Get your bike outfitted for winter

Riding on the trails on a nasty, rainy day can actually be a lot of fun

By Steve Nagle

 

Last time we discussed some of the clothing required for winter riding and commuting.

Warm, windproof and waterproof clothing is a must, but should also be bright neon green, yellow or orange and preferably have some reflective properties.

Your bike also should be outfitted for winter riding.

Riding on the trails on a nasty, rainy day can actually be a lot of fun, getting muddy is all part of the sport but commuting on the road on a wet, dark day can be an issue. But with a few minor improvements and adjustments, your bike can be made a lot more comfortable to ride. First off is safety. Lights are a must. The question to ask yourself first is “Do I want to be seen (by others) or do I want to see (where I’m going).

If you ride on roads, then the BC law states you must have a white light mounted on the front, visible for 150 meters and you must have a rear red light visible for 100 meters and a red reflector visible for 100 meters when directly illuminated by a car headlight.

These are minimums and most bike lights sold in reputable bike shops will meet these requirements but more powerful lights are advisable and available.

If your commute takes you where there are no street lights or onto the trails, then you need a lot more light.

A headlight, preferably mounted on your helmet (so you can point it where you want to see) and about 500 lumens power output is quite acceptable for these conditions although some of the hard core mountain bikers require aircraft landing light capacity.

Reflectors and  self adhesive reflective strips are available to mount on the frame of your bike, this makes you easier to see from the side in the dark.

Fenders are a must to prevent you from getting sprayed by a rooster tail from the rear wheel.

Fenders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and mounting options.  The simplest are clip on fenders which can be easily removed but for the more serious commuter, full fenders, wide enough to cover the tire, permanently mounted  which cover at least half the wheel are advisable.

When installing fenders, make sure you have enough space between the tire and the bike frame for the fenders to fit.  To carry your dry clothes, lunch, computer or whatever, good quality, roll top panniers are a must.

The better ones have a dry bag type sealing system with the seams welded, not stitched and made out of a waterproof material.

The cheaper ones have a zipper to close them but most zippers are not waterproof enough   on really wet days.

Rain has a way of seeping into everything. For those of you who carry your stuff in a pack, a waterproof pack cover is essential.

Get ready for winter now! Till next time, ride safely.

Steve can be found at Outdoor Addictions.