Don't be a fair weather bike commuter! Just because it's winter, doesn't mean you have to stop commuting by bike. Sure, it's cold and the days are shorter, but getting out on your bike every day is a great way to keep your spirits high until spring returns.
That's why we've put together a list of winter bike commuting tips to help keep pedaling all winter long.
1. Get the right gear. One of the biggest misconceptions about cycling during the wintertime is that you need expensive gear to keep warm and riding. The reality is you don’t! All you need are a couple basics and time to test what works for your commute. Before investing in any gear, think about which parts of your body get cold first — likely your hands, feet, and head. Thick gloves or mittens are an obvious must. Keep your feet dry with wool socks and dependable boots, and your head covered with a toboggan or a thin hat made of wool or synthetic fibers that blocks the wind and covers your ears. Carry a bandana for a runny nose or leaky eyes. Pro tip: Use plastic flat pedals so the cold doesn't transfer to your feet.
2. Keep your cool. Don’t panic if you find yourself on ice or in snow. Remember not to stiffen up if you start to go down. If you feel yourself beginning to fishtail or slip, try not to overcorrect. It's just like driving in that regard. To help add traction in the snow, ride with one studded tire.
3. Layers are a must. Dressing in layers is key for winter bike commuting. Wear a merino base layer on top and multiple layers of thin merino socks. Wearing a windproof and moisture-resistant jacket is a necessity for keeping you dry and warm on wet days. Some days will be colder than others but if you have the right layers you'll be able to adjust accordingly.
4. See and be seen. For the safety of yourself (and others), make sure you are well visible. Besides the basic cycling gear for nighttime conditions, consider adding front and rear lamps to your bike. Adding reflective wheel strips or decals is very affordable and effective as well.
5. Take it easy. Choose easy gears that will provide effortless pedaling so you don’t get stuck even if they get wet. Low gears will get you up a hill and help you get through the snow and sludge. New, powdery snow is best, and safest, for winter bike rides.
With the tips listed above, you have everything you need for safe winter bike commuting. Merry winter cycling!