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Winterize Your Ride

by Joshua Liberles on December 16, 2007

winterbike Winterize Your Ride

We’ve already had one article about biking through the winter. There’s a wealth of information out there, and it’s worth giving another look. For those of us who are hearty enough to commute by bike even in the coldest winter weather, we know how tempting it can be, especially on frosty mornings, to take the car, instead. Is basking in the cozy heat of the driver’s seat better than the badass righteousness of riding in the snow? Not a chance.

Even in the worst blizzard or blinding squall, there are precautions you can take to make your bike commute safer, warmer, and all-terrain tough. In the inevitable, backed-up traffic that follows a storm, it’s likely that your two wheels will get you farther—and faster—than four.
 

To stay warm through the winter, consider these tips to keep you and—your bike—from freezing over:
 
For your body:
With the wind chill, it feels about five degrees colder riding a bike than it does walking.
 
  • Bundle up with multiple layers, including a waterproof, wind-breaking shell and sweat-wicking layers closest to the skin. Avoid wearing cotton, which retains moisture and will make you feel chilled.
  • Wear gloves with a grip. Lobster gloves, a hybrid between gloves and mittens, are best.
  • Wear sunglasses or, on dreary days, frames with clear lenses to prevent getting blinded by slush or stray shards of ice.
  • Sport a neck gaiter or a scarf and tie it tightly around your neck and face. This will prevent wind from stealing heat from your core, and double as a convenient sponge for unavoidable nasal drip.
  • It’s true: you lose fifty percent of your body heat through your head. A synthetic skullcap will keep your head warm beneath your helmet, or opt for a fleece helmet liner and cover.
  • Buy some booties. Your feet are especially vulnerable to frostbite, and pedaling tends to cut off circulation to your toes. Neoprene booties or overboots accommodate cycling shoes and cleats, and keep your tootsies from turning black.
For your bike:
 
  • Wide tires, with low pressure, work best in the snow.
  • For extreme winter conditions, invest in Snow Cat rims and studded tires for extra traction over snow and ice.
  • Ditch your clipless pedals and break out the old bear traps. The snow can foul up your cleats and keep them from engaging and releasing easily.
  • Lightly grease cables to protect them from freezing.

For more details on how to winterize your bike, check out www.icebike.org

Photo via Flickr by ForbesCreative.
 

Related posts:

  1. Biking Through Winter
  2. Pimp Your Pet’s Ride
  3. Get on Your Bike and Ride: Commuting Tips
  4. MTA Helps Commuters to Bike-and-Ride
  5. Get on Your Bike and Ride – Commuting Tips
  6. Recent Posts

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