Winter is here and it has hit the Midwest full force. And because of this, many bikers are seeking other forms of transportation. But, the hardcore cyclist can be seen riding across campus, braving the elements, many of whom don’t have the proper gear to ensure a safe and warm ride in these frigid temperatures. So here are a few tips to ensure a safe and warm ride during the winter months.
Tip #1: Check the weather before you leave the house. Obviously, it’s cold; but Illinois has been experiencing some extremely low temperatures, some of which no biker should try to withstand.
Tip #2: The most important thing every winter biker should have is the proper clothing. Invest in windproof, thermal, and waterproof gear. It is natural to want to throw on fleece jackets but think about the long term effects. The fleece will initially keep you warm but after a while, you will start to sweat which will leave you cold and clammy. Windproof and thermal gloves and overshoes are also important. If you dare to ride in near-zero weather, frostbite will be ready to attack your toes and fingers. Thermal socks might also be something you would want to invest in as well.
Tips #3: Check your bike tires for any punctures before riding. As the weather gets worse your bike tires are more prone to punctures from snow, ice, and salt. If you aren’t sure how to do that, take your bike over to the campus bike center and get it checked out! It’s important you get your bike inspected at least twice a month during the winter.
Tip #4: Make sure your bike has lights and reflectors on it. Most people associate lights with summer nights. However, the use of lights and reflectors are even more important in the winter. Due to overcast, precipitation, and shorter days it is important to make your presence known to cars and other bikers.
These are just a few tips that winter bikers should take into account before every bike ride. Again, with the severe weather we have been experiencing, think cautiously and rationally before subjecting yourself to the cold. It might be a good idea to turn to other means of transportation for the time being. Happy Biking!
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