For big cyclists, winter can be a bummer to try and navigate through! The dark, cold, and slippery can make biking less fun. Here are a few tips from the experts at bikeradar.com to help make this winter as fun and safe as summer when dealing with icy conditions, wet roads, and harsh winds:

Dealing with ICE:

Beautiful, cloudless days go hand in hand with sub-zero nights. This can give any rider a false sense of security, while lingering frost or black ice can be forming. Especially in the early morning, ice can easily catch you unaware and make your wheels lose grip.

Be especially cautious in areas where a shadow has been cast for any amount of time; shady sections will take the longest to thaw.

Black ice comes about when a partial thaw happens, and right after another big freeze occurs. So the meltwater or rain water freezes before it can drain, leaving a thin, transparent layer of ice. Be aware if these are the conditions in which you are riding. Pick your road carefully and try to stay on those that have been treated. Keep your eyes on the road to be prepared for hazards, so you can go around if possible.

If you hit ice don’t do anything sudden! If your bar turns too fast or too far, or you lean the bike too much, it’s a lot more dangerous than if you just hope for a soft landing.

Dealing with WET:

When the roads are wet, it takes longer to stop when braking. Between the brake blocks and the braking surface can have a build-up of water, which reduces friction. Be careful when braking, and take into account the slower response time.

Paint and markings on the road, as well as drain and manhole covers can get very slippery when wet. Be extra cautious when riding over them, avoid them when you can. If you can’t, adjust your speed and direction to take them into account. A sharp turn over a slippery surface like iron or a painted line will most likely lead to a fall.

Apply brakes 50% in the front and 50% in the back when the roads are wet. Also if you ride closer to the middle of the road, you may avoid tire punctures by stones washed off the verges.

Dealing with WIND:

Wind can make it seem like you are biking up a relentless hill. The best way to avoid these resilient conditions is to ride in a group. Riding behind another rider saves a considerable amount of energy. But if you’re on your own, you can avoid the wind by riding into hedged lanes, and on the way back, you can be blown home! (Riding with the wind behind you is a lot more fun.)

If there are really no other ways to escape the push of the wind,¬†British Cycling club coach Dan Bennett offers some tips to make the trip less painful: “Reduce your frontal area by rounding your shoulders and bending down closer to the bar, as this will help reduce wind resistance. If it’s a blustery, gusting wind, choose an easier gear.. and hold onto the bar a little more tightly, so you’re ready to control the bike more at short notice.”

Enjoy the pleasures of biking even in crummy weather! From all of us at Christensen & Hymas, keep yourself safe on the roads out there!