Whether or not you need to prepare your bicycle for winter depends entirely on where you live. If you live somewhere like Darwin, Brisbane, Perth, or Sydney preparing for winter might just mean throwing on a jacket. Lucky you. (Brisbanites might feel different after the cold-snap in early June!) But, for the most, like those in Melbourne, and Adelaide the cold is rolling in like a bike on a downhill, and colder weather, shorter days, and unpredictable weather are here. For some, that means locking their summer bike in the shed and switching it out for something more rugged – but for many others, their bicycle needs to survive various seasons. Cycling in winter can be rough (both on your bike and yourself) and even though winter reliably arrives every year, many cyclists find themselves caught out when June comes and they’ve forgotten to prepare their cycling machine. Here are our top tips to ensure your bike stays in good shape throughout the colder months.
Dress the part
During winter, our evenings start earlier as the sun sets, what, at around 16:30 or 17:00 already? This also relates to a later start in the morning with the sun rising after 07:00 in some places. So, make sure you’re seen even when it is dark outside! Dress in a bright and reflective kit. And the golden word: Layer! Yeah, it’s great being warm and toastie when you roll out, but it’ll suck to be you when you sweat uncontrollably 20 mins into the ride. So, wear layers that can be taken off as your body temperature rises. When selecting your gear, remember to pay attention to the top, middle and bottom: head, hands, and feet. About 30% of your heat is lost through your head so wear a bandanna, or thermal skull cap to keep keep your head warm. Make sure you have winter cycling gloves to ensure your grip does not slip due to frozen fingers! Armwarmers are also great for layering. Lastly, your feet …Those vents in your cycling shoes are great in summer, but a curse in winter. Wear thermal socks to keep your toes toastie.
When we train in winter, we tend to forget to stay hydrated because we don’t always feel as thirsty during o after training! It is very important to ensure you continue to take in enough fluids to stay hydrated and energized even when, or especially when it is cold. So, drink up!
Keep Your Lights On
Australian road rules state you need to have a front white light and a rear red light visible for at least 200 meters away. While all cyclists will know to use their light in poor visibility or in the evenings, it can be easy to forget that in winter you may need it during the day too. Remember, lights aren’t just to illuminate your path. Half of their purpose is to ensure that you’re visible to motorists. In winter, weather conditions can change quickly and sunset might sneak up on you, so a good rule of thumb is to always have a light source with you even if the day starts off bright. Consider these points when choosing a light:
Easy to use
Easy to mount
Easy to charge
According to this article and this image from the article on Bicycle Network, these are the best places to mount a light:
Prep you bike
Tyre – makes sure these are in good condition and has a good grip and pressure. You might even consider getting a new set of winter wheels.
Keep it clean – your bike needs to be cleaned and lubricated after every ride! Remember, it is not just the frame then needs a washy, maintain the chain as well!
Safety first – check your cables and brake pads
Yup, if you want to keep riding, you need to be willing to face the music, or in this case, the cold weather. The hardest part of a morning ride is the first five minutes before you have to get out of bed. You’ll love the ride, just start it. You’ve got this! Gear up & get ready to roll this winter. If you need insurance, we’ve got this! Click here, & let’s ride!
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