The cold winter months often bring icy roads and harsh weather conditions that can deter cyclists from riding their bikes. And it’s important to be careful: in 2016, 18,477 cyclists were injured in reported road accidents, including 3,499 who were killed or seriously injured. Yet, with the right preparation and mindset, the beginning of winter shouldn’t impact your daily commute. Here are our top tips for busy commuters to keep up their cycling year-round – whatever the weather!
Choose the right clothing
The winter months are not as easy as summer when it comes to clothing. Think about swapping your vests and shorts for windproof thermals, gloves, overshoes and clear or lightly tinted glasses.
It’s essential to choose a kit that not only keeps you warm against the elements but also ensures sweat is absorbed and evaporated quickly. If you don’t choose cycle-specific clothing, it’s likely that built-up sweat will make you feel damp and clammy, which is not a good start to anyone’s working day.
Although the best bike clothing can be expensive, it’s a worthwhile investment if it means you can comfortably keep cycling throughout winter.
Prepare for punctures
Punctures – a cyclist’s worst nightmare!
As the weather gets increasingly worse, the greater your chances are of obtaining punctures. Wet, uneven roads can create difficult conditions to cycle on. And no one wants to get caught out by a pesky puncture – especially not on the way to work.
Prepare for punctures by including at least two tubes and a pump in your backpack. Make sure to check that your pump still works if you haven’t used it in a while. If you’re cycling with friends or in a group, remember to remind them to bring their pumps before you head out – it could make all the difference to your ride. We also recommend purchasing tyres that are durable and include some element of puncture protection to avoid bicycle punctures and gain some peace of mind.
Remember to eat and drink
Fuelling your body before, during and after a ride is key to keeping on the bike during winter. Some energy bars can become hard during cold weather so softer food, or even gels might be your best bet.
Even though it’s likely you won’t be sweating as much because of the low temperatures, it’s also important to still keep hydrated. A good way to warm up and get some food and drink is by taking a mid-ride cafe stop that will help to replenish your energy levels if it’s a long ride. If you live in London there’s sure to be plenty of stops along the way, especially along some of the most well-known, popular routes. Alternatively, if you’re just on your daily commute, warm up with a hot drink and snack when you get to, and home from, work.
Be safe, be seen
It’s a sad fact that during winter, the commute to and from work oftentimes will be in the dark. Making sure you have a working light on your bike will ensure that drivers and other road users are able to see you from a distance, as well as you being able to clearly guide your way. And the good news is, there’s no need to spend a fortune – rechargeable LED lights can be bought in your local hardware shop and will work a treat.
Lock it or Lose it
Of course, a lost or stolen bike is no use for the commuter, no matter the weather – we previously wrote an article on how to keep your bike safe. One of the best ways is to keep it locked up in a safe and secure cycle compound.
For any information or advice about the range of bike storage solutions we offer at Turvec, get in touch with us today.