What thoughts do you get when you see cyclists in the winter? Many novice cyclists ask: Can I ride a bike in the winter? Believe me, not only you can, but you should! Riding a bicycle in winter brings no less joy than at any other time of year. A bicycle is a vehicle that can be used all year round. Riding in the cold season will keep the body in good shape, make the body sturdier and stronger. But in order to benefit only from riding in winter, it is important to adhere to certain rules. Let’s analyze what you should pay attention to, what to ride a bike in the winter, how and where?
In what situations it is better to refrain from cycling in the winter
According to the traffic code, it is forbidden to ride in a snowstorm and in ice. Winter riding techniques are different from summer riding. How do I ride a bicycle in the winter so you don’t hurt yourself? The cyclist is highly dependent on the road surface. First, you can not turn sharply and brake. Second, it is contraindicated to touch the brakes and tilt the bicycle in any way on ice. It is important to be able to show the rules of turns on the road, i.e., ride with one hand on the handlebars.
It is dangerous to hit ice edges, tiles, paving stones and dividing strips. The bike literally flies out from under the person.
If you are unsure of the device, you should not venture out for a winter ride. A bicycle for riding in winter should function flawlessly.
How to ride a bike in winter
Riding in winter is no more dangerous than walking – it’s slippery either way. How do you ride a bike in winter to have only positive experiences? It is safe to ride your bike in winter after you take it to a bike shop for a complete service. They will change the grease (do not use regular grease, but a special grease for wet conditions), eliminate play and identify other shortcomings. The brakes will be properly pumped. In addition, they will check the pads and rotor and adjust the rim brakes.
Bicycling in the winter has its own peculiarities. A bicycle can easily withstand any frosts. There are nuances only with hydraulic brakes, air forks and shock absorbers – they are not designed to operate at temperatures below -15 ° C.
Winter rubber is preferable, especially if you ride every day. But if summer tires have aggressive tread, you can also use them.
Studded tires are divided into cylindrical and conical. Cylindrical ones are cheaper, and conical ones are better for maneuvering on slippery surfaces. In general, rubber tires hold up better than most winter shoes, and the likelihood of falling off the bike is not higher than just falling down the road from the store.
Hang up your fenders so the dirt doesn’t get you dirty.
Learn how to brake properly. You need to warm up the brakes – brake jerking. This makes braking efficient. Besides, pads will be cleaned from water. Brake with the rear wheel.
When entering a corner, keep the bike level, do not roll over.
Do not maneuver too sharply. Be careful, remember that there is always a risk of slipping and getting injured.
What to wear on a bicycle in winter
Cycling is a sport. The body produces excess heat, so it is important to choose correctly what to ride a bicycle in winter, so it was not cold and not hot. In any case, a set of clothes will be lighter than the usual winter outfit. If when you go outdoors from the house you feel cool, and after 10 minutes of active riding you are warm but not sweaty, – then the choice of clothing is correct. Sweating in the cold must not be in any case. If you do sweat, then move without stopping, so as not to cool down.
For cycling in winter, buy a windproof cycling jacket with a high collar. These jackets will protect you from the wind and breathe. Or, for example, you can take a Cross-country—what-it-is–nuances model. On the legs wear a winter biking loafers. They have an insulated diaper and straps for a good fit.
Be sure to use thermal underwear. Buy thermal underwear for active sports. Pay attention that the composition does not include natural fabrics that absorb moisture, which impairs thermoregulation. When riding a bicycle, moisture dissipation plays an important role.
Winter cycling shoes choose based on the available pedals. If you have contact pedals, then buy a special cycling shoe with a membrane. If you have contact pedals you can buy special velociking shoes with a membrane.
In winter, do not ride without gloves. When buying gloves look at the presence of windproof membranes. If it is not too cold outside, you can ride in gloves without insulation.
Head will protect a balaclava of fleece and helmet.
In order not to get blind eyes from the head wind and hypothermia, use sunglasses. You can also use a ski mask.
Where best to ride in winter
You can ride a bike anywhere in the winter, but it is most pleasant to ride in a park or in the woods. In the city, riding on roads or sidewalks is more difficult. Maneuvering, especially without studded tires, is hard.
Food for the Road
Nutrition for the cyclist is very important, especially in winter. In the cold, food should be nourishing. From food depends on the amount of energy and heat produced. Without food, staying warm will be a problem. In winter, more calorie-dense food will be needed than for a similar warm season trip.
It is necessary to drink, even if it seems that you do not want to drink. The body loses a lot of fluid while riding, timely replenish the water balance.
To keep food and drink warm, pack everything in thermos flasks. Having a break in nature with hot tea and something tasty is a great idea.
Advantages and disadvantages of riding a bike in winter
Winter riding has its pros and cons.
Let’s start with the cons of why you can’t ride a bike in the winter:
- In the cold, the grease in the bearings begins to thicken, so the bike’s ride gets heavier, and the rolling will not be as effective.
- Bicycle computers have LCD screens that do not display information.
- If you wash your bike before going outdoors, all components will be icy and you will have to stop riding quickly.
- To stay warm, choose carefully what to wear. The first to freeze are your face, knees and hands. Get warm gloves, ideally use cycling gloves. Protect the neck with a warm scarf, on the head – a hat. The wrong choice can cause frostbite. If a strong wind blows in your face, reduce your speed. When you get cold, stop and drink hot tea from a thermos.
- Your bike should have a good light in winter because it gets dark early.
- Poor traction of the wheels. Careful on the ice, try to find places to ride where the road is cleared of snow.
Now for the pros, there are more:
- Using a bike in the winter is a good way to recharge your energy. If you feel tired and sleepy, go for a bike ride. The cold will cheer you up and give you energy. Physical activity in the fresh air will fill your body with new strength.
- Prevent depression. The cold and short daylight hours contribute to gloom and depression. Regular cycling stimulates the production of dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin. These are the “happiness hormones.” If you lie on the couch, your joy concentrate goes down, but when you ride your bike, you get happier.
- It’s better to ride in the snow than when it’s dripping rain. Cold is easier to bear than heat. If you’re cold, just increase your speed.
- The rubber wears less when you drive in snow.
- It’s safer to drive in winter than in summer: you’re wearing outerwear, plus the snow softens the impact. It’s much more dangerous to fall in the summer.
- There is an opportunity to master the skills of riding in extreme conditions.
- Compared to a minibus or even a car, getting from one place to another is faster, especially considering the winter traffic jams.
- Riding in winter hardens you in every sense of the word. Having the mental fortitude to pull yourself together and go for a ride in the cold will make you stronger and more fearless.
- Taking care of your health. Riding in the winter means keeping your body toned. You will lose weight, strengthen your cardiovascular system, improve your mood and get rid of stress.
- You will have something to tell your friends. Winter trips are great memories to last a lifetime and interesting stories to tell your friends. Winter driving is quite different from summer driving. The experience of winter travel is priceless. As a rule, the most memorable trips happen in the cold.
- It’s a lot more fun than it sounds. At first the idea of riding a bike in the winter seems absurd and doesn’t sound like much fun, but that’s only at first. Often people enjoy such rides more than they expected.
Of course, winter driving is not the same as summer driving: it is not recommended to shift the bike at speed and turn sharply. In addition to these, there are other rules for how to ride a bike in the winter:
- Keep your distance and don’t accelerate too much. Keep in mind that the braking distance will be twice as long.
- Bicycles are difficult to ride in the snow, but it is better to ride on a cleared road.
- Lubricate your bicycle more often than in the summer.
- When you come home, put some rags under your bike, where the dirty water will run off.
Don’t worry, you can ride your bike in the winter. It is not scary or dangerous. Summer cycling has its own peculiarities, and winter cycling has its own peculiarities. Even if you do not have the necessary equipment – this is not a reason to refuse to ride. Of course, having biking equipment, riding will be much more comfortable, but many people ride in plain clothes and feel the delight. Go with what you have.
Near the house is sure to find quite a few places where you can go on a regular bike, a little down pressure in the tires. After riding a couple of times, you will lose yourself the question: Is it okay to ride a bike in the winter? You’ll find that riding a bike in the winter is not a bad idea.