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As the longer nights start drawing in, the colder weather (and soggy lycra after a rainy ride) reminds us it’s time to prep for winter. On the best of days cycling in a busy city or on a rural road is difficult, which is why we have pulled together our top tips to keep you safe this winter.
TIP NO.1 - Make sure you are seen AND heard
Making sure other vehicles and pedestrians know you're there is one of the most important considerations when cycling the whole year through. The issue with winter is that this becomes much harder due to rain, lack of light and the wind practically numbing the senses. To resolve this issue it's crucial to ensure you are fitted with appropriate bike lights and reflectors as well as a loud bike horn. Take a look at our horns and lights for your commute to work here!
TIP NO.2 - Fix your bike so you don’t have to hike!
Bike maintenance is, quite literally, the make or break of winter cycling. Checking for any issues or weak points before you head off means you can avoid any nasty surprises further down the road. Key areas to check are your chains and brakes. Checking for wear on your brakes means you know you can stop quickly and safely when necessary. Keeping chains oiled regularly means your gears will change smoothly and you can remain in control at all times.
TIP NO.3 - Get Low
Some cycling specialists suggest lowering your saddle in the winter months. By lowering your centre of gravity, your bike should become less wobbly; this means the risk of skidding or falling over is reduced. We suggest you lower your saddle so that your feet can sit flat and comfortably on the ground, for more stability in harsh weather conditions.
TIP NO.4 - There’s no such thing as the wrong weather just the wrong clothing!
We all know that familiar icy chill in the air when winter sets in, this intensifies when riding at speed on a bike. It’s important to make sure your clothing covers you properly. In particularly your chest and back should be kept warm to prevent illness, this can be done by wearing a winter cycling top. You should also invest in some good cycling gloves to ensure you don’t lose circulation or feeling in your fingers when out riding. Last, but not least, a bike helmet is one of the most important pieces of cycle gear you can own, especially for children who are prone to more accidents in winter. For children’s bike helmets which are fun, as well as safe, visit the kids section of our website to check out our helmets and other children’s bike accessories!
TIP No.5 - Ride with caution
Making sure you ride safely will protect both yourself and others on the road and there are specific steps you can take during winter to achieve this. Firstly, ensure you stretch before you jump on your bike (or start the ride at a slower pace). This allows your muscles time to warm up and avoids them seizing up during your journey. You should also set out with plenty of extra time, this means you are able to cycle slower in difficult conditions and avoid accidents. As well as this, always bear in mind that breaking times are lengthened by wet weather conditions. You can brake slowly to avoid skidding. If you encounter any ice while cycling, stop pedalling and avoid breaking, this will also reduce the risk of slipping or skidding.