A long, cold winter can be great for people who love to get outdoors and mix it up in the ice and snow. Hockey players relish a chance for some pond hockey, and skiers and snowboarders wait all year to hit the slopes. But for many, the wintry weather is a major downer, as it keeps them indoors and away from their favorite sports and activities. If you’re an avid cyclist, you probably know the frustration of watching snow pile up outside your window. But take heart, because you do have options when it comes to riding in the snow.
So follow these tips and you’ll be out on your bike and feeling energized soon enough.
Obviously you’re not going to want to be rolling around on slick, bald tires, so be sure that your tires have some tread left on them. It’s also a good idea to let some air out and keep them a little more deflated than you would during the summer. This is to give you more grip, as the softer tire will squish a little bit and get better traction. If you usually have your tires around 120 psi, think about dropping them to about 90 or 100. And if you’ve got a mountain bike with chunky, off-road tires, that can be a good option, as well.
If conditions are really nasty, you can look for a pair of studded tires that will offer maximum traction on snow and ice.
If you’re riding through the snow, then your tires are almost certainly going to be throwing slush and water up at you. Get some fenders to keep that icy mixture off of you – otherwise your soaked clothes will start to get cold and heavy.
Wash And Lube
If you decide to ride a multi-speed bike this winter, you need to frequently wash and lubricate the drivetrain. The amount of salt, gravel, and ice that will get into your drivetrain can really do a number on it unless you take appropriate care.
Another option is to go with a single speed bike that has fewer exposed moving parts, and won’t require as much maintenance. Additionally, there are bikes out there that feature internal geared hubs. That just means that the moving and shifting parts are encased in a protective hub that shields them from the elements.
On The Road
Riding on a slick surface can take some getting used to, but you’ll get the hang of it with a little practice. To start with, try to stay relaxed and keep your weight back, rather than staying tensed and forward on your bike, which might be your initial instinct. Do your braking early and in a straight line as much as possible. Try testing the traction you have with your back brake before using the front brake. Also, remember to steer with your hips, meaning you should try to make changes with your whole body, rather than quickly moving the handlebars.
It might feel like a struggle at first, but you’ll quickly learn the ins and outs of cycling in the snow. One thing that won’t make it easier is relying on poor eyesight or fragile glasses this winter. If you’re going to be out biking in the snow, you’ll want the best vision possible. So give us a call at OCLI, and we can set up a consultation to see if you’re a good candidate for LASIK!