Rock Talk

Is your bicycle ready for winter?

Last updated on October 28, 2019 at 10:12 am

Planes, trains and automobiles… no matter how you get to work in the morning, winter always complicates the commute. And if you’re among the growing population of commuters who are strapping on a helmet and hopping on a bike, winter can be a particularly challenging time.

Here’s how to make sure your two-wheeled steed is ready to face Old Man Winter.

Routinely maintain your bike

The ice, slush, salt and dirt your bike is exposed to throughout the winter can be damaging, so you’ll want to clean it more regularly than you normally would. A simple mixture of soap and water should do the trick most of the time, but more hard-to-tackle grime might require rubbing alcohol. Pay special attention to your wheels and chain since mud can get caked inside spokes and links.

Chains and brake and transmission cables should be lubricated to prevent them from sticking.

Consider your tires, pedals and fenders

Riding on slippery, snow and ice-covered roads can be tough without the right wheels. To keep you upright, you’ll want your tires to have a better tread pattern to help with gripping than a standard smooth-tread wheel. And if you’re really going off the beaten path, you may want to consider studded tires to help with traction.

  • Tip: For an inexpensive winter hack, try to zip tie method to improve grip

Everything is slippery in the winter. When it comes to pedals, you’ll want to make sure they have good gripping so that your feet don’t slide around when pedaling. Plus, consider the fact that you’ll probably be wearing big winter boots, so you’ll want to make sure the pedals are large enough for your feet to fit comfortably.

While cruising down wet roads, your wheels are kicking up dirt, grime and other elements. To protect yourself from wheel spray, strap on some temporary fenders so that your wheels are covered.

Dress for the weather

You may see them, but drivers don’t necessarily always see you. That’s why while on a bike, it’s important to be as conspicuous as possible by wearing bright colors and reflective gear.

You should also consider mounting a light on both the front and back of your bike for added assurance that you’ll be seen when the snow starts to fall or when it gets dark.

Whether your commute is 10 minutes or an hour, you’ll want to make yourself as comfortable as possible while riding. Wear thick socks, comfortable riding shoes, and above all, always wear a helmet.

The lesson?

When you’re properly prepared, commuting on a bike is great.  While others are crammed into subway cars and buses or stuck in traffic on the highway, you are in complete control of your travel situation. Talk about freeing, huh?

Not to mention, you’ll save money you otherwise would’ve spent on fares or gas.

For more information and tips about winterizing your bike, check out these articles from Gizmodo and PhillyVoice.

Click here for more information about insurance in your state.

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