Monday, January 4, 2010

Winter Riding (and Happy New Year!)

Depending on where you live, you may have noticed the weather getting colder and the roads icy-er -- it's not your eyes deceiving you -- winter is here! You may think that it would be crazy to bike in weather like this, but it turns out that lots of people do, including many of the kids and volunteers that come by the shop. Winter riding, if the rider and the bike are properly prepared, isn't unpleasant -- in fact it's alot of fun!

If a kid comes by with a bike they've been riding out in the snow and salt, there are a few basic things you can encourage them to do to be better prepared.

For bicycles:
-Clean the chain and oil the chain regularly, and consider using a wax-based lubricant (this will help shed the grime build-up and improve chain life)
-Swap out those bmx slicks for a set of tires with more traction
-Make sure that all the bearing systems on the bike are properly adjusted -- a loose bottom bracket, for example, will let in lots of dirt and moisture, leaving you with a headache!
-If possible, store your bike inside. Don't let it end up like this:)

When out on the road:
-Ride predictably and cautiously -- stay constantly aware of road conditions and other vehicles
-Wear bright clothing, and use lights at night -- remember, the sun sets much earlier in winter
-Obey traffic signals and laws, and wear a helmet
-Layer up your clothing, and don't forget gloves, ear coverings, a wind breaker, and long socks

How else might bicyclists ride safely in the wintertime?

1 comment:

  1. I found this Sheldon Brown site on chains. I thought it was really well done.

    Its something to think about while we are cleaning the salt/sand/ice/snow and general crud off our bikes after a winter ride.