From Petrol to Pedals

From Petrol to Pedals. This blog chronicles one man's obsession with commuting by bike.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Rider Guide: Winter Riding

A lot of people do not like riding in Winter time for obvious reasons, but it's really not that bad. With a little extra precautions you can by just fine.

Here are some tips for riding in the winter:
  1. GEAR - Wear the proper gear. Depending on your distance and weather, you may opt for something as simple as a jacket or as complex as full rain gear. If you live in the Pacific Northwest as I do, you know how essential rain gear can be. I am huge fan of Showers Pass and highly recommend their jackets and convertible pants.No doubt the gear can be $$$, but you'll break-even on your return after 1 season of riding. Two other essentials in my arsenal are a) booties aka shoe covers & b) bottom baselayer aka tights. The first keeps your feet warm and dry and the second keeps your butt and legs warm and dry. Both of these items are really nice-to-haves BUT they make riding much more enjoyable in winter.
    1. As an example, here is my regular every-day winter gear:
      1. Rain jacket
      2. Convertible Rain Pants
      3. Full tights for under 45F.
      4. Booties.
      5. Baselayer under my jacket.
      6. Waterproof gloves. Another MUST for those with long soggy commutes in the PNW.
      7. Waterproof backpack. Another MUST if located in a rainy place.
      8. Regular old winter hat.
  2. VISIBILITY - Make no assumptions in winter. People often drive in the rain with their windows foggy and can't make heads or tails out of you or a tree on the road. Make yourself seen! As previewed in the gear section above, most biking jackets and pants have a lot of reflectors on them. This is very important in the dark and may save your life. If you are going to ride with gear not-specifically designed for biking, I recommend adding a few reflective items like leg bands, vests, or whatever, the point is to be seen not look cool. Just don't be this guy

  3. LIGHTING - Depending on where you live, you may be required by law to have specific lights on your rig. Regardless, it's a good idea to a front head light and a rear light. They aren't expensive, but are without a doubt should be on your bike. I'm a fan of the aftermarket giant Planet Bike and their inexpensive yet functional head lights. As for the rear Portland Design Works is king.

  4. ADDITIONAL - There are a few additional things to consider when riding in the winter. It's cold out and sometimes it's you-can't-feel-your-toes-fingers-and-arse cold out. This will affect your muscles and endurance, so take it slow and make sure to stretch out. Lastly, have fun out there. That's what riding is alllllllllllllllllllll about.  

1 comment:

  1. So, how do you prevent yourself from skidding into the roadway when the weather drops below freezing?