Cold Weather Cycling
Staying on the Bike When the Weather Gets Cold
To many cyclists it’s not the lack of time riding during the Summer that hinders their overall progress and fitness goals, it’s the long break when the weather turns cooler. To many people, riding a bike in the late Fall or throughout the Winter is simply not an option; but a whole other sector will tell you it’s their most enjoyable time to go for a pedal.
Staying on the bike in the Winter is not as stressful as it may sound, in fact the benefits heavily outweigh the downfalls. For starters, staying on the bike pedaling year-round is a great form of cardio that can help you maintain fitness goals when holiday meals and Netflix marathons under the cozy covers threaten otherwise. Riding through the cold weather maintains your ‘biking legs’ so you won’t have to start over in the Spring while also allowing the car to stay in the garage to save wear and tear from the snow, ice, and salt.
It should be noted, proper steps need to be taken when biking in cold weather compared to the warm months. Some of the most critical tips/recommendations/rules to remember include:
Wear Proper Clothing
Biking in the cold is all about layering. The base layer wicks moisture away from your body while a protective outer shell shields from wind, rain, and snow. It’s important to avoid the temptation of overdressing for a bike ride as your body creates a tremendous amount of body heat, even in bone-chilling temperatures. Gloves, a hat, socks, balaclavas/scarfs, and other equipment should have dryness, warmth, and breatheability in mind.
Depending on your climate, gears and tires are the most crucial aspects for bike performance in the Autumn and Winter. Many year-round riders prefer a single speed bike or one with internally geared hubs to avoid exposure to snow and slush. Tires need to have air pressure lowered a bit for more traction in the snow. It’s also extra important to make sure the bike’s headlights and taillights function for driving in earlier nightfall and overall grayer days. With the increase in popularity and access to Fat Bikes, cycling in the winter has become even more popular and enjoyable.
The single word that defines cold weather bicycle riding is ‘unpredictable.’ From the days running out of sunlight in the early afternoon to weather that changes from sunny to a snowstorm on a whim, riders need to be especially prepared when riding in the Autumn and Winter. This goes for being extra vigilant of other drivers as well who may not see you, may not expect you, or may not be able to control their vehicle on a slick pavement.
As long as you dress properly, equip the bike for cold weather, and follow extra safety precautions biking in the cool weather can be relaxing, peaceful, and a great excuse to get out of the house. Let the Fit Cyclist offer you some more tips on getting the most out of this exciting activity.