Cycling is a great form of exercise and transportation all year long, but when it comes to winter weather, even experienced riders should plan carefully to avoid accidents or injuries. Why does it matter more in the winter? When temperatures hover around freezing, roads can become icy or slippery, and visibility may also be decreased, making it more difficult for both you and drivers to stay in your own lane and see where you are going. Make it easier by following these simple safety tips when riding road, mountain, or hybrid bikes in the snow.
Colder months equal shorter days, and weather can often change quickly. It is important for cyclists to know the forecast and sunset time before beginning a long ride. The last thing you want is to get caught in a pop-up snowstorm or on an isolated trail after dark.
Phone a Friend
While you are taking safety precautions, check in with a friend or family member to let them know where you are going and how long you plan to ride. Better yet, buddy up with a cycling pal or small group in case something happens while you are in the saddle. At the very least, allow live tracking of your location so that you can be found quickly if the need arises.
Make yourself and your cycle as visible as possible when your ride in snowy or foggy settings. Shop for quality lights wherever you get bikes for men and women, and while you are there, check out any brightly colored or patterned riding apparel. The more you can do to stand out, the better. Even reflective stripes or neon gloves are better than nothing, but do not be afraid to go over the top. The combination of bright lights and clothing can help drivers spot you even in iffy weather.
Layer It Up
Speaking of clothing, think about what you should wear to keep you warm and comfortable. The best approach is layers, starting with a thin, insulated layer close to your skin, then continuing with several more items as needed. Layering should include your entire body, not just your torso and arms, and you may need to invest in socks, gloves, thin caps, or stocking that can trap your body heat and prevent hypothermia.
Do Your Chores
Cleaning your road or hybrid womens bike is essential after a ride, especially in the winter, when you may have cycled through salt or sand. Salt buildup on your bike can do damage if left on too long, so wipe down your bike after you have cooled down. You may even want to consider using mud guards and changing out your regular tires for wider or snow tires in the winter if you cycle often enough to make use of them.
One more tip: stay hydrated! It is easy to overlook your physical needs when you have so many details to attend to before you head out into the frosty air. A checklist makes it easy for you to keep track before you roll for a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable ride in any kind of weather.