Winter biking

Snow kit for your bike - caterpillar tracks at the back and a ski blade in front 
I'm a fair weather cyclist. Once the clocks turn back for winter that is me done until the springtime.  So it was interesting to read about the Dutch government considering building heated bike lanes in the city to encourage more winter cycling. The heat would come from a "passively warmed" heat source - with the heat being collected in the summer months.

Isn't that clever? The Dutch and Danish spend so much more on cycling infrastructure it puts the UK to shame. On average they spend £20-30 per person for cycling compared to Britain's paltry £1-2.

So, how do you cycle in the snow? Here are some tips from the ETA.

  • Stay warm Keeping your head, hands and knees warm will help you stay alert and relaxed. Cyclists of old used to stuff a newspaper down their fronts to keep out the cold – if you are ever feel in need of an extra layer give it a go as it is surprisingly effective
  • Get knobbled In countries where winters are hard and long, cyclists invest in metal-studded tyres, but in Britain it is more practical to go for an off-road, knobbly tyre or just settle with what you have already – as long as it is not a slick
  • Play it straight Try and keep your bicycle as upright as possible during turns. If you bank into a turn in slippery conditions you will be more likely to exceed the limited grip of your tyre
  • Sit back and enjoy the ride Keeping your weight as far back as possible minimises the risk of your front wheel sliding from beneath you – at the same time your rear, driving wheel enjoys more grip with a little extra weight over it
  • Brake time Use your rear brake to carefully test how slippery the road is and use the front brake only in a straight line
  • Put your back into it Motorcycle couriers steer partly by shifting their position in the seat. They use it to make quick turns, but steering with your hips in this way is a useful tip for cyclists in slippery conditions as it minimises abrupt movement of the handlebars
  • Know your snow Fresh snow offers a surprising level of grip for cyclists, but beware of slush and areas of ice covered by only a dusting of powder.
  • Make tracks If all else fails, buy a kit that replaces your bicycle’s rear wheel with a caterpillar track designed for use on snow and its front wheel with a ski blade


Popular Posts