Winter. It is cold and the days are short. But, that shouldn’t stop you from cycling! In fact, winter cycling is more popular than you might think! Being prepared to ride your bike in winter conditions is the best way to safely ride during the winter months. Be prepared with these 5 winter cycling safety tips:
1) Check your equipment before you ride
Snow and ice increase the risk for slips and falls while on your bike. Having a bike that can handle what winter brings is key to experiencing a safe ride. A bike with a sturdy frame, knobby tires, heavy-duty components, slick-type wires, peddles to help keep your feet in place, fenders, and a pannier to carry extra items are ideal for winter riding. These items are less likely to become damaged due to corrosion and the rough terrain you will be encountering while outdoors.
2) Get to know your path
Now that your bike is ready to hit the winter trails, knowing your route is key to having a safe ride. Many cities have websites that share virtual and printable bike path maps to help cyclists find trails they can travel safely on. Interactive road maps allow you to see if the weather is having an impact of the roads for your winter ride. Staying mindful of other hazards around you during this slippery season will help keep cyclists safe.
3) Wear the right gear for the weather
What you wear while cycling is as important as the proper gear for a winter ride. The best way to stay warm while biking in winter is by layering your clothing. A few thin layers you can open up en route can make riding more comfortable. Covering your extremities (eyes, ears, fingers, and feet) with protective gear, warm mitts, and weather-resistant footgear will help to keep winter’s icy chill off of these areas of your body. A thin coat and rain pants that block wet and windy weather will help to keep you warm and dry while on your ride.
4) Have a safety kit handy
Being prepared to manage spills and falls with an on-board safety kit is vital to your safety and to the good condition of your bike. Some items within your on-board safety kits should include:
- a multi-tool
- a first-aid kit
- a towel or handkerchief to quickly wipe messes off
- an extra bike tube
- a small bike tire pump
- a smartphone
5) Clean your bike
After your cycling trip is complete, removing the muck and grime that your bike rode through helps to keep it in good shape and ready for your next trip. Bring your bike into a warm environment and wipe it down to remove the winter grim from the gears, frame, and chains to as soon as possible to prevent corrosion.
Whether you cycle to work, school or for leisure, getting out on your bike is a great way to stay active throughout the winter months. For more winter cycling safety tips, check out the following:
Winter Cycling Resources
DO YOU HAVE ROAD SMARTS?
Road safety is a shared responsibility, regardless of how you use the road. Our friends, family, children, and colleagues are impacted several times daily by road safety. When tragedy strikes, too often we feel powerless in terms of making an impact to prevent further issues. If you would like to get more involved in road safety, we invite you to take the #RoadSMARTS pledge. By taking the Road SMARTS Pledge, you Support Making All Road Travel Safe, which can help improve road safety for everyone. When road behaviours change, accidents can be reduced. For more information and to take the pledge for free, visit https://www.road-smarts.ca/