Start Winter Commuting Part IV: The Ride











We can’t believe that it is already Thursday afternoon!  We are just a few hours away from heading out to meet all of you fine folks at Winter Bike to Work Day tomorrow at Peace Coffee. But before we do that we wanted to bring you Start Winter Commuting Part IV- The Ride.

The good news is, this is the best part, the fun part, the reason why you have done the preparation.  Time for a quick review we showed you;

What to ride in Part I.

What to wear in Part II.

How to get there in Part III.

Now some tips on the actual ride;

1) Don’t forget lights!  Winter time is dark time, both in the morning and in the evening, if it’s snowing there is less visibility for drivers so it is even more important to have lights.

2) Ride with a lower tire pressure to increase grip.  Every tire has a minimum and maximum allowable tire pressure, this is one of those occasions when you want to be closer to the minimum.  Lower pressure, means more of the rubber on the road.

3) Follow the car tire patterns in the road, usually this means that it is melted down to the street.  This is one occasion when you want to ride offensively not timidly, take your lane! One bonus to so much snowfall is that many two lane roads have been one and a half lanes due to the snow.  Set yourself right in the middle of that half lane and don’t be intimidated into cycling in the gutter on icy parts of the road.

4) If there is fresh snow on the ground and no tire tracks to follow, ride in the powdery fresh snow instead of the smooth snow (which can often be icy).

5) While you are riding stay in the seat if possible.  Standing up to pedal takes most of the weight off of your rear wheel, which will cause you to lose traction.  Also when riders stand to pedal they often shift their bike side to side to build speed, this decreases the amount of tire on the road and increases the chances that the bike will slip out from under you.

6) Look twice before going through intersections, especially on neighborhood streets. Remember driving in a car?  Remember how hard it is to see cars coming on the other side of a big snow bank?  Same thing is true for bikes so even if you don’t have a stop sign and the cars do, look twice, make sure they see you.

7) Watch out going around corners!! The place that you are most likely to fall while winter commuting is when you are going around a corner.  As winter drags on, intersections build up big chunks of very slick ice, especially near the corners of the intersection, combine this with leaning wheels and you will drop faster than a balloon the day after a birthday party (not those good mylar balloons, they last forever).  As you approach a turn, slow down, avoid the corners and take it wide.

This corner is all ice













8) Enjoy yourself! Don’t forget, you are doing this because it is fun. 🙂

Those are our best tips, if you are an experienced winter rider and see something that we have left out, leave it down in the comments.  Those of you heading out for the first time? Take a test run tonight, see what the roads are like, get in your clothing (Part II) and ride around for a little while.  This will help you gauge how much you need to wear to stay warm, how long it will take to get dressed  and also give you some confidence in the snow.

Stay safe and see you tomorrow at Peace Coffee!

This entry was posted in Advocacy, Bike Lanes, Salute to the Winter Commuter, Tips and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Start Winter Commuting Part IV: The Ride

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Start Winter Commuting Part IV – The Ride | Cycle Twin Cities --

  2. moose says:

    This is my first winter here but I’m having a great time with my bike. Lots of local riders giving me great advice. Some of the things I would pass on are:
    -lower your seat (On my first winter ride, my seat was low enough that I could put both feet on the ground. It’s gradually creeping upward as I gain confidence.)
    -hands off the brakes! When things are getting iffy, make sure you’re going at a slow, safe speed and then take your fingers off the brakes so you won’t accidentally slam them on and skid out/crash.

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