How do I Prepare for Winter Biking?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari
Gloves should be worn during winter biking.
Gloves should be worn during winter biking.

Preparations for winter biking begin by deciding what type of riding you will be doing. A person who will be commuting to and from work, for example, will have different preparation requirements than a person going on a long bike tour or mountain biking in the wilderness. Regardless on the type of winter biking you will be doing, you will need to take care of two primary concerns: winterizing the bike, and winterizing yourself. Staying warm and dry is the most important consideration, and ensuring your bike will not incur too much damage from the moisture will help make winter biking a pleasant experience rather than a hassle.

Moisture can work into the bearings of the bicycle, and it can coat chains, gears, and other moving parts. You will need to invest in some high quality chain lube as well as some bearing grease, and you will need to use them both regularly. Chain lube should be applied daily during winter biking, since it is likely to wash off quickly in snow and other moisture. Be sure to lube not only the chain, but also the pivot points on both the front and rear derailleurs. Don't forget to lube shift and brake cables as well to ensure they do not seize up within their housing.

You may also need to purchase some specific equipment for winter biking, such as studded snow tires. These tires are fitted with metal spikes or cleats all around the length of the tire. These spikes will help you gain traction on ice and other slippery surfaces. While such tires tend to be much heavier than normal tires, the advantages will become apparent when you find yourself on a patch of ice you did not see. These tires will keep you upright and off the pavement.

Keeping yourself warm and dry is the most important preparation for winter biking. You may need to invest in fenders that will keep the snow and mud off your body, and you will definitely want to invest in winter clothing that is warm and waterproof. You can buy cheap plastic waterproof pants for use during short commutes, but keep in mind that such materials do not breathe well, which means sweat will not be able to escape the pants and will instead build up on your skin, potentially causing you to become cold. Invest in breathable clothing that will allow sweat to escape the fabric while still keeping moisture from snow and rain away from your body.

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    • Gloves should be worn during winter biking.
      By: adisa
      Gloves should be worn during winter biking.