In most of the United States, there's a brutal reality from November to April every year involving white fluffy stuff and bitter cold. While it might seem inevitable that winter means putting the bicycle away until spring, that doesn't always have to be the case. There's a solid core of people that ride their bikes year round. Some even find that winter biking is more challenging, peaceful, and a great way to get exercise while others are hibernating. Of course winter biking is a whole different animal than summer riding and there are a number of tips and precautions that should be followed.

Dress Appropriately

Dressing for winter biking doesn't necessarily mean outfitting yourself with 9 layers of clothes like Randy from A Christmas Story. First of all, bundling up too warm will cause you to sweat abnormally as your body overheats, which is nasty in the cold. Second of all, immobilizing yourself with six pairs of long johns is a safety hazard, making it difficult to operate a bike. The key is to wear enough clothes such that you're slightly chilly when you start. A moisture-wicking base layer is a must as is a soft shell jacket on the outside. You'll want a thin stocking cap that can fit under your helmet with a neck and face covering that can be zipped up as well. Waterproof gloves and boots also work well in cold, wet conditions.

Stay tuned this week for new Priority Gear perfect for cold weather riding ;)

The Bike

Riding in the winter is hard on a typical, chain-driven bicycle as sand, salt, and debris works its way onto the chain and drivetrain and creates havoc and wear. Fortunately, the belt drive on a Priority Bicycle eliminates this problem! The internal gearing of the Priority Bicycle in the back-wheel hub also prevents the weather from affecting the bicycle’s performance.

Bikes should be stored indoors if possible and cleaned to remove all the grime from your travels. Bikes should also be outfitted with fenders in the winter to keep the slush and splatter off of your face and clothes.

Riding Safety

While mounds of snow can be a great fall-cushioner, it's best not to test them out. Winter biking involves riding a little slower, being more cautious, and respecting the elements. Black ice can come out of nowhere, and you should always be aware that vehicles can lose control as well. Ride with a friend if possible, and always let somebody know when you're going out for a cruise. Making sure you have your bike equipped with lights is a good idea too, as sunny winter days can be few and far between.

February 03, 2015 by Dave Weiner