For many people, their bikes are the only way they have to get around. This can pose a problem to some when the cold weather starts rolling in, and it begins to snow. This can lead several people to wonder if they can ride their bikes in the snow. Well, let’s find out!
Riding your bike in the snow is possible and can be quite a fun experience. However, you must ensure you wear the proper clothes to help protect you against the cold. You will also need to prepare your bike to ride through snow easily and without slipping as much to ensure your safety.
What clothes should you wear to ride your bike in the snow? How do you prepare your bike for riding in the snow? This article will cover everything you ought to know about safely riding your bike in the snow.
Can You Ride A Bike In The Snow?
Biking is an excellent hobby for most people, and many people enjoy it, and these people can put their bikes away for the winter months until it’s warm enough for them to bike again. However, others don’t have the luxury of putting their bike away for the winter months.
Some people rely on their bikes for transport to work and other functions, and others take biking as their sport and cannot abandon their training for months to wait for the snow to let up. When the snow starts falling, these people have one question; can you bike in the snow?
Biking in the snow is possible, but you will need extra equipment for you and your bike to ensure you are safe and warm when biking in this freezing weather.
What You Should Wear For Riding In The Snow
It is possible to ride your bike in the snow safely; however, you will need some extra clothing and wearable equipment to help ensure you stay warm and safe during your ride.
All of the items below are not essential to your bike ride in the snow, but they will make your trip more pleasant and ensure you are dry when you reach your destination.
First, we will go through what you should wear when biking in the snow, and then we will review some equipment you should have for your bike. So, let’s go over what you should wear for biking in snowy conditions.
What You Should Wear On Your Head
The first area we will cover is your head. When you are riding your bike in the snow, you still need to wear your helmet for protection in case of any accidents that may happen on your trip. However, most helmets have holes in them to help keep your head cool in the summer.
These holes can be a problem for winter riding, as they can release much of your heat and cool you down when you don’t want to be cooled. To help with this, you should wear a beany under your helmet to help keep your head warm.
If it is actively snowing when you need to ride your bike, you should wear a hairnet or shower cap under your beany to help keep your head dry.
What You Should Wear On Your Body
When riding your bike in the snow, layering your clothes is key. You need to keep yourself warm in the cold weather, but you need to prevent yourself from overheating due to your physical exercise.
You should wear regular work pants made from cotton and never wear jeans to bike in the snow. Jeans will not keep you warm in the snow. You should wear a cotton T-Shirt, long sleeve, or short sleeve, that is up to you.
You need to wear a sweater and a puffy jacket as the outer layer. Ensure your jacket is water resistant to help keep you dry on your ride. Do not use waterproof material for your clothing, as this can make you overheat.
You can wear a scarf to wrap around your face should your face get cold, or you can wear a balaclava, if you have one, to keep your face warm. If it’s extremely cold, wear thermal pants under your cotton work pants or snowshoeing pants to help your legs stay warm.
What You Should Wear On Your Feet
When people ride their bikes in the snow, they often forget about their feet when bundling up to ensure they are warm. This is a big mistake and can affect your biking experience greatly if you don’t wear the right protective gear on your feet.
You need to wear thick socks, and you can layer your socks if you need to. This will ensure your feet are warm and help reduce the risk of frostbite on your toes. You need to wear thick shoes as well. Unfortunately, sneakers will not do the job when biking in the snow.
You will need to get some water-resistant hiking boots that will help keep your feet warm and dry throughout your bike ride.
What You Should Wear On Your Hands
When riding your bike in the snow, you must also remember to protect your hands from the cold. Your hands need to be kept warm as they control your bike’s direction and breaks, so you could be in significant trouble if they go numb from the cold.
You need to wear two pairs of gloves or one pair that is specifically designed for riding in the snow. The two pairs will consist of one pair for warmth, made from thick cotton, and the other to keep your hands dry, usually made from a water-resistant material.
The one pair of gloves specifically made for this weather will have lovely thick and soft material on the inside with a water-resistant outer layer.
Gear For Your Bike When Riding In The Snow
When you have all the clothing required to keep you warm while biking in the snow, you can now look at the equipment you might need to add to your bike or any adjustments you might need to do to your bike to ensure your bake can make it through the snow.
If you can, you should get some studded ice tires for your bike, as these will help your bike get through the snow easier and will keep the tires from slipping. If you cannot buy these tires, you need to release a small amount of air from your normal tires to help the bike get traction and reduce slipping.
If you can, you should also install some disc brakes on your bike if it doesn’t have them already. These brakes will stop your bike well in any weather. If you cannot get these brakes, ensure you give yourself a longer stopping distance, as other brakes may struggle in cold, snowy weather.
Staying Safe While Riding In The Snow
When riding your bike in the snow, you will need to take more safety precautions to help avoid any accidents along your ride. Some safety precautions you should take while riding your bike in the snow include:
- If riding on roads, wear a high-visibility vest over your jacket and place high-visibility strips on your bike to ensure passing cars can see you in the snow.
- If the roads are particularly icy or snow-packed, try to choose a route to your destination with a low traffic volume.
- Try your best to always ride with a buddy, so if anything goes wrong, you have someone with you that can help.
- Avoid routes with long downhill sections that can increase your chances of slipping and the airflow around you, which will cool you down.
- Always carry a cell phone in your backpack in case of emergency.
- Carry disposable chemical toe or hand warmers in your backpack when riding in the snow. If your hands or toes get cold, you can stop and warm them up, or you can warm them up if you need to do any repairs on your bike en route.
- Always ensure there is someone who can pick you up if needed, either a friend or a family member. So, if you need help, you know you will get it.
Tips For When You Ride Your Bike In The Snow
Now that we have gone over the most important things you need to know about riding your bike in the snow, we can give you a few tips to help ensure you arrive at your destination safely, happily, and on time. Below are a few helpful tips you can read through.
Take It Slow
You need to take it slow when riding your bike in the snow. Take your time riding to your destination. When riding your bike in the snow, the worst thing you can do is rush, raising your chances of having an accident.
You should leave earlier to ensure you can reach your destination on time, without needing to rush and take unnecessary chances.
Keep Your Bike Clean
When you ride your bike in the snow, you must clean it after every use. The snow, grit, and ice from your journey can build up on the bike, which can cause some problems if left on. You should use a medium to soft brush and a cloth to clean your bike off at the end of each day.
Keep Your Hydrating Liquids Insulated
While riding your bike in the winter when it’s snowing, you still need to keep yourself hydrated. You should try to bring some hot liquid with you on your journey to help keep the chill off you.
You can bring a hot broth, some coffee, hot chocolate, or anything else you decide will keep you hydrated and warm.
You should keep this hot drink in an insulated flask or thermos to keep it warm for your bike ride. If you are taking a water bottle for water, keep it in your backpack, close to your back, to keep it from freezing.
Riding your bike in the snow is possible and can be quite fun. However, you must ensure you are protected from the cold and that your bike is ready to ride in the snow. You must ensure you wear appropriate clothing and don’t forget to protect your extremities.
Ensure your bike’s tires are slightly flat to help with handling and traction or replace your tires with studded ice tires. Always bring a drink with you to keep you hydrated, no matter how short of a distance you are riding. Good luck and have fun riding your bike in the snow!