10 Safety Tips for Cycling in Snow
The sight of snow will stop you from cycling because it is cold and you can always slide and fall. Most people, including yourself, will want to store your bike during the winter season. But did you know that you can use your bike even during the snowy season?
With a few safety tips and by assessing the weather conditions, you can prepare for cycling in the snow. Of course, snow can make cycling perilous and it would be more sensible to walk, take your car or transit. However, if you are keen on taking your bicycle, cycling in the snow is possible as long as you stay safe riding to your destination.
During winter, make sure you practice these ten safety tips for cycling in snow:
1. Wear layered clothing
Always wear proper winter clothes suitable for cycling in the snow. Too many layers can make you uncomfortable and even stuffy. The right clothing and winter wear will make the ride enjoyable. You can check out the sports shop like MEC for the right bicycle tops and pants suitable for winter.
2. Check tire air
The condition of your tires is paramount for cycling in snow. Lowering tire pressure will make it easy to ride your bicycle through the snow. It gives more grip on the slippery surface. But to be better prepared, it is always good to check or even invest in good winter tires for your bicycle. Studded tires are generally used for winter riding and can help with icy routes.
3. Check weather conditions
Cycling in snow is nearly impossible if the weather conditions are terrible. Although riding your bicycle in the snow may be possible, it may not be a good idea if it is snowing heavily or if the temperature drops to minus.
Riding in light snow is doable, but if there is too much snow, you should not bicycle as it may not be safe. Check the weather conditions for the entire day before you commence your ride.
4. Consider a safe route
Cycling in snow is not as easy, so make sure you check your route. Some quiet streets may not be clear from snow or ice. Choose routes that are cleared during the day and have been treated with salt. It might mean that you will have to.change your usual route, but it is.a.safe route for you to take.
5. Check your bicycle
Every day you travel with your bicycle, make sure to check your brake, tires, saddle and gear. Snow and ice can impact your bicycle and it may not function properly. This is because snow and ice can quickly build up on a bicycle. Even if you have the best quality bike, you want to check your entire bicycle, especially your brake, to ensure it is free from ice or snow.
6. Adjust your position on the bicycle
You may want to adjust your saddle not just for comfort, but for more control. It must allow you to get your feet down more quickly in case you slide or wobble. You can even stop a fall when your feet can comfortably reach the ground.
7. Take gentle breaks between cycling
Always give yourself more time to slow down and stop, especially if you are cycling in snow. Try to keep a steady space and not accelerate too quickly. Also, give your self enough time to get to your destination without being in a hurry.
Keep in mind that other road users will need enough time to slow down as well. And be extra careful on slopes. Think of any alternative route to avoid the slopes. Avoid sudden moves or brakes as that can cause loss of traction and result in a fall.
8. Wash the bicycle
Cycling in snow will splash a lot of salty slush and ice onto your bicycle parts, causing corrosion and damage. It is best to wash your bicycle after each ride or even wipe it down so it is well maintained and ready for your next ride.
9. Mind your hands and feet
Cold hands and feet can make the ride unenjoyable. Generally, your hands and feet get cold first. Ensure to have proper winter gloves and socks so that you can ride in comfort. You may want to carry one or two heat packs in case it gets too cold for your hands and feet. Try to get thermal socks and gloves if possible to keep your hands and feet warm as you ride. You may also want to consider winter boots.
If your hands and feet are too cold, it may be time to take a break from cycling in snow. You should consider stopping at a coffee shop or store to warm up and be comfortable continuing your journey.
10. Pay attention to vehicles around
You want to pay attention to the vehicles around as they too can skid on snow and ice. Ensure there is plenty of room between the vehicles ahead or behind you to give them and yourself time to brake. You also have to ensure you are visible to other road users. Use a reflective jacket and add lights to your bicycle so that all vehicle users can see you on the road.