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Read how to ride a bike safely around the city in winter

Mirosława Kuczkowska,

Read how to ride a bike safely around the city in winter

In the past, only fanatic cyclists rode in winter. Today, such a view is no longer a sensation,’ says Daniel Chojnacki, Wroclaw’s Cycling Officer. To ensure a pleasant winter ride, it is good to take care of three elements: the bike, the riding technique adapted to weather conditions, and appropriate clothes.

How to take care of a bike in winter?

Humidity, low temperature and salt poured onto bike paths and streets destroy almost every part of a bike. Therefore, the basic principle of caring about a bike is to wash it with water by means of a delicate sponge or a soft brush frequently and thoroughly. The key thing is to remove the mud and salt from the chain, sprockets, gears and the frame.

After washing the bike, you should wipe it with a towel and protect it with gears suitable for damp and cold weather conditions.

In winter, you should also think about adequate tyres. These can be winter tyres or just slightly broader tyres with a sparse tread pattern.

Every bike should be provided with adequate (preferably blinking) lights so that the cyclist could be easily seen even in limited visibility conditions.

The riding technique and style are also important.

The most dangerous thing for a cyclist is a slippery surface. In order not to skid, you should primarily:

  • slow down;
  • turn smoothly in a wide arc;
  • use the rear brake at the beginning, and then use gently he right brake.

In addition, it is good to let off some air from the tyres in order to ensure the better wheel grip.

Other threats for a cyclist at this time of the year are difficult weather conditions and poor road visibility. Therefore, it is so important to mount adequate lights and put a reflective safety vest on.

It is also good to keep a bigger distance from the edge of the road. The wet snow at the road edges covers potential holes and increases the risk of skidding.

Clothes: not too light and not too thick

The key to a comfortable bike ride is the adequate protection of the hands, forehead, ears and feet. However, it is also necessary to take care of your knees. Our legs are constantly in motion, so we rarely feel that this part of our body is freezing. Therefore, apart from ordinary items of clothing, it is important to wear:

  • Gloves (we recommend putting them on already in autumn). For a longer ride, one-finger gloves, or even a model integrated with the handlebars are the best.
  • A multi-function scarf: it will protect both the neck and the face during cold weather.
  • Long johns, tights, kneeboards or knee warmers.

The rest of the clothes can be adjusted to your own comfort.

Hang on until spring? How to keep a bike in winter

If a winter ride around the city does not make you happy, ensure the proper storage of your bike. If this is obviously possible, it is best to keep a bike in a dry and heated room. When your bike stands on a balcony, in a cellar or in an unheated garage, remember to cover it with a cloth or another suitable material to minimise the impact of humidity.

It is important to ensure that a bike stands on well-pumped tyres. But the best solution is to hang it or turn it upside down.

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