With the eventual falling of the leaves, dark mornings, less light on the way to work and frosty short days, we welcome in Winter to the Northern Hemisphere.
Winter is a magical time of year, and one in which we are treated to so many of the natural worlds wonders. Including snow, ice, hail, fog and loads more. Whilst these weather conditions are magical, they are for many cyclists a real hazard not to be taken lightly.
Snow and ice can make riding conditions on the road very slippery, especially in rural areas, where black ice can form on the sides of roads where car tyres do not reach, but potentially a cyclist would.
Fog is also a real issue to deal with in winter for bike riders. Fog in the U.K. Sometimes limits visibility to just 10-20 meters ahead, thus meaning as a cyclist, cars will only have a matter of seconds from the time they see you, to the time they pass you. Fog is particularly bad in the mornings. A strong rear light is a must have in foggy conditions.
With so many hazards in winter for cyclists in London to look out for, Bike Shop London have put together a list of essential cycle gear for winter, plus some tips:
- Road positioning – making sure not to be too close to the curb will help you be seen and avoid black ice.
- Wear a high vis jacket – as a cyclist you should already be wearing a high vis for extra safety, but in winter this is a vital piece of kit.
- Lights, front and back – if you don’t have lights on your bike you should not be on the road after dusk, simple! But in winter you should consider upgrading your lights to more powerful fog lights for bikes, which will help you be seen even in the least of visibility.
- Helmet – if you haven’t got a helmet and cycling on the road, then quite frankly you are mad! Get one now it could save your life. Plus they can be pretty fashionable these days.
- Winter tyres – chances are you won’t really need winter tyres if you only drive well gritted roads in winter, but if you are in more rural areas, changing your tyres to a winter tread bike tyre can make all the difference.
- Rucksack / Backpack – having a little stash of items in your backpack is a great idea and something every cyclist should carry. You should have some water, food and other essentials.
- Warm clothes – this should go without saying, just incase you get a puncture or you end up outside for a prolonged period. Sometimes wearing many layers is not great for cycling however keeping an extra jumper in your rucksack can be a real life saver in times of crisis.
- Puncture repair kit – if you get a puncture in winter you really want to fix it and get out of the cold ASAP. So having a puncture repair kit handy is a good idea
- Torch – have you ever had to put your chain back on or repair a puncture in the dark?? We have and it’s not much fun, you should always carry a little torch to help.
- Cycle carefully – above all you need to take care on the road. Drivers in winter have reduced visibility and therefore are less likely to spot you. Be aware of Icey conditions and cycle sensibly and stay safe.
I hope this list helps you keen cyclists out there. Winter is a magical time, and with a little thought and preparation everyone can get to open their presents from Santa safely on Christmas Day.
For more cycling tips and advice keep checking back on Bike Shop London. For all your biking needs Shop online in minutes using bike shop Londons ecommerce site.