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Biking in the winter should not be an extreme sport

Life does not grind to a halt when winter arrives; people have the same travel need no matter what time of year. Besides burning off extra calories we all tend to pack on during the colder months, biking in the winter can be an exhilarating ride. As enjoyable as riding in the winter is, there are plenty of things you need to do as a rider to keep yourself safe.

Get the right gear

Weather does not need to dominate your life when the temperatures drop below freezing. Dressing appropriately and using the proper equipment will help keep you safe on the road. While the city should regularly plow the streets, this does not always happen before your commute. Having a base layer is essential when riding your bike in the winter. Adding multiple layers that you can take on and off help your body to adjust throughout the duration of the ride, top it off with a good jacket and you are ready to go.

Know your options

Having a “fat bike,” or a bike with wide tires spanning between 4 to 5 inches, is lovely, but it is not a necessity for snowy rides. Icy conditions can call for studded tires if you tend to lose traction while on the road. You can achieve better stability by lowering your tire pressure; about 15 psi is the limit. To keep your bike in good working order, make sure to wash it after every ride. To help limit the amount of corrosion and damage your bike try to at least wipe it down after each ride. Investing in fenders can help keep the slush off your bike, but most importantly it protects you from salt and grime.

Smart preparation for a safe trip

Bicycling in the winter is undoubtedly more dangerous than hopping on your favorite two-wheel form of transportation on a warm summer day. Starting out with the proper dress and tools are essential when preparing for a winter ride. One last bit of advice, carry an extra set of wool socks and a pair of gloves in a sealed plastic bag inside of your backpack or case. Planning ahead can be a lifesaver if you accidentally ride through or stop in a puddle. Your hands and feet will thank you.

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