If you love cycling then probably you hate it when the winter arrives, the strong winds and the rain make cycling rather unpleasant to say the least. You may be well equipped and have waterproof gear to keep yourself and clothes dry. But how do you protect your bike from all the dirt, wet, and salt on the roads? Just like you, bikes do not really like the grit and gunk that they have to deal with in winter so you really need to protect and maintain your ride from these inclement conditions.
Your bike probably is already fitted with mudguards but depending on where you live and what type of bike you have chosen sometimes mudguards are just a fashion statement and really do nothing to keep the rain and grit away. In winter it can be an idea to fit larger mudguards, just like in Scandinavia they change into winter tires.
If your bike frame has the space and mounts to fix these extra large mudguards then opt for full length versions such as Chromoplastics from SKS. Most bikes are not fitted with mounts but don’t worry as modern mudguards simply clip on and are really easy to fit.
The last thing in the wind and rain of winter that you want to be doing is fixing a puncture. And as we referred to before, in northern climates motorists change their tires in winter. There is no reason whatsoever that as a cyclist you cannot do this also. And there is a fine collection of winter tires that are available for bikes on the market. In rain and high winds more debris gets washed on the roads, and if you are peddling away on slick tires then your chances of getting a puncture in winter is far greater than in spring. Purposely manufactured winter tires have a reinforced breaker belt that lies between the rubber and the inside carcass. This prevents sharp objects blown onto the road from piecing the tire.
In winter it is far darker than other times of the year and it is imperative that you can be seen by road vehicles and other bikes. Most motor vehicles now have light sensors that turn on when it gets overcast or gloomy. Unfortunately bikes do not have such safety devices and the sound advice is to fit a good set of lights on the front and rear. LED blinker lights are especially effective as it distracts the motorist so they question what is on the road either ahead or behind, either way they will notice you.
Regular Winter Cleaning
Finally clean your bike every week in the winter months. This not only keeps corrosive elements like salt from attacking your bike’s paintwork it will ensure that your winter equipment is fully functioning. Pay special attention to lights, mudguards, the chain, and saddle as these often are the most exposed parts that can clog up easily. Now you have a clean bike and all the protective accessories you can confidently enjoy riding your bike in the winter.