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Brr! It may finally be March, but it’s definitely still chilly out there. If you’re like us, going too long without getting on your bicycle can make you go crazy, but you don’t want to risk your health by going out into the cold unprepared. We already gave you 10 tips for biking safely in winter weather, but if you complement that with some of these amazing accessories, you’ll be happily biking no matter what the temperature or weather is outside. So read up, strap on this gear, and get out there!

Balaclava

BKNo, you’re not robbing a bank; what you’re doing is keeping your whole body toasty by wrapping your head in a balaclava. Unlike hoodies or hats that may restrict your peripheral vision, a Balaclava will keep you safe AND warm at the same time. They’re available in many materials, with the cheap ones usually knit, and the most expensive ones made of neoprene.  

Bike Gloves

bikegloveNow that we’ve covered your head, what about your hands? While many riders already have a set of biking gloves, those usually leave the ends of your fingers exposed to the bitter cold. Consider getting a thermal bike glove; unlike your average glove or mitten, it’s extra grippy, ensuring you can still change gears and brake with ease, all while keeping your extremities warm and comfy.

Thermal Shirt

81bIrPIIjEL._SL1500_So we’ve got your heads and hands warmed up, but what about your core? Those setting out into a serious freeze may want to purchase a thermal shirt. Obviously this purchase will be just as great for any other activity you do in the cold, but you’ll find it especially helpful as you’re speeding along on your bike, no longer licked by cold winds as your shirt’s insulation keeps you extra toasty.

Studded Tires

EXOREANow that we’ve covered your body, let’s talk about your ride. After all, if you’re all warm and bundled up but still struggling to get traction, we haven’t done you a lick of good. That’s why serious winter cyclists should consider studded bicycle tires. They’re surprisingly affordable, and will let you gain traction in even the most inclement of weather. While others stay home when it snows, you’ll be out having fun!

Spare Parts

Obviously getting a flat sucks no matter what the weather is like. But if it’s cold out there, getting stuck without a replacement tube can take on serious health consequences. That’s why we highly recommend riding with a spare part kit. This will ensure you can make any tune-ups or swap-outs as quickly as possible, so you can get back on the road without wasting too much heat and energy.

Bike GPS

cf-lgThis next recommendation is for those that are planning SERIOUS rides out in the wild. Given that it may be too cold to consult your phone, and there’s a risk you could get lost, consider investing in a bike GPS. Not only will it show you your next turn, some models come with important features like weather warnings, and the ability to summon help if something goes wrong.

Shoe Cover

616B1db08iL._SL1200_For cyclists that use “clip ins” to stay attached to their bike, this next product can make all the difference on a wet day. Shoe covers slip over your bicycle shoe, but still let you clip into your pedals, and keep your feet dry no matter what the weather is like. Beyond that, they improve your aerodynamic profile, meaning you’re going to be both warm AND fast.

Extra Powerful Lamp

856-0550_urban800fc_1_1While every bicyclist already has a light on the front and back of their bike, sometimes the illumination those basic models puts out just doesn’t quite cut it. Consider investing in a higher-end bike lamp, which will throw off some serious lumens. A high end lamp will make it so you can see further, so vehicles can see you from greater distances, and as a bonus are going to be waterproof for extra durability. So instead of squinting to see the road, think about picking up one of these bad boys. Are you ready to ride in any weather? Let us know your favorite year-round riding spots, as well as any of your preferred accessories to keep on biking during winter.
Now that El Nino has descended on the West Coast, and the Midwest and Northeast are enveloped in a blanket of snow, it’s clear that winter is finally here. But just because it’s gotten a bit chillier out there doesn’t mean you have to give up on riding your beloved bicycle. With a few smart tips and tricks, you can keep hitting the roads and trails under almost any conditions. Let’s see how!

Dress Warm

Make sure to keep your head warm
Make sure to keep your head warm
First things first, if you’re heading out into the cold, you’ve got to dress appropriately! Yes, you might build up a little body warmth from the exercise, so make sure some of your layers can zipper open, but don’t assume that you’ll be able to out-ride the arctic chill that’s surrounding you. If you’re wearing gloves, make sure you’re still able to adequately pull on the brake lever to stop yourself, especially if they’ve frozen over a bit. Even more importantly - never wear a hoodie! It’ll be tempting to do that if your head gets cold, but please stick to a beanie or knit hat; a hoodie will not only trap wind and slow you down, but can seriously impair your peripheral vision. As always, safety comes first.

Check Your Pressure

This one comes down to basic physics - less air in your tires means they’ll squish out a little bit, giving you extra traction on the road. Yes, you won’t be riding quite as fast as you would during summer, but you’ll want to be erring on the slow side anyway, since you won’t be able to stop as quickly on icy terrain. While the exact number will depend on what feels right for you or your bike, we recommend dropping pressure by about 20 psi, but please do test for yourself before heading out.

Bring Spares

Available in the EVELO Store
Available in the EVELO Store
Blowing out your tire sucks no matter what the season, but it’s all the worse during the winter. Let’s say you get a puncture and don’t have a spare tube on you. Sure, that 2 mile walk to the nearest bike shop could be alright when the weather is mild, but that turns potentially dangerous when the temperature is below freezing. So, make sure you’ve got that spare tube, patch kit, tire lever, and a wrench if your bike doesn’t have quick release wheels.

Know Your Route

It’s always good to know your route, but sometimes part of the fun of a bike ride through nature is the zigging and zagging and exploration that gets you from point A to point B. Not so in winter! Getting lost could be a medical emergency when the temperature is below freezing and any off road conditions are potentially perilous. So, make sure you've studied the route and have some sort of map of how to get from your start to finish. And if you expect to be out for a long time, tell a friend when you expect to be done so that they can verify you’ve made it back safely.

Keep An Eye on the Road

Looks good to us
Looks good to us
If the falling snow is making it harder for you to see obstacles and traffic, just think how much trickier it is for those cars to see you. So, make sure you keep an extra attentive eye on the road, not only to watch for errant drivers, but for any potential slick surfaces or problematic potholes.

Go Slow

As a corollary to keeping an eye on the road, make sure you’re going at an appropriate speed that will leave you with enough time to react to whatever happens out there. Is a car veering out of its lane? Is there a downed tree ahead? Make sure you’ve left yourself enough time to safely avoid those obstacles. Plus, given how slippery the road may be, slower speeds ensure that should your bike wobble, you’ll have a larger margin of error to correct the deviation.

Consider Studs

A Studded Tire
A studded tire
Ever notice how car drivers in snowy cities put chains on their tires, or swap out their wheels for studded tires entirely? Well, chains aren’t exactly an option for bicycles, but studded tires are! So, if you’re going to be doing a lot of riding in somewhere with an especially snowy season, consider making the investment in studded tires. They may cost a bit of money now, but they’ll provide you a serious return on investment in the form of increased traction and better handling on wintery terrain.

Be Bright

Falling snow means it’s harder for drivers to see you. Even if it isn’t snowing, windshields may be fogged or iced over, or drivers might just be too busy dealing with slippery roads to fully notice a bicyclist. So, not only should you make sure your front and back bike lights are on (and the batteries are pumping out full power) but it’s worth wearing some fluorescent, colorful, reflective clothing as well.

Check The Forecast

Consider a more modern forecasting method
Consider a more modern forecasting method
Just because the snow has cleared up when you’re thinking about heading out for a ride, doesn’t mean that’s going to last. So, before you load up your bike, make sure to check your favorite weather app or website to see what’s expected for the next few hours along your route. If a bad snowstorm is barreling your way, consider delaying your trip (or taking public transit) until things have calmed down. You may be excited to get out there, but your safety is more important!

Protect Your Ride

Once you’ve finished your bike ride for the day, proper cold weather care hasn’t quite finished. First off, make sure you don’t store your bicycle outside, as the snow and cold could damage your components, as well as accessories like locks and lights. Additionally, make sure to wipe down your chain to remove any snow that may have gotten on it, which would cause rust if left to sit. Follow that up with a quick regreasing for optimal performance. Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be having fun on your bike no matter what the season!