breathable jackets, fleece, and wind-blocking vests. You will also need some long underwear under your pants in order to protect your groin region from the wind. A skull cap and a runner’s headband will protect your head and ears from excessive wind and from the falling snow. On your hands, wear some thin gloves or mittens so that you don’t get your hands frozen. Wear a thin buff or neck warmer as well.
- Install winter-friendly tires
If you ride motorized bicycles, you need to change the tires because the original tires are designed without the harsh winter condition in mind. Marathon winter tires are ideal for such a bike. You might also need to change the tires of a normal mechanical bike and install fat tires that are built for soft sand and snowy landscapes. 2 WD tires are also great in ensuring smooth and safe biking in winter. It is worthwhile to take care of this as riding motorized bicycles is an adventure and lightens up your whole mood.
- Charge your batteries inside a warm place
Still, on motorized bicycles, you need to check on your battery regularly because low temperatures would mean less effective batteries. The batteries need to be stored in a warm environment; otherwise, they will become a casualty of the harsh winter weather. When you get home, take the battery with you in the house, or keep the bike in a warm garage. If you can find a way of covering the battery with a warm rug, the better- that will keep the snow away.
- Invest in the right headwear
Get rid of those jacket hoods and invest in tight-fitting headwear such as fleece skull caps. Note that jacket hoods are easily inflated by air as you bike, which can jeopardize your stability. Find ski goggles and wear them together with a balaclava, and then wear a helmet on top. That will insulate your face from the harsh winter weather and at the same time keep you safe in case you fall.
- Check your brakes
Install cantilever or V-brake pad as they brake better than ordinary brakes on wet surfaces. They also shed mud efficiently, allowing you to pedal freely and effortlessly. Be sure to install curved winter-specific pads. Sintered pads are also great if you are using disc brakes. Because these brakes and pads are to be exposed to harsh weather, ensure that they are of the best possible quality in order to guarantee their durability.
Note that what works for one biker may not necessarily work for you. These tips will, however, help you to readjust and prepare for winter biking. You need to ensure that biking in winter is as painless and as comfortable as during the milder months. Riding in winter requires grit.