Cycling Through the Seasons
Countless people ride their bikes to work or school during the summer months, but this number drops drastically when the winter months roll around. As the snow and ice begin to accumulate on the roads and sidewalks many people opt to take public transport or drive.
If you are the kind of person who would like to ride your bike year round but are wary of the cold and less than ideal conditions this post is for you! We will be breaking down some of the things you can do to prepare your bike and yourself for your winter commute in a two part series.
There are several things can be done to “winterize” your bike; ensuring you have the proper cold weather equipment makes a dramatic difference in the winter cycling experience. The most obvious of adjustments to make to your bike is changing out the regular tires for more weather appropriate tires. Studded winter tires or knobby tires with a wide tread pattern will help to clear the snow and improve traction on packed snow and ice patches. While changing both tires is ideal, at the very least it is recommended to change out the front tire as this is where the control and traction of your ride originates from.
Investing in proper brakes that won’t freeze up (opt for aluminum over steel) and fenders with enough clearance that they won’t fill with slush are other modifications that can be made to improve your winter ride. Lastly, due to the sometimes limited visibility associated with winter and the shorter daylight hours, ensuring you have adequate light reflectors will greatly increase the safety of your ride.
As always, regular maintenance is vital to the life of your bike. Cleaning and coating the underside of the bike frame with wax (basic car wax works just fine!) can prevent the buildup of snow, road salt and sand which could potentially cause or accelerate existing rust on a steel frame. Using a rust-resistant aerosol lubricant on the moving parts of your bike, including the chain, will prevent dirt from accumulating and will keep everything running smoothly. It can also be used to keep moisture out of any drainage holes or the seatpost hole which could freeze and cause damage to the frame.
Many cyclists will chose to store their regular bike for the winter and invest in a less expensive or used one for the winter commute. By making slight modifications to a less expensive bike this saves your regular ride from the wear and tear of the season, while still allowing you to cycle year round.
Next week we will be covering what you can do to prepare yourself for winter cycling!
Tags: winter cycling equipment modifications