The sun shone on the street for weeks during this year’s Indian summer, and it was wonderful. But summer’s days are numbered, and it’s wise to start preparing for the turning weather. Winter is coming. Which means winter training, of course. Here are four great tips to get your bike ready for the winter:
1. Clean your bike
Regular cleaning of your bicycle should not be thought of as a luxury. Hand-brushing is certainly not a fun job, but it does force you to see your bike up close. In short: some TLC can discover issues before they become problems. You can also save a lot of brushing time by simply wiping a clean cloth over your frame after every training session. But besides allowing you to spot any defects faster, this kind of cleaning is also better for the bike. Dry dirt is more difficult to remove, and you can damage the paint more quickly if you have to scrub hard material from your frame.
If you look over all of the moving parts and do some maintenance every two weeks, you can be sure that everything will work as it should. This also prevents unnecessary wear due to dirt.
2. Install fenders
You might be annoyed by this headline, as cycling purists are somewhat skeptical. But now that the so-called Ass Savers are even used in the professional peloton, not installing fenders would be a shame. The price isn’t an obstacle, at least, and if you want to get out regularly during the winter, these will save you a lot of trouble.
3. Put some winter tires on
Buying a second set of wheels would be ideal, but that is too much to think about for many of us. A small investment in a new pair of tires, however, does less damage. Whereas you might want to ride on profile-free, super-fast tires in the summer to reduce rolling resistance, you need winter tires to deal with the wet and sketchy road conditions. And that means that more dirt will stick to your tires (greater chance of getting flats), and the road can become slippery. So when looking for winter tires make sure they have two features: a lot of grip and puncture-resistance.
4. Make sure you have good lights
We have to deal with shorter days in the winter, which means that the sun comes up later and disappears earlier. But apart from the daylight saving (for how much longer?), employers really don’t care about the people who cycle to work daily. In other words: cycling takes place outside office hours, and on weekends if you are keen. With less daylight, the chances are you either leave in the dark or return home in the dark. A good set of bicycle lights is a necessity. Always make sure that you are clearly visible to other road users.