Loads of people leave their bikes at home when winter rears its head. But did you know that cycling in winter has numerous advantages? Not only does it reduce emissions, but it also has many positive effects on your health.
For example, your body has to work harder in winter to stay warm, so you burn double the amount of calories during a winter ride. In addition, cold weather also teaches your body how to use oxygen more efficiently – which in turn has a positive effect on your brain, mood and overall focus.
And to make those winter wonderland bike rides even more safe and comfortable, we’ve written down some tips and tricks to take into account. Here we go!
1. Keep warm: invest in the right clothing
When your head is cold, the rest of your body will swiftly get there as well. And since your head and neck are known to lose the most heat, it’s a good idea to invest in a warm hat and matching scarf.
In addition, make sure you own warm and breathable cycling clothing: for days when it freezes as well as for days when it rains. A quality raincoat and -pants are no unnecessary luxuries, just like gloves, overshoes and (if you get cold easily) thermal underwear. In addition, always work with layers, so that you can take something off after cycling for a while. And, oh yes: make sure you’re not too warm before you get on your bike. It’s perfectly okay to be a little too chilly during the first few minutes: after that, your body will start working – and warm up quickly.
2. Make sure your bike is in peak condition
Are the last warm days of autumn over – and is the weather forecast predicting a significant drop in temperature? Then it may be a good idea to take your bike to the dealer for a thorough check-up. Be sure to have your brakes, gears, lights and chain checked, so that you don’t encounter any surprises along the way. And naturally, you can use your nifty o2o service budget to do so…
Bike all set and ready to cycle through winter? Wonderful! But don’t forget to give your bike some love after every ride. Salt, for example, causes your chain to rust faster – something you definitely want to avoid. Get the right products in stock and spend a few minutes cleaning your bike from time to time. Not so keen on that daily cleaning chore? Makes sense. Then make sure to install the necessary mudguards: these will catch the worst of the dirt – including that which would normally end up on your pants. Win-win!
3. Shine bright like a diamond
In winter, few things are as important as standing out. Put yourself and your bike in the spotlight in every way possible, so other road users can’t overlook you. Think of reflective bike clothing of all sorts, but also use reflective bike bags or covers to pull over your backpack. Furthermore, it’s also a good idea to layer your bike with reflectors – and to install an additional detachable flashing light.
These measures not only ensure that people see you coming from a distance, but also gives them an idea of how fast you are going. This way, you can properly anticipate one another – and allow each other the necessary clearance on the road.
4. Lower your saddle and choose the right gear
It may not be the most comfortable way to ride, but it does count in terms of added safety: in winter, opt to set your saddle a little lower than usual. This ensures more stability and therefore more control on the road. In addition, with a lower saddle you are closer to the ground, so you can put your foot down faster if you are in danger of skidding.
Also, take some time to figure out which gear gives you the most control on the road. Usually an intermediate gear is the smarter choice, so stay away from the highest or lowest setting. Be sure to moderate your speed – and brake sufficiently (be sure to use both brakes for this) when taking turns to avoid skidding.
5. Opt for low tire pressure or get winter tires
It is important to check how your tires are performing. Everyone likes to ride with well-inflated tires, but in winter it’s smart to make an exception. Choose a slightly lower tire pressure: this ensures more grip on the road – and again, less chance of skidding.
In addition, you have the option of having winter tires installed. These are generally wider – and are designed to maintain grip on rainy days and in freezing weather. Be sure to check with your local dealer to see if they can provide this for you: and if so, you may be able to arrange this with your o2o service budget! Do you have any questions about this? Don’t hesitate to contact us: we’ll be happy to walk you through it.
6. Pedelecs in winter: think of your battery
Of course, the same advice applies to electric bicycles as to regular bikes. The only thing that you, as an e-bike aficionado, need to pay extra attention to is your battery. In general, your battery is not fond of the cold, so it loses power faster in low temperatures.
This is not a disaster, as long as you anticipate it. A few tips:
- In general, your battery loses 30% of its power in the cold. Can you normally get to and from with one battery? Then it’s a good idea to keep your (fast) charger in your pocket – and charge your bike at the office.
- Can’t park your e-bike inside? Then be sure to bring your battery inside to avoid further energy loss.
- Have you just been cycling in the cold and are you taking your battery inside? Let it warm up for half an hour before charging.
- And finally… Do you decide not to use your pedelec in winter? Then bring your battery inside – and recharge it once a month. That way your battery won’t get sluggish and will last longer. Sustainability first!
More information about cycling in winter?
Don’t hesitate to contact us – after all, we are so much more than ‘just’ a bicycle leasing company! Our core value and great passion is to install cycling culture, and make sure everyone jumps in the saddle regularly – even in winter. So it is with great love and enthusiasm that we give you the necessary tips and advice to enthusiastically pedal to work in every season. And do you have questions about anything else – or would you just like to start bike leasing? Wonderful: we can’t wait to meet you.