When winter arrives everyone has their own way of dealing with it. Mine is to hibernate and spend as much time in bed as possible. When I do finally manage to get myself out of bed and hop on the bike I end up thoroughly enjoying the winter cycling.
With the change of conditions on the road you do need to change your riding style a little. Here’s some expert tips that can help you avoid those near misses.
In the winter more than ever you should be taking a dominant road position. Not only is a drivers vision less good due to reduced daylight and bad weather but also there are longer stopping distances. I.e. Danger that can be avoided.
Therefore, whenever you find yourself cycling in the gutter think to yourself: “Why shouldn’t I claim the road! I’m going to make things safer for everyone”. Get into the middle of the lane and force cars to see you.
Tip 2: Keep your eyes 14
This is a Greek saying for keep your eyes peeled. When winter cycling you need to be anticipating road users actions more than ever. Has that taxi seen you? Is that bus about to stop without indicating? As someone once humorously suggested to me: “Treat all other road users as suicidal maniacs”.
Tip 3: Be visible
Bike lights. I’m going to leave it there.
Tip 4: Check your bike
Use Bike Doctor or take it to a Bike Shop. However you choose to maintain your bike winter is a good time to be on top of it. The brakes are one of the most important things. Make sure they are responsive. If when you pull down the lever slightly your bike isn’t coming to a stop quickly then have someone take a look at it. You should also check your tyres more regularly and if possible clean the bike a little more often to prevent rust from the salt on the road.
Tip 5: The winter hazards
Leafy roads, potholes filled with water and icy patches. These are the winter cycling hazards that you need to avoid. This may mean cycling a little more slowly and leaving more space between you and the next nearest road user. Remember the stopping distances are increased due to water between the brake blocks and the bicycle rims.
- Winter cycling gear
- The 7 mistakes you are making with your cycling
- Bike lights
- Winter cycling gloves
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.