Snow on the ground? Check. Black Friday ads on a seemingly constant loop? Check. Hibernation instincts setting in? Check. Winter is here, and for most of us, the only thing we can do is embrace it. And that includes saying hello to crisp, snowy rides on our trusty bike. A good winter bike ride can be invigorating and empowering—you basically feel like a warrior.
But you don’t have a fat tire bike. And don’t have a 6 inch beard protecting your jaw from that unrelenting north wind. And you maybe don’t have a will power made of steel. No fear. We’ll get you suited up and on the road in no time. But first, you’ll need to prepare your bike for the elements. Here are a few tips to keep you safe:
– Switch up your bike. Winter is not the time to roll around on your shiny new, carbon frame speed machine that brings you medals and glory in warmer months. Salt and road grit will gunk up your chain and gears—fast. If you’re lucky enough to own more than one bike, select the more rustic option for your winter cycle, clean it often, and don’t forget to lube it up.
– Turn up for a tune up. Before you hit the road, it’s a good idea to take your wheels in to your local bike shop for a winter tune up. They’ll cross the t’s and dot the i’s so you’re feeling confident about the well-being of your cycle.
– Find some fenders. Does a wet tush covered in gross, dirty street slush sound appealing to you? No. Get yourself some fenders and repel 95% of that gunk.
– Winterize your wheels. Solid winter bike tires can be a lifesaver. Literally. Your sleek skinny summer tires simply won’t have enough traction on icy or snowy roads. So there are a few different options for your winter wheels. 1) You can select a thicker or nubbier set tires and squeak out a touch of air to make them a bit more gummy. 2) You can install some studded tires to help you grip the road (best for icy or packed snow). 3) Zip ties: a wonderfully cheap solution, but only if you don’t have rim breaks. Get the how-to here. 4) You can fall over.
– You don’t merely twinkle. You shine. If you’re commuting to and from work, you’re likely going to be riding in the dark. Bike lights are essential. No need to go disco-crazy, but a good set of front and back lights will keep you visible and safe. Consider investing in a good LED light like this one.
– Sloppy saddle no more. Locking your bike outside and heading indoors? Protecting the seat of your bike is a must. Check out our adorable, chic (we’re not biased at all), and functional saddle covers, here or here, that keep you sitting pretty.
Ride on, winter warriors!