From about mid October on, riding starts to change. Sure you can still ride, but you’re gonna get wet, and you’re gonna get mucky. That’s okay though, there are ways to minimize the yuck factor, and hey. many people really like to get out there and get wet and mucky. For some, it can be part of the charm or fun factor on a great ride.
Riding off road is quite different than on road. Riding your road bike during the winter months can be trying and frustrating unless you are properly prepared. There is a long list of things to tackle when it comes to winter riding and at the top of that list is BEING SEEN. Despite what many people think this is not necessarily the same as seeing. Too many times during this shoulder season I see cyclists – usually at the last second, darting across intersections or riding down the street as they try to squeeze in a ride after or before work. These guys are nuts. With no reflectors, no lights, and usually no reflective trim on their black tights and jackets, they are practically invisible. Please don’t do this or you will become a casualty.
Wet is different than cold. For wet areas think about water management (both inside and out), so little things like shoe covers, front-lined winter tights and a waterproof over-shell jacket will all make your riding experiences much nicer. Simply adding fenders to your bike will increase the comfort level exponentially and won’t have you ending your ride with what I affectionately call a ‘full diaper’. When it gets cooler, thick winter riding gloves, neck warmers, and even taping over or blocking out the vents in your helmet and/or wearing a thin beanie will keep you smiling away on your bike way longer too.
Whether you are on your road bike or mountain bike, over the next 4-5 months, the last thing you need to think about is essential maintenance. Riding in the winter is hard on equipment. At the very least, ensure your chain is well oiled — riding in the rain will quickly remove all surface lube, so wipe clean and re-apply after every rainy ride. Also, check your brake pads more often during the winter. Rim brake pads wear exceptionally fast in wet and gritty conditions so keep a close eye on them. Finally cooler air and road temperatures will mean lower tire pressures. Ensure you have enough air so you are not changing a flat out in the rain too.
In summary, just because it is winter doesn’t mean you have to give up riding entirely. If it isn’t too cold, go have fun. If you live in a part of the world where riding outside is just impossible, there are other options. Keeping fit over the winter months will make for a quick start to a great spring.
Keep your rides safe and fun! See you out there.
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Source: Norco News