Cold weather cycling: 10 Tips for Cycling in Winter
Cold weather cycling: 10 Tips for Cycling in Winter
Most cyclists store their bikes during the season when the temperature starts to drop. If you prepare well, riding a bike in cold weather will not be very painful. In fact, winter can provide some incredible riding experiences. Fresh air. The trails are not so crowded. Snow also creates a unique and beautiful atmosphere. Accordingly, the article will tell you about tips of cold weather cycling.
With the right bikes and equipment, you can commute, tour or cycle for fun throughout the year. This guide outlines 10 tips for biking in winter. We will cover cycling clothing, bicycle maintenance, parts and accessories, winter riding safety and more. Hope these tips can help you stay warm, dry and safe when cycling in cold and snowy weather.
1. Fold your clothes
When dressing for winter cycling, you want to wear clothes that keep your core warm. At the same time, you don’t want to become too hot and sweaty while riding. Your clothes must also provide good ventilation so that accumulated sweat can evaporate.
The best solution is to wear more clothes when cycling in cold weather. This allows you to easily add or remove clothes to regulate body temperature. If you feel too hot and start to sweat, just remove one layer and continue cycling. If you need to stop for a break or repair, you can put on another layer to warm yourself up.
When riding a bicycle, you sweat. Even if the temperature is below freezing. If your clothes are too hot, you will sweat too much. If your clothes are not breathable, sweat will accumulate and wet your clothes. When you stop cycling, your body temperature will drop, sweat will begin to evaporate, and you will soon become very cold. This is because water conducts heat from the body 25 times faster than air. If you are too cold, you will feel pain. If you ride long distances, hypothermia and frostbite are also a problem. For winter riding, you want to choose clothes made of warm, breathable, sweat-wicking and quick-drying materials.
Synthetic fabrics such as polyester work well. Merino wool is a popular natural fiber. These materials can provide insulation even in wet conditions. They also provide good ventilation and quick drying. Therefore, you will stay warm and dry. You should avoid cotton and down jackets because it takes a long time to dry. When it gets wet, it also does not provide insulation. As the saying goes, cotton kills.
A good cold weather riding layering system consists of 3 layers:
Base layer-This is the layer that you stick directly to your skin. It should be warm, sweat-absorbing, and quick-drying. Ideally, your base layer should also provide insulation when wet. If it’s just a bit cold, you can wear a long-sleeved bottoming shirt or a thick cycling jersey. If it is really cold, you will want to wear long, warm underwear under your pants or cycling tights. Merino wool is a perfect base layer material because it provides insulation and deodorization when wet. Synthetic thermal underwear is also a good base layer. You may also want to wear cycling underwear underneath to prevent chafing.
Intermediate layer-This layer provides additional insulation. This is the layer that will be removed when you become too hot. A fleece jacket or wool sweater is a good middle layer. The colder the weather, the thicker the middle layer you need. If it’s not too cold, you can wear a long-sleeved cycling jersey and tights. Ideally, your middle layer should dry quickly and provide insulation when wet.
Outer layer-this is your waterproof and windproof layer. It can protect you from snow and wind chill while you are riding. If the weather is a bit cold, you can simply wear an insulated raincoat on your middle layer. If the temperature is far below freezing, you may need a winter parka. When it gets wet, you will also want to wear waterproof pants. Ideally, your outer layer should be both waterproof and breathable. It should also have enough ventilation holes so that sweat can escape. If it is not snowing, it is best to take off the outer layer when you feel too hot. Many waterproof jackets are not breathable, even if they claim to be breathable.
When you dress appropriately, you should feel a little cold at first. When you start riding, you will warm up quickly.
When you go out, you should not feel warm. If you do this, you will wear too much clothes and you will sweat. If you start to sweat, remove one layer to cool yourself down. You can also lower the intensity to calm down. After getting off the bus, put on another layer to keep warm. When riding in winter, you don’t need to wear bicycle-specific clothes. In other words, clothing designed for cycling does have additional functions that can make you safer and more comfortable. For example, cycling jackets often include highly visible or reflective materials. This makes it easier for the driver to see you. When you are in a riding position, you will usually tailor a cycling jersey that fits your body.
2. Clean your bike often in winter
Many cities treat roads with salt or other chemicals in winter. These are designed to melt snow and ice. Some cities also sprinkle sand and gravel on roads to increase the traction of vehicles when the road freezes. Unfortunately, salt, deicing chemicals, and sand can stick to your bicycle parts and cause serious damage.
Salt and deicing chemicals can cause corrosion of steel components. For example, if your steel frame is scratched, it may start to rust. Over time, rust can damage the frame.
For example, a dirty chain can cause premature wear of the flywheel and sprockets. Dirt and sand will stick to the brake pads. This may scratch your rims or wear your brake discs and cause them to wear out prematurely. Grime can also enter your cable housing and cause your bicycle to move roughly. Contaminated cables can also affect braking performance.
How to clean your bike in winter
In winter, you need to clean your bike frequently. How often you need to clean the bike depends on the road conditions. If you ride a bike frequently, please clean your bike at least once a week. If the conditions are particularly bad, please clean your bike after each ride.
You want to remove all road chemicals and dirt that may be spilled and accumulated on the bicycle during riding. If you don’t have time to clean it thoroughly, at least wipe all dirty parts or rinse the bike.
When cleaning the bike:
Pay special attention to all moving parts. These include chains, flywheels, sprockets, cables, hubs and bottom brackets.
It is also important to keep the frame clean. Especially if your bike has a steel frame, because steel will corrode.
Wipe the brake surfaces on the rims or brake discs and brake pads to prevent wear.
Clean the cable housing to prevent contamination.
3. Maintain the most important maintenance when riding in winter
In winter, parts tend to wear out faster due to cold weather and harsh conditions. Maintaining the most important maintenance is very important. After all, you don’t want your bike to break down and cause you to run aground on a cold winter day.
In the cold winter, you need to maintain your bike more frequently. If you ride a bike frequently, apply fresh lubricant to the chain every few weeks. After thorough cleaning, apply fresh lubricant. Try to use thick, dry lubricants. Make sure to keep the chain well lubricated in winter. Ideally, you should also quickly check your bike before each ride. You want to check the overall condition of the components. You want to make sure that the bicycle can be ridden safely.
By checking your bike regularly, you can spot worn out parts before they fail catastrophically. This reduces your risk of getting into trouble. You can also prevent unnecessary wear and tear. For example, if you find scratches on the rim, you can start to clean the brake pads better after each ride. A quick inspection can save you from having to spend hundreds of dollars on new wheels.
If any parts show signs of excessive wear, continue to repair or replace them. For example, if there is a problem with your chain, please replace it. You don’t want to take unnecessary risks in winter. Some preventive maintenance can be of great help.
It is also important to check the tires regularly to ensure that they have the proper air pressure. For winter riding, you need to keep your tires at the low end of the recommended pressure range. This will increase traction and reduce the burden of riding. Talk about it later. The recommended pressure range is marked on the sidewall of most tires. Check the pressure before every ride in winter.
This is necessary because the tire will lose some pressure over time. Cold temperatures will lower the air pressure because the air in the tire shrinks when it is cold. It is especially important to check the tire pressure when you are running at the low end of the tire range. If you lose a small amount of air pressure, your tire may exceed its range of use. When this happens, pinching may occur. You can also bottom out and damage the wheels.
4. Learn how to ride safely in winter
Before hitting the road, take the bike to the bike lane or open parking lot to practice winter riding. You want to know how your bike handles ice and snow. You also want to understand your limits. Test your brakes and see how quickly you can stop. When riding on smooth roads, your braking distance will be longer because your tires cannot get enough grip.
Slowly walk through some thick snow and some icy places to see how it feels. In this way, you know what happens when you encounter these situations on the road.
Test your turning ability and see how hard you can turn without the tires starting to slip.
Drive into the icy rut and see how your tires get out of it. Practice a few times to learn how to get out of the rut safely.
Get off and in the car several times to ensure that your shoes or boots provide adequate grip.
Basically, you want to experience the feeling of riding in snow and ice. Before you start approaching traffic or dangerous terrain, it is important to learn the right technique and understand your limits. If you slip and fall at low speed while riding on a snowy road, you may get some scratches or bruises. It is more dangerous to slip while riding a bicycle. By learning how to ride safely in winter conditions, you can reduce the risk of falls and serious injuries.
It can help you relax your body when learning how to ride in winter conditions. If you tense and lock your knees and elbows, you will not be able to ride smoothly. Try to keep your body relaxed. Use your legs to help absorb the bumps caused by ruts, ice, potholes, and other debris.
Ride smoothly when crossing slippery or icy roads. Sudden turns or speed changes may cause you to slip and fall. When you encounter a slippery section of road, stop pedaling and slide in a straight line. Also, make sure you can see you when you ride in winter. Install the front and rear lights on your bicycle. Wear high-visibility clothing so that the driver can see you. I will talk more about lighting and visibility later.
5. Keep your limbs warm
When your core temperature starts to drop, your hands and feet will be the first parts of your body to get cold. The wind chill factor can also play a role. When riding a bicycle, your hands and feet will face the wind. The cold air passing through them can quickly take away heat. In extremely cold temperatures, frostbite is a worrying problem.
Cycling with frozen fingers and toes can quickly become uncomfortable and even painful. Controlling the bicycle has also become more difficult. When your fingers get cold, they lose flexibility. This makes it difficult to squeeze the brake lever and manipulate the shifter. When your hands are frozen, you cannot control the bicycle accurately. If your feet are too cold, you may not be able to maintain the rhythm. You will feel very clumsy. It is important to wear good gloves and shoes.
If the weather is very humid or cold, please consider wearing a pair of disposable plastic or rubber gloves under winter riding gloves. These form a vapor barrier between your hand and the cold outside air. Waterproof gloves can prevent sweat from evaporating. Therefore, your hands will stay warm. But they will sweat and clammy. Air-activated hand warmers can also help warm your hands.
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