Cycling in Winter: OverLive's Guide:
Cycling is enjoyable all year round, we can all agree with that – whether it’s a warm summer evening ride or a brisk morning ride during the thick of winter. The only difference is that your bike will require a bit more care during the colder months to ensure that its still tip-top when summer rolls back around!
Keep it Clean (and Lubricated!)
Riding your bike during the Winter will kick up plenty of grime and dirt onto your bike, if it is left over the Winter in this condition this can cause rusting and ultimately erosion.
To prevent having to shell out for replacement parts when this happens, ensure you keep your Bike clean – this means removing the more prominent, surface dirt with an all-purpose cleaner and a good quality brush, once this has been done, you can then get in deeper to remove grime from the stubborn areas. Next, using a Degreaser you can remove build-up of dirt from areas like the Cassette, Chain and Derailleurs. The final step would be replacing the now removed lubrication onto all the moving parts. A handy tip is to use specific ‘Wet’ Lubes such as Weldtite’s 100ml bottle these are designed to lubricate in wet conditions.
Cover your rear – invest in Mudguards!
When the weather turns dark, cold, and wet Mudguards will be your best friend. By shielding the spray of dirt and water you won’t find your back and legs covered in grime after a long ride. On top of that, they also protect your Bike from being covered in dirt too which you’ll be thankful for when you come to clean your bike as mentioned above.
Be Bright – Get some Lights!
Staying visible and safe should be a top priority when ‘Winter-proofing’ your Bike. The best way to do this is to invest in a good set of Bike Lights – this means a front light with at least a solid and flashing mode and a rear light with the same. We would also recommend a Helmet Light for that added visibility.
Commuters should look for lights that keep them visible and light up the road without blinding other road users with an overpowered light.
Off Road cyclists should look for lights that not only keep them visible and safe but also light up the path ahead, for these cyclists we would recommend the brighter the better. Keep an eye on the lights running times to make sure you aren’t left with a light that’s ran out of battery halfway through a night-time ride!
During the damper winter months your brake pads can wear out much easier due to extra mud and grit being kicked up and onto the pads. We would recommend checking them every few rides to ensure they’re still in good working condition. The last thing you want is your brakes failing!
What’s worse than a Puncture?! – Keep a Repair Kit
Reduced visibility and extra dirt on the roads during the Winter months can result in a more significant number of punctures. Ensuring you’ve always got a Repair Kit handy can truly be a lifesaver if you get a puncture when your miles from home (believe us, pushing your Bike all the way home in the freezing cold is never fun!)
Most Puncture Repair Kits are pocket-sized and will fit easily into a pocket or a storage bag to ensure you’ve always got one when the inevitable happens. A top tip is to also carry a spare inner tube if you can, just in case of multiple or a more severe puncture.
Tyred of Skidding? – Invest in some Winter Tyres!
With the risk of ice, snow, water, and loose mud during the winter there’s a huge increase of skidding whilst cycling and potentially hurting yourself or others and damaging your Bike in the process.
Specific Winter tyres that have a denser tread pattern will improve the grip your Bike is getting on the slippery roads. Also, with the potential of an increase of punctures you might want to consider tyres with puncture protection systems in place.
In a pinch, you can always deflate your tyres slightly as this will increase the surface area of the tyre and in turn increase the grip on the road.