Cycling in winter, especially as a commute, can seem like an unsavoury part of your day. But just because the weather is against you, doesn’t mean you can’t continue to ride.
Cycling in the winter months has a fair few more hazards than travelling by bike in the milder months of the year.
With the extra equipment and precautions needed it can suck the joy out of cycling, but if you prepare correctly and take care, you can enjoy cycling just as much as you always have:
Warm and visible clothing is essential, in the plummeting temperatures and lower light, being warm and being seen are important.
A base layer is a great start for underneath your clothing, even if it’s just under your regular or work clothes, it keeps your core warm and often can wick away any moisture that can cause a chill.
Over the top, a warm jacket is all you need to keep the elements off and you comfortable on your journey. You should feel slightly cold when you get out and being your cycle – if you’re already warm, you’re going to get too hot as you move and exercise on your way.
Obviously, lights are essential but high visibility clothing a good addition to increase your visibility and your safety.
A Hi-Viz jacket to go over your clothes is great, as is a cover for your helmet and backpack. You can add gloves, bike clips and stickers to the back of your cycle too. You can’t really overdo it!
While a woolly hat is tempting, a helmet is always the best headgear whenever you’re on your cycle – consider a skullcap, helmet liner or neck gaiter as a layer instead.
Whatever additions you can’t already find at home, you’ll easily find at your local bike shop, on the high street or online.
Cycling on the main roads is probably safer in the fact that they will most likely have ben gritted but if you can’t avoid the back and minor roads, here are some tips to keep cycling safely:
- Give yourself longer to stop: apply your breaks gentler and long before you need to stop, this way you won’t risk jolting your wheels and causing a fall.
- Choose your line: especially while cycling on icy roads, if there is a worn or dry line through the ice try to use it, unless it’s in an unsafe part of the road or not where you want to be. Trust your judgement.
- Ride carefully: cycle at a steady speed and avoid quick changes in direction.
- Back brake: If you need to stop, your back brake is better to use as it affords you control of the front wheel if you slip. If you must use your front brake, do so gently and in conjunction with your back brake.
- Get off and walk: If you need to, there’s no shame in getting off the saddle and walking with your cycle if you feel the road or cycle path are too slippery and you don’t feel safe riding.
- If you aren’t comfortable cycling in the icy or cold – go slowly and carefully, or else walking is just as much fun in the winter!
We know you love cycling – we do too! But we also love cycling SAFELY – follow these suggestions and cycle happy!