Biking in the snow can be a blast or a bit of a trial depending on road conditions, preparation, and confidence. Regardless of your experience level, here are a few tips & tricks to getting through your afternoon commute in the snow.
- Take It Slow– Even if you’re feeling confident about your own ability to stay vertical, don’t forget that there will be drivers & riders on the road that might be a bit less reliable than usual, so a slow, defensive ride is going to be safest. There’s no worse feeling than not being able to stop when you want to, so brake early, and tap your breaks frequently to eliminate any buildup of snow or ice on your rims.
- Lower Your Tire Pressure– By letting out a little air, you create more surface area in contact with the ground, which can help you maintain good grip with the ground.
- Follow Tracks– If there have been other riders through your path, it’s a good idea to stick to the compacted tracks they leave. This will save you some energy in blazing your own trail, as well as helping to alert you to where other riders might have had trouble.
- Layer Up– Layering for snow can be tricky, there’s nothing worse than sweating under your rain shell because you’re too warm. A good rule of thumb is to keep rain pants, a rain jacket and warm gloves in your panniers for the whole of the winter. Underneath your rain gear, keep your layers breathable and warm, and take the time to shed or add layers if you need to. It’s easy to get your core temperature out of whack when you’re sweating in sub-freezing temperatures, so pay attention to your comfort, and adjust as necessary.
- Cold or Clean– One potential winter storage hazard is the possibility of freezing your gears or brake lines in place, which actually becomes more likely if you’re bringing your bike indoors for storage. Any thawed moisture left on your bike when you bring it back out into sub-freezing temperatures has the potential to become icy and hazardous. Therefore, some people recommend leaving your winter commuter bike in a cold garage overnight. If you’re not willing to saddle up a cold bike in the morning, the other solution is to be more vigilant about your daily wipedown, making sure everything is dry before you get outside. Click here to see our blog post on wiping down your ride.
With these tips in mind, have a safe commute, and we’ll see you on the roads!