Biking in Cold Weather

bikeWhether or not you’re dealing with snow yet in your neck of the woods, when it comes to biking, everything feels a little colder during the ride. Without the right gear and some preparation, your trail ride can feel miserable, leaving your face and hands a frozen, wind-burned mess. Today we’ll take a look at some cold weather biking tips to help you get a few rides in, even when the temperatures drop more than a few degrees.

Firstly, during the late autumn and early winter months, you’ll need to keep in mind that the sun rises later and sets earlier, leaving you with fewer hours in the day to not only plan your ride, but also to head out and get back home while the sun’s still up. For this reason, it’s smart to make sure your bike is equipped with lights, and that you have a spare flashlight on hand.  Shorter days also mean colder mornings and evenings, so if you prefer those times to plan your rides, then you’ll want to dress accordingly, which we’ll get to in a bit.

During this time of the year, the ground will likely be covered with a layer of fallen leaves, even the trails. Not only does this make for a potentially slippery ride, but it can also make finding and following trails difficult. The fallen leaves are also experts at concealing hazards like roots or rocks, so be extra careful at high speeds or when making sharp turns.

As any outdoorsman will attest, colder temperatures mean more layers. Use a layering system starting with a long-sleeve, moisture wicking base layer, followed by a cycling jersey. Also, a lightweight, colored cycling jacket works wonders to create warmth and wind resistance. Many also like fleece vests, too, for their warmth and free range of arm movement. I’d also advise wearing a reflective vest, in case you’re stuck out in the dark. It’s also smart to make sure that one large piece of your clothing is brightly colored, in order to help you stand out and be recognized easily by any hunters in your area. Finally, a warm hat that covers your ears, buff or face mask, and fingered warm gloves are must-haves, too.

Cold weather doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your normally warm weather activities, such as mountain biking, but I order to stay protected from the elements and any potential risks on the trail, keep the tips outlined today in mind when you head out.