"Winter is coming" whether we like it or not and this change in weather means you may be packing your bike away to hibernate till next spring, but for many of you, it's time to get your bike ready for the harsher weather. Here are some tips to help you enjoy your winter ride more, or if you're considering riding longer into the season, these tips can help you be prepared. Protecting you and your bike from the elements is a lot of what winter riding is about.
Let's start with YOU... if you're not comfortable, your not going to want to keep going so here goes.
- Wool or Synthetic layers! Cotton (holds moisture) = Cold. Wear clothing that allows you to shed perspiration and that helps keep you dry, make sure you top it off with a wind proof layer.
- Eye wear - Anything that will keep the wind from your eyes will keep them from watering. Glasses or Sunglasses work for short trips but ski/snowboard goggles are awesome for longer rides.
- Gloves -Need to be wind proof. Your hands are out front taking on the elements, this is not the area to compromise, you don't want your hands feeling stiff when you need to brake quickly.
- Extra socks - Always bring an extra pair in your (inside) pocket if your ride is more than 5 min. A fresh pair of Warm socks feel like a treat at your final destination.
We have some Winter Riding gear to check out online and instore.
Your Bike keeps you moving, the wet and salt and freeze and thaw can be really hard on it so let's protect it.
- Fenders! Keep the slush off your back and out of your face with the right set of fenders.
- Grippy Tires - Consider a grippier tire (especially out front) even studded tires to keep your bike responsive and keep you moving forward and in control. Also big temperature changes can affect your tire pressure, make sure you check it regularly - pop into the shop and we can top you up as well - gratus.
- Lubrication- keep a barrier between your beloved ride and the slush, salt, wet and dirt. Try Muc Off C3... and when you do your bike, drop a drip into your lock as well!
- Keep it clean! Take a damp cloth and wipe off all the salt and dirt residue at least once a week if you can (keep the damp away from the bearings though)
- Leave it out - The freeze thaw combo can cause condensation and get water infiltrating the parts of you bike you want dry.... so try and keep your bike at a constant temperature.
We can help you with your winter riding maintenance with our Winter Commuter Package.
Safety first they say... but we've saved the best for last. Keeping in mind that you may need to change your riding style route and add some extra gear so you share the road safely.
- Lights! Be seen = be safe! If traffic can see you, they can avoid you... and with the sun setting so much earlier, most of us have to ride home in the dark. Technology in Led and batteries have improved so much recently, we have a great selection of lights online and even more in store.
- Change your route - you may find that riding a route that has less traffic is easier when winter riding. Often the shoulders are smaller and you don't want to fight with cars for space on the road, they will win. If you don't have an alternative route, make sure you don't block traffic, you don't want to incite drivers to attempt risky passing maneuvers - eep.
- Give yourself more space & time - it's often wet and slippy, give yourself more space to turn, to slow down and to get there in general. You don't want to have to take chances to get there on time.
- Stay alert - keep your eyes open, your ears open and try to be aware of your surroundings. In the colder months cars don't expect to see bikes as much so we must be extra vigilant.
- Abort - if it's minus a million plus the wind chill, don't be a hero, know your limits and don't be afraid to take a day off.... there's always tomorrow.
With all this in mind we know that winter riding isn't for everyone, however, it can be really fun and super satisfying to keep rolling and conquer the roads, the weather, and be active. Many of us at Joe Mamma ride all year, so don't hesitate to pop in, ask questions and bring in your bike to prep for the season ahead, have a look at any gear it's time to upgrade or swap out.
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