Winter Cycling Advice
Stay on your bike in the winter months with our safer cycling tips
Cycling is a fantastic way to keep fit, save money and often save time when travelling to work. Getting on your bike helps reduce congestion and makes the roads a little safer and cleaner for all. It seems like a more inviting prospect in the summer months, but there’s no need to give up your two-wheeled transport in the winter.
It rains a lot less than you would expect; decent waterproofs or a change of clothes in your rucksack will do the job if it does get soggy. Invest in some overshoes to keep your feet warm and dry. Wear cycling gloves – they will grip better than wool gloves, helping you stay in control while keeping your fingers warm. You could also invest in a thin cycling hat which should fit easily under your helmet. Do think about wearing a cycling jacket. They’re designed to keep the heat in and the rain out, and are normally bright and reflective to help you been seen on the road.
More and more riders use lights all year round in the daytime – it’s a good way of making yourself more conspicuous on the road. This can be even more important on gloomy, overcast winter days. Rechargeable LED lights are cheap and easily available. Have them charged up and with you whatever time you go out, and you won’t have to worry about getting caught in the dark as the nights draw in.
Obviously you should keep you bike in good condition all year round, but you’ll need to pay a little more attention as it gets colder and damper. Wet weather can be harsh on the rims and brake blocks, so keep an eye on them. Salty water from gritted roads can also take its toll, and there will be more mud around, so wash your bike down regularly, check the moving parts and keep your chain oiled. A little simple maintenance goes a long way to ensuring your bike is fit for the road and able to get you to your destination safely. Have a look at our ABC check guide to see what else you should be doing.
Watch out for leaves, debris and muck at the side of the road and around drains. Hedge trimming time can be a real hazard, as there will be a build-up of branch pieces and thorns. Painted road markings and metal manhole covers will be more slippery so be cautious when turning. Do take a central position if you see hazards ahead that you will have to manoeuvre to avoid. Ride with caution and moderate your speed, allowing plenty of time to react and brake if the roads are damp or icy.
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