As winter inches closer to spring, many New Yorkers are itching to hop back on their bikes. The weather is finally starting to turn. This may inspire some to drag the bike out of storage and brave the last of winter weather.
However, when riding in the winter, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few tips that can keep you on your bike and out of the hospital.
Outfit your bike
Roads in the winter can be full of slush, salt and ice. It’s imperative to have the correct approach when biking. Don’t subject a brand-new bike or full-suspension ride to the cold, as salt and sand may clog suspension systems.
Likewise, many road tires are too skinny to get through the mushy New York streets in the winter. Instead, invest in some fat tires or carbon-studded ones to push through debris. Don’t make things harder on yourself by using the wrong bike.
Use the right clothes
Winter biking can mean temperature swings. When you’re riding hard, it’s easy to work up a sweat. When it’s slower going, not so much. Layering your clothes means flexibility. By creating layers, it gives you the options you need to stay warm without overheating.
Begin with a core layer made from polyester. Cotton will soak up sweat, while polyester disburses it. Add and remove layers after that as needed. Don’t forget to protect your ears and eyes especially. Wind damage and snow-blindness can set in quickly while on a bike.
Many motorists don’t think to look for bikers in the winter. This means you must do everything you can to make your presence known. Stay on the correct side of the road, which means riding with traffic. Wear reflective clothing as your outer layer. If you don’t own reflective clothing, put reflective safety tape on the sides and back of your outermost jacket.
Keep bike lights on both the front and back. Ensure they have fresh batteries, as they will drain more quickly in the cold weather. Assume drivers can’t see you and ride defensively.
Staying safe on winter roads
By having the right equipment and the right approach, biking in the winter can be a blast. New York in the winter can be beautiful, and biking through it lets you experience it firsthand at your own pace.
Unfortunately, you cannot account for motorists on the road. If you’re in an accident with an inattentive driver while biking, a personal injury attorney can be an invaluable resource.