While we may not like to admit it, our British summer is coming to an end for the year, which means for many of us, riding in colder weather is inevitable. However, it doesn’t have to be unenjoyable. We spoke with IAM RoadSmart Marketing Manager, Gary Bates, who has 15 year’s experience as a rider…
1. Wrap up warm!
It might seem obvious, but it’s well worth investing in good quality, waterproof kit. Being uncomfortably cold makes you feel stiff and prevents you from being able to relax on the bike. Allowing your core temperature to drop severely can be dangerous in itself. Check the weather forecast before heading out, and make sure you’re dressed appropriately. Several thin layers are often better than one thick layer, and allow you to make adjustments if the temperature changes.
2. Fit heated grips if you don’t have them already
Even if your body is warm, it can be hard to keep your hands warm when riding, and this can be a source of major distraction. Heated grips are inexpensive, generally easy to fit, and can boost your comfort levels immensely.
3. Be aware of cold tyres
Tyres will take longer to warm up in cold weather, so make sure you start off steadily and smoothly, and build up your speed gradually. This also applies when you’re setting off after a short break. In very cold weather, stopping for just a few minutes can cause tyre temperature to drop much more sharply than you might think.
4. Wet leaves = bad news
In the autumn, if you’re approaching an area of trees, remember that there could be leaves on the road. In my own neighbourhood, this is especially true first thing in the morning, before the traffic has cleared a path through them.
5. Keep your visor fog-free
Many helmets allow for a Pinlock insert to be fitted. If yours doesn’t, then rubbing a thin film of washing up liquid on the inside of your visor is quite effective at preventing it from misting up. Fitting a breath guard can help, as can wearing a bandana or balaclava that covers your nose and mouth. You may need to experiment with your helmet’s ventilation system to find out what works best for you.
Gary said: “We don’t get that much warm weather here in the UK but, with a little bit of extra preparation, you can enjoy a much longer biking season. The right kit and a bit of forward planning will help to keep you comfortable and safe.”
Do you have any other tips for riding in colder weather? Be sure to share them on the Bike Devil Facebook and Twitter pages…