Tips to Riding in the Winter

Most people think that riding in wet weather or at night must be unpleasant or dangerous. But it doesn’t have to be either, as long as you have the right equipment and know-how. You can ride safely whenever and wherever you like!

When the roads are wet, it makes braking harder and the distance it takes to stop will increase. Road surfaces are more slippery in the wet and if you brake too suddenly you will skid, perhaps dangerously. Encounters with leaves, manhole covers, railroad tracks or gravel are a challenge unlike that in the dry. You should plan your braking and be cautious in turns. Be sure to maintain a smooth line and avoid braking in a turn.

Cornering depends on your tires gripping the road and this grip is less than on slippery roads. Take corners slowly and stay upright and try not to lean into the corner. Driveway lips when icy or wet can also cause problems. Enter them perpendicular to avoid slipping your front or wear tires. The same technique goes for railroad crossings (even more so than in the dry).

It is more difficult to see through heavy rain. Wet road surfaces absorb more light and at night this reduces visibility even more. Be aware of these effects and keep an extra lookout. Since bicyclists are not as visible to cars during winter months you need to ride defensively! Turn on your lights and do everything you can to increase your visibility, such as wearing bright rain jackets and reflectors.

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