By Paul East
For most people, bad weather is the primary reason why one should stay under their thick, warm duvets or sip hot cocoa in their pyjamas. Going out for a bike ride against the elements is the last thing on their mind.
But, if you’ve embraced and developed the discipline to mentally negotiate your way to gear up, you’ll find that winter road cycling can be very rewarding. Internally, you’ll build stronger determination and willpower. Externally, you’ll be entering the spring feeling fit, in shape, and stronger than you have ever been.
However, there are a few things to keep in mind, especially when it comes to safety and visibility on the roads. Don’t worry, all the required accessories and clothing can be found on this website.
Image by Ivsu, Pixabay.com
As it gets dark earlier in the winter, you obviously need to ensure that you have enough lights and that they’re properly secured and unobstructed. I’ve seen lights that aren’t pointed at the right direction and confuse the drivers behind. If you want to stay safe on the road, you have to think like a driver. It’s safe to assume that most drivers are squinting through a misty or iced-up windscreen, and you can never have enough lights.
Before you head off, know where you plan on cycling. If you’re cycling in well-lit urban areas, look for lights that give out a broad beam. If you’re going for less-travelled roads, look for more focused beams that can pick out hazardous obstacles.
Reflective strips on your clothing help other motorists see you clearly. Command your space on the road so that if drivers try to squeeze by, you still have some wiggle room!
As mentioned before, the cold is already a good enough reason for you to stay under the covers. Investing in good-quality winter clothing for cycling is crucial for you to have a good time. You will need enough layers to keep your warm, but not too much that your mobility is restrained. Here’s what I recommend:
Base layer: a long sleeve moisture-wicking base layer to keep you dry, as well as helping you regulate your body temperature. Your legs should be fully covered as well
Mid layer: A layer added on top of the base layer that keeps the warmth in
Insulated gloves: To protect your hands against the wind chill and prevents numbness
Waterproof overshoes: So your feet don’t freeze and get wet. A wide range of the different types of overshoes can be found here
Cycling Cap: To keep your noggin warm and dry! Some even offer ear protection
During the winter, even leaves can pose a slippery threat to cyclists. Be extra cautious of the manholes and road markings that you normally cross over without problems in the warmer months, because you can slip over them when they’re wet. If you can avoid them completely, then do so.
Riding safe also means trying to anticipate the behaviour and actions of other drivers. If you’re giving a signal, do so earlier than you usually would. Riding in a group is much safer than being a lone cyclist on the road. It helps with visibility, and you have your mates to help you in case you come into any unfortunate accidents or mechanical issues. Be sure to have adequate space between each cyclist because like driving, it takes longer to brake when the roads are slippery.
Those are some of the best tips I can give you cyclists for these winter months. Whatever your goals are, your safety and comfort come first!
Paul founded BikeParts.co.uk (formerly known as Woolly Hat Store) in the 90s after finding a lack of stores offering low-cost yet reliable parts and accessories at larger national stores. The small business has grown steadily and has a large following of avid cyclists throughout the UK.