Colorado winters are fantastic for biking, but biking in the winter requires a different approach compared to cycling in the spring and summer. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing to bike in the winter.
Consider the forecast as much as possible in your planning. If temperatures are below freezing, prepare for icy roads with the right tires (or lower pressure in your tires).
Stay comfortable by layering a base that wicks sweat, then a medium layer (like fleece) and finishing off with windproofed outer layers. Remember – biking will warm you up, so you should feel cold before you start your ride. With layers, you’ll be able to adjust mid-ride.
Head, Hands & Feet.
Wear gloves, thick socks (such as wool), as well as a hat that fits under your helmet (or a helmet cover).
Light is Might.
Winter days are shorter and sometimes more overcast, so visibility is key. Front and rear lights are required, and reflective clothing (or tape) is helpful. Also, make eye contact wherever you encounter drivers, pedestrians, or other cyclists – even if you are lit up like a dance strobe, conditions may obscure visibility.
Fat tires increase your control on wet, snowy or even icy surfaces. Depending on your wheel size, adding thicker and knobbier tires may make winter riding easier. You can also remove some pressure from your tires to increase your traction.
Fend off Slush.
Fenders help protect your shoes and clothes on days that are above freezing. They’re inexpensive yet very effective, and an essential accessory for winter cycling.
Take your time.
If you encounter snow or ice, ride lightly on your pedal strokes, be delicate on the brakes and ride in a straight line if possible! Sudden braking or swerving can cause you to slide. Remember: you can always dismount and walk the bike if it looks too dangerous.