For many, adverse weather conditions can be enough to put off even the most hardened of cyclists.
However, sometimes the unpredictability of the weather can mean you don’t have much choice. Tough riding conditions may be non-negotiable, particularly if you are on a particular schedule or time frame. To help you out in less than perfect conditions, here are some essential safety tips for cycling in bad weather.
Frost or black ice can catch cyclists unawares, particularly on crisp winter days after clear nights. As many cyclists enjoy early rides this also means there is an increased risk of hitting an icy patch, hidden by the early morning shadows on the road that may cause wheels to lose their grip.
If you are riding in these conditions then pick the roads you use carefully: try to keep on roads that have been treated with grit or salt, and that you know will have been travelled by other road users.
If you do realise you are about to hit an icy patch on the road then the best advice is not to try and turn the bike suddenly or brake hard.
Whilst lots of people find riding in the rain great fun you need to make sure you are aware of the changes the wet weather can have on your bike.
Like driving, it will take you longer to stop when you break on wet roads due to the build-up of water between the break blocks and braking surface. Road markings, drain and manhole covers can also become much more slippery when wet so avoid these if possible and anticipate your turns to make sure you don’t slip.
A strong wind can turn a flat road into a relentless climb for the unsuspecting cyclist. The increased wind resistance makes it harder to pedal but can also be good for developing your resistance in tough conditions, particularly if you are in an area with few hills.
The best way to beat the wind though is to ride in a group. Riding one behind each other will mean you use much less energy fighting against the wind. If you’re cycling alone then try to avoid the wind by using hedged lanes. If you are unable to avoid the wind then try to reduce your body’s surface area by rounding your shoulders and bending close to the bar, reducing your wind resistance.
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