Even with the arrival of cold weather some cyclists stubbornly refuse to hang up their bike and throw in the towel. And despite the crude comments from motorists, these dedicated cyclists aren’t necessarily crazy. Instead they show that with a little preparation, cold is just a nuisance, not a roadblock.
Of course, dressing for cold-weather riding isn’t as simple as throwing on a heavy coat and pants. While your wardrobe may differ depending on the type of ride and distance, layering makes the most sense in any cold-weather situation. Layering, usually with a windbreaker on top, gives you plenty of choice for temperature changes and it won’t impede movement.
A common but simple guideline is: It’s better to start out feeling a little cool than a little warm, because your body will generate heat over the course of the ride.
Perhaps most importantly, a good warm-up period reduces risk of cold-related muscle injuries. The simplest approach is to begin pedaling slowly until your temperature and heart rate have risen; you may need to allow more time to warm up properly. Never start by stretching cold muscles, otherwise you risk tearing or straining them.
Your bike deserves similar attention during the winter. Salt and sand on the roads can lead to corrosion of your bike’s parts, including the chain. Be sure to clean and apply oil to moving parts regularly and also consider investing in tires that will better grip the snow.
Winter riding also adds some extra safety concerns to the mix. While you may not have needed a lighting system to commute home from work during the summer, it’s important to remember that darkness sets in earlier in winter. Extra reflective gear on your clothing, helmet or bike will make your presence known to drivers, who are struggling with the same decreased visibility.
The bike experts at Backpeddling have all the tips, gear and accessories you need for fun and safe cold-weather riding. Visit www.backpeddling.com to browse their selection of new, used and antique bikes.