Greetings Winter Riders!

After seeing about 4 or 5 bikes out and about today it came to mind that many riders are braving the cold and looking for the first “warmish” day to go for a ride. Three of these riders are the students which I instructed in 2015. They ranged in ages from 24 to 66.

So with that I wanted to share some the things I advised them to watch out for and places to shy away during winter riding. Here are a few tips:

  • Until the temps in the shade exceed 40+ degrees stay away from roads that are shaded by many trees and rock embankments. Shaded areas often times never see the sun during winter months and may stay frozen.
  • Once snow starts to melt, watch out for water across the roads, it can be slippery also.
  • Watch out for frost on the road which can lead to black ice that has not defrosted in the shade.
  • Look for patches of fall leaves and pine needles that are in the shade and covered with frost they are very slippery even dry.
  • In California just about every bridge, curve and slope will have cinders on them…think of them as marbles.
  • Be aware that de-icer’s used on roads can also be slippery. Different states use different methods for ice roads some though helpful to vehicles are more dangerous to bikes than others.
  • Look for potholes that were not there last fall. Snowplows make new holes. Very wet conditions can weaken roads as well.
  • Depending on the area you ride, look for parts from chains that have fallen off of the cars or trucks, they are potential hazards.
  • Bundling up for a ride adds warmth and bulk. Become aware of how your hands responds to the controls through thick gloves, how your arms feels in a layered jacket etc. Know that your reaction time may be impaired by thick winter gear.
  • Stop riding BEFORE you are cold and warm up. Keeping your body core warm is the ticket to pumping warm blood to your extremities.
  • Do NOT let your fingers get numb! Numbness will result in slow reaction time.
  • I’m an advocate of heated gear!  On a budget? Hand warmers which can be placed inside pockets, gloves and sleeves work well. They’re cheap and will make winter riding easier.
  • Pack a thermos full of something hot to drink so that you can stop and get your insides warm.
  • Most importantly PEOPLE ARE TOTALLY UNAWARE OF RIDERS OUT RIDING IN THE WINTER! Treat them as if you KNOW they haven’t seen you.

 

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