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04.01.2022 - Reading time: 5 min

Cycling safely through weather and winter: seven tips

Winter is here! That means some dark days, glove weather, leaves crunching under your tyres, dragon breath and red cheeks. Are you such a brave commuter that you even brave the winter days with your bike? Then these seven tips will definitely come in handy!

Why cycle in the winter?

Not everyone is up for resolutely choosing the bike during the winter months. Nonetheless, there are a great many reasons to commute by bike then too. Have you noticed you’re often not sure whether you want to leap on the saddle during cold days? The following tips might well get you over the line!

  • The bicycle is the most sustainable mobility solution during the winter too.
  • During such an icy bike ride, you burn up to double the ‘normal’ calories.
  • Those bracing journeys teach your body to handle oxygen more efficiently, which isn’t only good for your brain, but for your mood and concentration too.

So, why cycle in the winter? Besides melting away calories, the cold also gives you a winter-proof brain and a smile that warms up even the coldest days! There you go – now you’re totally convinced to choose the bike during winter as well. Then it’s high time for some tips, so you can get on your way safely!



1. Keep yourself warm: invest in the right clothing

The winter wind can be bleak, but you can brave the cold easily with the right outfit. Layers and breathable bike clothing are indispensable there. And, oh yes: make sure you’re not too hot before you get on your bike. It’s perfectly alright for it to be just a bit too chilly in those first few minutes – after that, your body will start to work, and get to the right temperature quickly.

But what are all the things you need to brave those cold winter days? We’ll list the ingredients for the perfect winter outfit below:

  • Hat
  • Scarf
  • Rainproof trousers
  • Raincoat
  • Windproof cycling gloves
  • Overshoes
  • Thermal clothing for if it really does get too cold
  • Bike helmet 

2. Make sure your bike is in tip-top order

Heading out safely in winter means you need a perfectly maintained bicycle. So treat your bicycle to a spa day at the bike shop before you meet the cold winter days with it. You can find out how much that kind of maintenance costs in our blog: Maintenance costs for my lease bike: how much can I expect to pay? You obviously pay through your service budget – find out how that works in our blog: ‘The service budget from A to Z’.

Give your lease bike a bit of love after every journey. For example, road salt will make your chain rust more quickly – something you absolutely want to avoid. Get hold of the right products in advance, and spend a few minutes cleaning your bicycle now and then.



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3. Make sure both you and your lease bike shine

If there’s one season in which you can really stand out, it’s winter! Put yourself and your bicycle in the spotlight on the road. This includes reflective bike clothing, fluorescent covers for your backpack and shiny reflectors for your bicycle. Just one more flashing light and you’re ready to go. Without this kind of flashy bike clothing, others will only see you at a 20-metre distance. With all these attributes, they’ll spot a dot of light at 150 metres. Quite a big difference, eh?

Also, make sure your bicycle lights are working properly and are highly visible. Go for bike lights with a high lumen value if you want to be seen, and for bike lights with a high lux value if you want to be able to see where you’re riding properly yourself. Are you riding a road bike to work? For you, there are some handy removable lights that work based on little magnets in your wheel.

4. Lower your saddle and choose the right gear

It might not be the most comfortable way to cycle, but it can count for some extra safety: choose to set your saddle a bit lower in the winter. This gives you greater stability and also more control on the track. Moreover, a lower saddle puts you closer to the ground, so you can get your foot down more quickly if there’s a chance you might slip.

Also take the time to find out which gear gives you the most control on the track. A middle gear is usually the smartest choice, so avoid using the highest or lowest gears.


5. Go for low tyre pressure or winter tyres

Naturally, everyone will prefer to cycle on perfectly pumped-up tyres, but in winter, it’s wise to make an exception to this. Choose a bit lower tyre pressure: that gives you more grip as well as a lower chance of slipping.

In addition, you can choose to have winter tyres installed too. These are wider overall, giving you more grip on rainy days and in freezing weather. That job can be done in a heartbeat at your local bike dealer with your service budget!

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6. Going into winter with your electric bike or speed pedelec: think about your battery

Do you ride a speed pedelec or electric bicycle? Then there’s something else to consider: your battery. In general, batteries and the cold are not an ideal combination: your battery will lose power more quickly at low temperatures. Luckily, you can anticipate this with our tips:

  • Normally, do you only just get there and back with your battery? Then keep your charger in your pocket, just in case.
  • Is there no room indoors for your bike? Then be sure to take the battery inside to avoid energy loss.
  • Have you just been cycling in the cold and are you bringing your battery indoors? Then let it warm up for half an hour before charging it.
  • Have you decided not to use that e-bike in the coldest months anyway? Then do make sure your battery is indoors and recharge it once a month. That way, your battery won’t become idle and it will last longer. 

7. Use your common sense

Something you should always be doing when you’re riding your bicycle anyway, but just that bit more during the winter months. The shortest route is not always the safest one. And your speed record? You don’t always need to match that in the dark and the rain. It’s better to choose good cycle lanes that will ideally be lit, and avoid dark lanes and poorly maintained routes. This not only makes it more pleasant for cycling, but also a good deal safer! Also pay some extra attention to traffic and anticipate the behaviour of others.

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If you sign up for our newsletter, you’ll receive the best cycling tips right in your mailbox. You’ll also find some little-known nuggets, fun competitions and interesting articles there! What are you waiting for? And no, we won’t spam you!

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