Helpful advice for riding your bike in the winter

Cyclist in the city

Cycling has increased in popularity for many years now, certainly when you look at the number of bicycles purchased over recent years. 

Although many of us may not have used our bikes with the frequency we had first imagined we would, especially at certain times of the year like winter, it is important to make sure you are prepared for all types of weather when you do venture out on the road.

Did you know about Winter Bike to Work Day?

The recent “Winter Bike to Work Day” that took place earlier this month seemed to be missed by most cyclists in Scotland.

The Digby Brown Cycle team would like to help get the Winter Bike to Work Day better known.

Knowing about the day, of course, does not make cycling in driving rain or snow any less unpleasant (or ‘invigorating’ as some may describe it).

So when you are cycling in the winter, whether it is commuting to work or a leisurely cycle at the weekend, what should you be aware of as a cyclist?

Bad weather and shorter days in winter conspire to impair visibility of cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.

Winter poses a greater risk for the perennial pedal powered commuter. The roads are in a worse condition generally, as the winter weather encourages pot holes and other road surface blemishes and irregularities. Plus there’s rain fall with high winds; leaves and debris on the roads. Frost, snow and ice also reduce friction with tyres.

Tips for riding your bike in the winter

For cyclists, good quality lights are a must

If you were to choose one remedy then it has to be visibility. Two lights can be deployed at the front of a bike (one that flashes and one that casts a beam) and a powerful rear light. 

Since 1985 all bikes produced in Europe should have reflectors on the rear and front as well as on the pedals. Check they are still there, intact and uncovered.

Check your bike tyres

Whilst most enjoy a slim layer of rubber in the summer, when embracing winter, one is better with heavier, grippier, puncture-resistant wider tyres.

Wear the right cycling clothes

Gloves and a warm hat, under a helmet, help. Often some cyclists wear skiing/snowboarding helmets in cold conditions. Clothing should be waterproof and have reflective adornments.

Maintain your bike

Good bike maintenance is even more essential in winter as the road debris and wet weather can degrade cassettes and chain sets. 

For more cycle safety advice, please see Thinking about cycling on the road? Make sure you know the rules.