Winter Riding: A Survival Guide
If you live in the city, let’s face it: commuting sucks, especially when the first snow strikes. Drivers seem to simultaneously forget how to drive, transit is unreliable at best, and taxis? We will leave that for another rant. As freedom-loving bike-commuters, the thought of relying on any of the former pains us. So, what is a cyclist to do? Bundle up and get your winter-ready gear on!
Here is a quick list of our winter riding tips and essentials:
Winter is not a time to show off your custom Pinarello – retire your shiny toys for the winter and bring out the road warrior. It need not be pretty; fat, meaty tires are a must; and wide-grip mountain bike handlebars, for easier handling, are highly recommended.
When it comes to riding year-round, a good motto is, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.” The key for winter riding is to stay warm while maintaining mobility. Start off with a non-cotton base-layer, like merino wool or silk. SAIL is a great source for both men’s and women’s baselayers, followed by a thin insulating layer, like this 100% recycled one from Hincapie.
Finally is your shell: it should be both water and wind resistant and allow room for additional base layering, like eco-brand Nau’s line of recycled hard-shells.
Let there be lights! Whether riding first thing in the morning or after the sun sets, having a good set of lights is key, especially on the really snowy days. The biggest mistake cyclists make is assuming that drivers can see them. Don’t. Unless there is crystal-clear visibility and blue bird skies, having your lights on is a good idea. To save on battery life, set them to flicker, which also helps for increased visibility. Our absolute favourite lights are from the environmentally conscious, Australian-based company, Knog.
So when the snow hits and the chill sinks-in, get on that road warrior and ride on!