Just because the clocks have gone back and storms are a-blowing doesn’t mean you can’t cycle happily and safely – just follow these tips on how to kit you and your bike out for winter.
Top winter cycling tips
1. Kit out your bike with decent lights and reflectors so that pedestrians and motorists can distinguish that a cyclist is approaching. It’ll make you feel more confident too.
2. Pop a high-vis jacket or tabard over your jumper, providing another literal layer of safety.
3. Whilst cold mornings may want to make you swaddle yourself in bulky wool, layering up with lots of thinner garments is best, as you can overheat quickly when you’re eating up the miles. Make sure you wear a waterproof and windproof shell jacket and trousers for protection from the elements.
4. Grit, rain and mud can take their toll on your bike, so check your cycle regularly – look at tyre air pressure; make sure the brakes grip; ensure that wheels are not unnecessarily loose; test that the pedals spin freely; tighten your saddle so that it is firm; and confirm that the chain runs smoothly.
5. Check the weather before you ride and have a plan B for torrential rain or really icy conditions. In bad weather, go safe and slow, keep your lights on and avoid busy roads, especially at rush hour.
6. Carry a small tool kit and spare inner tube for on-the-go repairs, especially if you’re venturing far from home on a weekend ride.
7. If there’s a snow or ice on the roads, swap to thicker tyres or use your mountain bike to commute instead for better grip.