For me personally, as a cyclist, the first trips in stuffy and crowded public transport were always the most unpleasant sensations for me, the first standing in traffic jams, past which I rushed so dashingly in the summer. And the absence of such a familiar daily physical activity greatly dampens both mood and well-being.
But, as it turned out, it is not at all necessary to end the season with the first cold weather. And even with the first snow. Although in some countries cycling in winter is not very common, there is nothing difficult about it, trips within 10-15 km to work and back are still more comfortable and faster by bike than by public transport.
What is the secret of winter skiing
The most frequently asked question to a cyclist in winter: "Isn't it cold?"
And the answer to this question, oddly enough, is negative. It's much colder to walk, and while pedaling, we get pretty good warmth due to the physical work of the muscles. The only exceptions are the hands, feet and face, they must be additionally insulated. You can read more about choosing clothes for riding in cold weather in the corresponding article on our blog.
Of course, clothes are not everything. Comfort and safety of riding is achieved with the help of a set of equipment.
Let's start with the main thing - you won't believe it, a bicycle! For driving in winter, almost any that you already have is suitable, with the exception of, perhaps, track or sports road. Urban, cruiser, mountain, gravel, fat bike, fixed - all of them can be used in winter, replacing just a couple of components.
However, it is no secret to anyone that the more aggressive environment and reagents that are abundantly sprinkled on our roads severely spoil the transmission, paintwork, and wear out other bicycle components faster. Therefore, for those who feel sorry for their main bike, an excellent solution would be to buy a separate "winter" steel horse. It sounds expensive, but in reality, it is not entirely true.
Since driving fast and physically more difficult in winter and less safe, there is no need to buy a super bike. The ideal choice would be the simplest city bike or mountain hybrid without a front derailleur, rim or mechanical disc brakes, a comfortable fit and no shock absorber forks.
As simple as possible, the transmission will also be a plus: at the end of winter, as a rule, you have to change the chain, stars and, possibly, derailleurs, and with an entry-level transmission it will cost much less.
Winter cycling upgrades
So, we have decided on which bike we will ride - it's time to pump it up a bit.
1. The main upgrade required is the tires. Moreover, the choice of rubber depends on the infrastructure of the city in which you live.
For example, many cyclists calmly get by with ordinary mountain bike tires with deep tread, designed for wet weather, since the roadway is always quickly filled with reagents and there is practically no ice on the roads.
Where temperature drops in winter are practically absent and the whole winter is stable below zero, there may be no ice simply due to the lack of melt water.
The sidewalks of many provincial cities in winter are covered with trampled snow, on which it is quite comfortable to ride on ordinary rubber. If your city has problems with icy conditions, studded tires will be strictly necessary.
2. The second useful improvement will be good wide fenders, as the amount of mud and water on the roads in winter is much higher.
3. Finally, it is important to take care of safety by providing visibility on the road with the help of good lights, reflectors, fluorescent stickers, etc. Daylight hours in winter are much shorter: working from 9 to 18 hours, you can go to work, home in the dark or twilight, and drivers are not yet so accustomed to two-wheeled vehicles on the roads at this time of year.
4. The last point will be a little advice on how and where to ride. If your itinerary is regular, such as trips to school and work, you can start thinking about it in the summer. If possible, avoid busy roads without cycle lanes or public transport lanes. This can increase the distance traveled, but the ride will be much quieter and safer.
After all, cycling in winter is just a matter of habit. Remember how unusual it was to learn to ride a bike, or how the first regular commute to work was a novelty? It's the same with winter trips - it can be uncomfortable at first, but after spending one full year on a bike, you probably won't want to give it up!