Winter is not always the best time to be a bicycle rider. Cold is an issue while riding on an unshielded vehicle like a bicycle. Snow and freezing rain are also problems and can harass anyone out-of-doors at the wrong time. Yet, riding in winter can be a joy. The crisp cool air invigorates the body and helps push a person beyond his limits. The cold is a reminder that a body is alive, with each push of the pedal pushing a person forward towards his destination. Riding in winter can be a great experience, but there are a few tips to help make a ride worth it.
Don’t go all out when starting
It is easy to be excited about a new experience. Most people, when starting a new project, want to jump in headfirst and go at it at full throttle. Be careful about doing this with winter riding. If a person is not used to the cold weather, the riding will be more uncomfortable than fun. It is a good idea to plan a ride and start small. If the rid is to a job or event, use public transportation along with the bike ride. Getting out of the cold when a body is over worked can be a good thing, taking a bus or a subway will help break up the ride and warm a body up.
A helmet should be worn at all times while riding. This is good advice for any season, but a bicyclist in winter can come across many natural obstacles that can throw a rider off a bike. Patches of black ice, melted snow, dirt that seems solid but is not, and other types of traps can await a winter rider. It is easy be prepared by wearing the right equipment.
Make sure to research what clothes to wear before riding
Deciding on what clothing to wear is the most important part of enjoying winter riding. A good tip is to wear layers of clothing that are warm but flexible enough for exercising. Cycling is an exercise and can raise the inner body temperature through exertion. If a rider wears layers of clothing instead of one large coat, these layers can be removed as the body heat becomes warmer. Never forget that it is a winter ride, always keep this in mind. Don’t overdress when riding. Layers are good but being slightly cold is the way to start a bike ride. The heat of the body will keep a person warm as he exercises.
The head, feet, and hands should be covered
The main parts of the human body that lose the most heat are the extremities. These include the head, feet, and hands. When riding outside in the winder, make sure these parts of the body are well covered. When heat is lost through the extremities, it is hard to warm them up again just through physical exercise. Wearing a knit cap underneath the helmet is always a good idea, but also carry a scarf or other piece of clothing to keep the face warm in extreme temperatures. Gloves should be warm yet have enough grip on them to not slide off the handlebars. These can be purchased from bike riding shops or repurposed from other winter sports. Shoes should be waterproof with enough room for warm socks to insulate the feet from the weather.
The Winter Bicycle
The winter bicycle needs to be maintained a bit more than the bike during warmer weather. Before riding, make sure to check that there are not any mechanical difficulties with the bike. Check the tires and inflate or deflate them to the desired PSI. In winter, it is often good to go with less air than during summer months. When returning from a bike ride, do a look over and dry off the bike to keep rust from forming.