Winter cycling. Features of preparation and Сycling in winter
A bicycle, as many might think, is not only a summer means of transportation. Every year on the streets of our city we see more and more people for whom winter is not a hindrance. If you decide to join their ranks, then surely you have a lot of questions…
Today, I have prepared answers to all the questions you may have before your first winter trip.
Advantages and features of cycling in winter
Winter cycling has its own advantages and features that must be taken into account when preparing and using a bicycle.
Pros of winter cycling:
- It is much more pleasant to ride under the falling snow in winter than under the rain in summer. Winter frost is easier to tolerate than summer heat, and if you are cold, you can just speed up and warm up.
In summer, on the contrary, intense driving can lead to discomfort from the heat. Although, it should be noted that the cyclist’s clothing must be adequate at any time of the year.
- The summer road with pits and puddles changes in winter. On the other hand, the asphalt road, on which there were no holes and potholes in summer, is covered with ice in winter.
- Everything that can lead to punctures in the wheels in the summer (nails, glass, etc.), in the winter turns out to be under the snow.
- On soft snow tires wear less than when driving on asphalt.
- Winter is a good time to train your riding skills in extreme conditions – similar to extreme driving.
But Remember that there are also features that must be taken into account about Winter Cycling:
- At subzero temperatures, the grease in the bearings thickens, which makes the bike’s travel harder and less effective rolling.
- When the bike is moved from a heated room to frost, the tire pressure drops noticeably. You need to keep this in mind and, if necessary, pump up the cameras.
- In winter, it gets dark much earlier than in summer, so you should take care of additional reflectors. It is better to use flashlights very carefully, as batteries can oxidize in the cold.
- It is better not to use bicycle computers in winter, because their LCD screens stop displaying information at negative temperatures.
Bicycle Computer is the device which allows you to analyze certain characteristics related to cycling.
The bike computer provides the ability to track your performance while riding and track every ride. This is true for people involved in cycling both at a professional level and for amateurs.
To set up any bike computer, you will need to put a pair of sensors on the bike and enter the parameters of your wheel, which are usually indicated on the outside of the bike tire.
- It is worth removing all the plastic parts that you can do without – plastic becomes very fragile in the cold and there is a risk of breaking them.
- It is imperative to avoid harsh braking followed by wheel locking and sharp turns at high speeds.
- You should not wash your bike before going outside – it will instantly freeze up and, most importantly, the brakes and other parts of the bike may stop working.
- Friction, or more correctly, the grip of the tires on the road, depends on the temperature. The lower the air temperature, the better the grip. Conversely, when the temperature is closer to zero, “mess” is formed on the roads, then the level of adhesion is much worse.
- When driving, bicycle tires deform intensively. Some of this energy is converted into heat and heats up the tire, as a result of which the wheels “dunn” less and roll better. Therefore, it is best to ride at a moderately fast pace in winter. In addition, good speed allows you to keep warm in the cold.
Cycling Technique in Winter
If you have studless tires and there is ice on the street, then it is better to postpone the bike ride. On such rubber, you can quite comfortably ride on freshly fallen or compacted snow – and it is relatively safe, and you will get pleasure.
On rubber with a small number of studs (up to 150), you can move more boldly and in more unfavorable road conditions. But do not make sudden movements, slow down sharply – despite the presence of spikes, it is very easy to send the bike into a skid.
The most comfortable and safe riding is on tires with a large number of studs (up to 350), located in four rows. You can even ride on ice on these tires.
On any tires, you should avoid driving on a side slope – it is better to go around such places, or dismount and walk this section of the road.
The brakes must be kept in readiness at all times. To do this, you need to slightly apply the brake while driving and drive with the brake lever pressed for several meters.
First, the brake pads will slip, and then they will begin to cling to the disc or rim. This should be done every 10-20 minutes to keep the brakes always ready.
You need to brake gently and intermittently in winter, otherwise the bike may skid. It is better to apply the rear brake first, then gently apply the front.
Cyclist Winter Outfit
Good warm clothing is a must when cycling in winter. It is important to choose clothes in which it will be safe and comfortable for you to ride. Winter clothing for a cyclist must meet the following requirements:
- Should not restrict movement and interfere with control.
- Should not obscure vision.
- Should not be too warm or too cold.
- Must be windproof and waterproof.
- Must be visible to car drivers and pedestrians.
Check it Out How The Best Cyclist Winter Outfit for men looks like HERE
Check it Out How The Best Cyclist Winter Outfit for women looks like HERE
P.S The approach to the choice of winter cycling outfit clothes should be such that at first, as soon as you go out into the street, you are cool, and so that after five to ten minutes of active cycling, you will warm up well, but not sweat.
Sweating in the cold is highly undesirable, because if you sweat, you can dry out only in a warm room. If, nevertheless, the underwear has become wet, then you should go without stopping, not allowing yourself to cool down.
Bicycle Winter Maintenance
In the winter season, all components of the bike are exposed to increased loads and quickly wear out, rust and collapse. This is due to unfavorable external influences – snow, ice, salt, reagents do their destructive work.
Subzero temperatures lead to thickening of the grease in all rotating assemblies, which can disrupt their operation, and they can wear out and even break down. Therefore, after every winter outing on the bike, it is necessary to carefully tidy it up – clean and lubricate it.
Cyclist Winter Outfit Tips
It is best to dress in “layers”, that is, wear several layers of light clothing.
Upper Body Level
The first layer is thermal underwear. The task of the bottom layer of clothing is to keep warm and wick away moisture. Cotton underwear is undesirable, since the body sweats quickly in it and cotton, absorbing moisture, does not allow it to evaporate.
The second layer is insulating. The best option is a fleece sweatshirt. Fleece has an excellent thermal insulation properties, is wear-resistant, perfectly wicks moisture, dries quickly and is very pleasant to the touch.
The third layer is a waterproof and windproof jacket or windbreaker. The task of outerwear is to protect against wind and snow. However, do not overdo it with the top coat: it should not be too warm and should also allow your body to breathe.
Lower Body Level
It is recommend using thermal underwear as the first layer. The second layer can be used for cross-country ski pants – they are windproof, well protected from moisture and narrow enough, which means they will not interfere with you while driving.
For winter cycling, trekking boots with a warm toe are quite suitable. You can also pay attention to shoe covers made of special materials that help keep warm.
An important point – while riding, the feet are almost motionless and at low temperatures they begin to freeze even in warm shoes. If you start to feel that your feet are freezing, stop and walk vigorously – run for a few minutes.
Hat and helmet
As in summer, great attention should be paid to safety and not to forget about the helmet. It is also important for the head to provide protection from cold and wind.
The ideal “garment” for the head is a balaclava made from special materials, which can be found in sports stores. When choosing a hat or balaclava, keep in mind that a helmet should be worn on top without problems.
You can use fleece gloves or not too bulky ski gloves. It is important that your hands are warm and that you feel comfortable shifting gears and operating the brake levers.
To protect your eyes, you should wear ski or motorcycle goggles, while the temples of the glasses should be plastic, since metal can freeze your skin in the cold.
And finally, a few recommendations:
- In winter it is better to ride on densely packed snow
- Do not ride on ruts and try not to ride on snow slush
- Turn smoothly, over a large radius, avoid sharp turns
- Do not go on roads – it is extremely dangerous in a narrowed carriageway, insufficient
- Visibility, the presence of a track – all this significantly increases the risk of accidents
- Try not to make sudden movements
- Always be prepared for ice under the wheels, keep your hands on the brake levers to slow down in time
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