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Jan 08

Tips for commuting by bike in winter

Posted on January 8, 2016 at 1:45 PM by Sarah Rankin

010516_WinterBikingThe winter weather conditions don’t have to make you halt your bike commute, but take some smart precautions to keep the rubber side down.  The tips below may help you brave the weather and arrive safely.

  1. Road Conditions- Check road and path conditions before leaving. Slick roads will obviously increase stopping distance for bikes and cars.  Stay loose in slick conditions; too much front brake on ice and the bike will not be under you for long and be prepared to stick out a foot to catch a fall.
  2. Be Defensive- Drivers are often distracted when driving in cold dealing with low light, heater controls, and foggy windshields. Be sure to use lights and do not assume cars see you.  Less presence of cyclist in the winter also means you may not be expected on the street.
  3. Dress for Warmth, but not too warm. Starting your ride a little cold leaves room to increase your warmth as you ride without overheating.  Warm gloves are important to keep your hands sensitive enough to work the brakes.  Rainwear keeps off water and also works as a wind block.  Waterproof shoes can greatly increase warmth and a tight fitting hat will fit under most helmets.  On really cold days, a scarf is perfect to protect your face, but still allow easy adjustment as you warm- careful to keep loose ends secure.
  4. Fenders!- Fenders are a must. Nuff said.
  5. Messy Storage- An icy, dirty bike will soon be surrounded by a pool of dirty water if brought inside. Be aware of where you store your bike and be considerate of the mess it may make.
  6. Don’t trade your helmet for a warm hat! Wear it.
  7. Public Transit- One fall on slick ice can keep you off the bike for a long time. If conditions are bad enough, take the bus.


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