Biking has many benefits for you and the environment. While winter cycling may sound daunting, it doesn’t have to be. If you know how to take care of yourself and your bike, it’s fun to bike in winter!
Even on cold and rainy days, there are many benefits to cycling around town. Firstly, biking is the most environmentally sustainable transportation option, as the only energy used is your own. Not only that, but biking saves money that you would otherwise spend on gas, parking or public transport. Cycling also can help you move a lot more freely and without hassle, as you won’t have to stress about finding parking or getting to your subway or bus on time. And don’t forget what a great workout biking can be! If you’re thinking of biking to work this winter, keep in mind there are major benefits of morning workouts.
Get the Right Gear to Bike in Winter
Get yourself excited to bike in winter by focusing on all the benefits you will reap. If you’re worried about the cold, don’t fret! All you need to do is be prepared. This starts with clothing. If you don’t already have a good waterproof jacket or vest, go to your local second-hand shop and pick something up that will keep you toasty on the coldest days. Keeping your feet warm is important as well, so make sure you have good quality, waterproof footwear. Accessories such as gloves, ear-warmers, scarves, long socks and tights can go a long way as well. You can even find touchscreen gloves which will keep you warm while you check the directions at a red light.
Remember that there are many options for different types of bicycles. If you are having trouble staying motivated using your conventional bike, consider getting an electric bike. This is a great option for those who have longer distances to travel. That way you can still get many of the benefits of biking, while getting to your destination a bit more quickly and without exerting as much energy.
Take Care of Your Bike
It’s especially important to take care of your bike in winter, when it can be exposed to rain, wind, snow and hail. Always store your bicycle indoors to prevent rust. Do not leave your bike outside in the cold for too long. When you get home, make sure to bring your bike into your home, or leave it in the garage if you have one.
Make sure to also get a tune up in the fall. Before winter hits, you should bring your bike into your local shop to check for typical issues that come with wear and tear. This way, you can be confident your bike is in good shape and you won’t have to stress about your brakes giving out or your chain falling off on a rainy day. If you don’t already have them, get fenders for your tires while you’re at the bike shop, so you can have fun biking through puddles without getting wet.
Stay Safe While Winter Biking
In the foggy darkness of winter, it’s extra important to make sure you are taking the right steps to stay safe on your bike. First and foremost, always wear a helmet. You should also use both front and rear bike lights. You may not need to use these lights often in the summer, so make sure to check they are working as winter is approaching. You can also fix extra rear lights on the sides of your bike, such as in the tire spokes. Wearing reflective gear is equally important in making sure vehicles and other cyclists can see you at all times. Reflective velcro ties are available for your pant legs, which double as safety gear in keeping you visible and keeping your pants out of the way. You may also want to consider wearing a reflective vest at night. We recommend this especially if you are biking in a more rural area with few street lights.
Last but not least, remember your bike etiquette. Always call out “on your left” when you pass other cyclists, and remember to use your arm to signal. When in doubt, always signal and communicate your intentions to others on the road. While these safety precautions are important year-round, they are absolutely necessary to bike in winter.
Remember Skin Protection
All too often, people assume skin protection is less important in the winter, when the sun is less strong and the days tend to be cloudier. On the contrary, it may be even more important in winter! It’s extra important to put on sunscreen when you bike in winter because those dangerous UV rays can reflect off of fog and snow, maying them even more powerful. Make sure to protect your lips with a SPF lip balm as well. While you’re at it, don’t forget to moisturize your skin in the mornings and evenings, to protect your precious face from drying out in the cold. Most importantly, pack a big bottle of water every time you cycle. Many people forget to drink water when it’s cold out and they are not sweating so much, but it is always important to stay hydrated. This is important for both skincare and overall health.
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