Personally for me as a cyclist, the most unpleasant sensation has always been the first rides in stuffy and crowded public transport, the first stands in traffic jams, which passed by so dashingly in summer. And the absence of such habitual daily physical activity strongly bites both the mood and the feeling.
But, as it turned out, it is not necessary to end the season with the first cold. And even with the first snowfall. Although cycling is not very common in Russia in winter, there’s nothing difficult about it, a trip within 10-15 km to work and back is still more comfortable and faster by bike than by public transport.
What is the secret of winter riding
The most frequently asked question to a cyclist in winter is, “Isn’t it cold?” And the answer to that question, oddly enough, is negative. It is much colder to walk, and during pedaling we warm up quite well due to the physical work of muscles. The only exceptions are the hands, feet and face, they need to be warmed up additionally.
Of course, clothes are not everything. Driving comfort and safety are achieved with the help of equipment complex.
Let’s start with the basic – this is, you will not believe, a bike! For riding in winter will suit almost anyone that you already have, except for the track or sports highway. City, cruiser, mountain, gravel, FatBike, Fix – all of them can be used in winter, replacing just a couple of components.
However, it is no secret that the more aggressive environment and reagents, which are abundantly sprayed on our roads, heavily spoil the transmission, paintwork, and wear out other parts of the bike faster. So for those who feel sorry for their main bike, a good solution would be to buy a separate “winter” steel horse. That sounds expensive, but it’s not really true.
Since it is faster and physically harder to ride in winter, and less safe, there is no need to buy a super bike. The ideal choice would be the simplest city bike or mountain bike without a front derailleur, with rim or mechanical disc brakes, comfortable riding, and without a damped fork.
The simplest transmission will also be a plus: at the end of winter, you usually have to change the chain, stars and possibly shifters, but with an entry-level transmission it will cost much less. The prices for such bicycles begin with 8-9 thousand rubles, if not to consider the models sold by grocery hypermarkets, and in the secondary market for the same money can be found quite suitable options.
Upgrades for the winter bike season
So, we’ve decided which bike we’re going to ride, and it’s time to pump it up a little.
1. The main upgrade needed is the tires. While the choice of rubber depends on the infrastructure of the city in which you live.
For example, many cyclists quietly go around with the usual tires for mountain bikes with deep tread, designed for wet weather, as the roadway is always quickly filled with reagents and ice on the roads almost no.
Behind the Urals, where there are practically no temperature differences in winter and the whole winter is stable below zero, there can be no ice just because there is no melt water.
The sidewalks of many provincial cities in winter are covered with trampled snow, which is quite comfortable to ride on ordinary rubber. If there are problems with ice in your city, studded tires will be strictly necessary.
2. The second useful improvement will be good wide wings, as the amount of dirt and water on the roads in winter is much higher.
3. Finally, it is important to take care of safety by ensuring road visibility with good lights, reflectors, fluorescent stickers, etc. A day of light in winter is much shorter: working from 9 to 18 hours, you can go both to work and home in the dark or dusk, and drivers are not yet so accustomed to two-wheel drive at this time of year.
4. The last point will be a little advice on how and where to go. If your route is regular, such as school and work trips, you can start thinking about it in the summer. If possible, you should avoid busy routes that do not have bicycle lanes or public transport lanes. This may increase the distance you travel, but it is much safer and safer to drive.
After all, cycling in winter is just a matter of habit. Remember how unusual it was to learn how to ride a bike, or how the first regular trips to work were in a weird way? It’s the same with trips in winter – it may be uncomfortable at first, but after one year on a full bicycle, you won’t want to give it up!