After a long wet summer, winter is almost upon us again, time to start planing for those wintery cold mornings, driving rain and less daylight hours. If your part of the growing number of cyclists that now commutes to work, whether it be for fitness, choice or to save money, the winter conditions tests every cyclists resolve. Our winter cycling tips are designed to help you be prepared and get through the upcoming winter months.
Winter Cycling Tips
For those cyclists determined to tackle the winter conditions being prepared will ensure maximum comfort, keep you safe, warm and dry whilst you transit to and from work. Dependant on where you are located in Australia and your personal tolerance to the cold and inclement weather you can selectively lighten the list to suit your circumstances.
The 10 Essentials
- Lighting (a good front and rear light).
- A good waterproof / windproof breathable jacket.
- Layered clothing (arm, knee, leg and head warmers).
- Waterproof / windproof pants (should the weather get really inclement).
- Wind / weatherproof gloves.
- Shoe covers.
- Sunglasses (clear lens for riding in the evening or twilight hours).
- Reflective vest
- Panniers with a change of clothes
For those commuters heading to work in the early hours of the morning or evening hours being seen is paramount to safety. Being seen by other road users and being able to see the road ahead are of utmost importance on every cyclists minds.
The majority of traffic accidents with other road users involve a rear collision, the rider simply wasn't seen, a high quality, high-output rear light might just save your skin and we recommend the Cygolite Hotshot 2W rear light, incredibly bright, lightweight and rechargeable via USB.
There are many very affordable lighting packages available, however few lights offer the output to light up the road to enable you to see far enough ahead to avoid potholes and other road obstacles like some high-powered rechargeable lights do. Many cyclists also have stated the output of these high-powered lights make them appear like a larger vehicle when approaching which prevents some motorists darting out in front of them at intersections, a big safety bonus. For 2012 there are so many high quality rechargeable bicycle lights available it's really a riders choice, you really can't go wrong, however we would recommend a light around 350 lumens and up. For this task we recommend the Cygolite Expilion 350 USB or the Cygolite Turbo 330. The Expillion 350 can also be mounted on your helmet via optional helmet mount enabling you to get an even better road coverage in your spectrum of vision.
Weatherproof / Windproof Jackets
Keeping dry and staying comfortable is very important especially on longer commutes, however a good weather jacket isn't just about blocking out the rain, it needs also to be breathable as arriving at your destination soaked in sweat sort off negates the purpose of a good weather jacket in the first place. My person preference for styling, comfort, functionality and durability is the Louis Garneau Massimo 2 Winter Jacket it truly is the ultimate in cold weather and driving rain, it's breathable fabrics enable you to arrive at your destination without overheating. If your looking for something lighter weight and easy to store then nothing beats the Louis Garneau Climate Grid 2 Jacket, a transparent jacket designed to protect you against wind and rain.
Warmers & Base Clothing
For any cyclist, professional, fitness or commuter that ventures out on icy mornings will tell you the importance of warmers and the benefits for performance as well as overall comfort. The most commonly purchased warmers are leg and arm warmers however, knee and head warmers are also popular. My personal choice is the Louis Garneau range however both Pearl Izumi and Netti also make a range of quality cycling clothing at affordable prices, check out our range of Winter Warmers and Base Layers.
Waterproof / Windproof Pants
When the weather is particularly bad, nothing locks out the cold and rain like the Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier WxB Convertible Pants, the Pearl Izumi team really did their homework and the results are nothing short of amazing, made from comfortable and very practical, stretchable, breathable fabrics with reflective elements for additional safety, and something I like is the abrasion resistant patches in high wear areas.
Weatherproof / Windproof Gloves
The decision here is simple, you want protection from the cold and the extremist of wet weather conditions, you need to stay dry and comfortable, the only glove that answers the call is Louis Garneau Wind Tex Eco Flex Gloves.
If you want to protect your feet from the extreme wet and cold temperatures, the Louis Garneau Neo Protect Shoe Covers fits the bill, easy to fit and manage and they feature reflective logos for added safety.
Sunglasses not only offer your eyes protection from the suns harmful rays, but also offer protection from insects and other airborne debris, during winter, cycling in low light conditions such as early morning or evening hours often occurs so a clear, transparent lens is a must. My personal favourite is the Serfas Cologno Sunglasses, they are durable, well vented to prevent fogging, stylish and include 4 lens types; Brown, Grey, Rose and Clear so no matter what the conditions may be you'll have the right lens for the occasion.
When riding in low light conditions nothing beats the Netti Reflective Vest for effectiveness and price, easy to fit and fasten.
Essential for any commute mudguards prevent mud, road grime and other objects from being flicked up from the road surface onto your clothing, pannier bags and into your bicycles components, fit a pair of mudguards and you'll stay a lot cleaner. Check out our available range of Mudguards> to find the right pair for your ride.
There are many quality pannier bags on the market, however there is one brand that consistently improves their brand year in and year out is Topeak. Topeak's range of Panniers and Trunkbags which are designed to seamlessly interface with their QuikTrak Rear Racks is perhaps the most functional, easy to use, install and secure. I hope you find this winter tips guide helpful, please post your comments below, feel free to add your observations and suggestions.