FEATURES OF TRAINING AND RIDING A BICYCLE IN THE WINTER:
A bicycle, as many might think, is not just a summer vehicle. Every year on the streets of our city we see more and more people for whom winter is not a hindrance. If you decide to join their ranks, then for sure you have a lot of questions:
– How to prepare a bike for the winter?
– How to dress before leaving?
– How to ride a bicycle in winter?
We have prepared answers to all questions that you may have before the first winter visit.
ADVANTAGES AND FEATURES OF SKIING IN WINTER
Winter cycling has its advantages and features, which must be taken into account when preparing and operating a bicycle.
Pros of winter skiing:
- Under a falling snow in winter it is much more pleasant to ride than in the rain in the summer. Winter frost is easier to tolerate than summer heat and, if you are frozen, you can just speed up and keep warm. On the other hand, intensive driving on the contrary can lead to discomfort from the heat. Although, it should be noted, the clothes of a bicyclist should be adequate at any time of the year.
- The summer road with pits and puddles in winter is changing. On the other hand, an asphalt road, on which there were no pits and potholes in summer, is covered with ice in winter.
- All that in the summer can lead to puncture of the wheels (nails, glass, etc.), in winter it turns out to be under the snow.
- On soft snow, rubber wears less than when driving on asphalt.
- Winter is a good time for training skating skills in extreme conditions – by analogy with extreme driving on a car.
However, there are some features that need to be considered:
- At negative temperatures, the lubrication in the bearings becomes thicker, because of what the bicycle’s stroke becomes heavier and the roll is less efficient.
- When the bicycle moves from the heated room to the frost, the tire pressure drops noticeably. It is necessary to bear this in mind and, if necessary, to pump the cameras.
- In winter it gets dark much earlier than in summer, so it’s worth taking care of additional reflectors. Lamps should be used very carefully, because the batteries can oxidize in the cold.
- Velo computers in winter are best not to use, because their liquid crystal screens cease to reproduce information at negative temperatures.
- It is worth removing all the plastic parts, without which you can do without – plastic in the frost becomes very fragile and there is a risk of breaking them.
- It is extremely important to avoid sudden braking with subsequent blocking of the wheel, as well as sharp turns at high speed.
- Do not wash the bike before you are going to go out into the street – it instantly ices, and, most importantly, brakes and other bicycle components may stop working.
- Friction, and if you put it more correctly, the adhesion of tires to the road depends on the temperature. The lower the air temperature, the better the grip. And on the contrary, when the temperature is closer to zero, “porridge” forms on the roads, then the adhesion level is much worse.
- When driving, bicycle tires are heavily deformed. Some of this energy passes into heat and heats the tire, resulting in less wheels dubbing and rolling better. Therefore, it is better to ski at a moderately fast pace in winter. In addition, good speed allows you to keep warm in the cold.
WINTER CYCLIST OUTFIT:
Good warm clothes are a must when riding a bicycle in the winter. It is important to choose clothes in which you will be safe and comfortable to ride. Winter clothing for a cyclist must meet the following requirements:
- Should not constrain movement and interfere with management.
- Should not reduce the review.
- Do not be too warm or too cold.
- Should be non-blowing and waterproof.
- Should be noticeable for car drivers and pedestrians.
The approach to choosing clothes should be such that at first, once you go out into the street, you were cool, and that in five to ten minutes of active skiing you are well warmed up, but do not sweat. To sweat in the frost is extremely undesirable, because if you sweat, you can dry out only in a warm room. If, however, the underwear became wet, then you should go without stopping, not letting yourself cool down.
For cycling in the winter, you will need:
– Hat and helmet
It is better to dress “layers”, that is, to put on several layers of light clothing.
The first layer is thermal underwear. The task of the lower layer of clothing is to keep heat and remove moisture. Underwear made of cotton is undesirable, because in it the body sweats swiftly and cotton, absorbing moisture, does not let it evaporate. It is better to choose the thermal underwear of famous brands.
The second layer is insulating. The best option is a fleece sweatshirt. Fleece has excellent heat-insulating qualities, wear-resistant, perfectly removes moisture, dries quickly and is very pleasant to the touch.
And, finally, the third layer is a waterproof and windproof jacket or windbreaker. The task of outer clothing is to protect from wind and snow. However, do not overdo it with the top layer: it should not be too warm, and should also allow you to “breathe” your body.
We recommend also use thermal underwear as the first layer. The second layer can be worn trousers for cross-country skis – they are non-inflatable, well protected from moisture and narrow enough, which means they will not interfere with your movement.
For winter skiing, trekking boots with a warm toe are quite suitable. Also you can pay attention to shoe covers made of special materials that help to keep heat. An important point – during the ride, the feet are almost without movement and at low temperatures begin to freeze even in warm shoes. If you start to feel that your feet freeze, stop and walk vigorously, run for a few minutes.
Hat and helmet :
As in the summer, much attention should be paid to safety and do not forget about the helmet. It is also important for the head to provide protection from cold and wind. Ideal “clothing” for the head – a balaclava of special materials, which can be found in sports stores. When choosing a hat or balaclava, keep in mind that the helmet must be worn without problems.
You can use fleece gloves or not too bulky ski. It is important that the hands are warm and that at the same time, switching speeds and controlling the brake handles is convenient.
To protect the eyes it is worth wearing ski or motorcycle goggles, with the eye points should be plastic, as the metal in the frost can freeze to the skin.
PREPARATION AND MAINTENANCE OF BICYCLES IN WINTER
Every car owner is well aware that it is necessary to prepare for the winter, but how to prepare a bicycle for the winter is not the easiest question. Of course, the device of the bicycle is much easier than a car, but you also need to take care of it carefully, prepare it for winter skating. Many experienced cyclists, by the way, have a second bicycle for skiing in the winter. Such a bicycle usually has a more modest hitch and, often, a hard fork.
It is advisable before you go outside, to hold the bicycle for 10-15 minutes at the entrance, so that the frame is “used” to the cold. The same is recommended when returning for a smoother temperature change. Sharp changes are undesirable. It is also necessary to clean the frame of snow, ice and salt, because if it is chipped or scratched, they can be corroded. It is best to immediately clean, degrease and tint.
For winter skating, forks with a spring-oil or air-oil shock absorber, as well as rigid forks are suitable. Shock-fork very much do not like salt, so they should be thoroughly cleaned immediately after each trip through the city. Plugs with elastomeric shock absorbers in the cold do not work well, since the elastomeric hardens and loses its elasticity. It is worth noting that some prefer to put a hard fork in the winter – skating on the snow and so not too hard, and a good shock-absorbing fork can be taken care of.
Ropes and shirts :
Before the beginning of the winter season, it is worth checking the condition of the cables and shirts. Defective cables and shirts can cause the impossibility of switching speeds or, worse, the operation of the brakes. A common reason for the disruption of the operation of the switches and brakes is the ingress of moisture inside the shirts of the cables and freezing it there. As a result, the cable can completely freeze and stop moving. To avoid this, you must periodically lubricate the cables and the places where they enter the shirt.
In conditions of winter skiing, disc brakes are more preferable – hydraulic or mechanical ones – they are reliable; they work effectively in any, even very unfavorable, weather conditions. Of course, you can ride with rim brakes, but you should do it very carefully, because the effectiveness of the brake brakes in the winter time greatly decreases. This is due to the fact that the pads and rim are icy, and when braking, the pads simply slip along the rim.
Switches of transfers :
In winter, the switches can stop working if they are filled with snow or ice. In this case, the switch simply jams in one position. To minimize this probability, it is necessary to handle the switches with a lubricant (for example, WD-40), which has moisture repellent properties.
One of the most vulnerable components of a bicycle in winter is the chain. When riding in a chain, a mixture of snow, salt, sand and road reagents is packed. And if you do not periodically clean and lubricate the chain, it can quickly rust.
In winter, you can ride on ordinary tires, but, in terms of safety and more comfort, it is worth paying attention to winter stud tires for a bicycle. Studded rubber differs in structure, tread pattern, as well as in the number of studs and rows of studs on the tire. The most advanced tires accommodate up to 350 studs in 3-4 rows in the center and in the lateral parts of the tire tread. On such tires, you can confidently ride even on ice. However, if you do not plan such extreme skiing, you can do with tires with 50-200 spikes arranged in two rows.
As already mentioned, it must be borne in mind that in the cold, the tire pressure drops. However, it is not worth pumping them. Let them better get a little under your weight – so the area of contact with the snowy road will increase.
In the conditions of the city, it makes sense to install on your bike full-sized wings for better mud protection. When driving outside the city, where the snow is clean, you can do with the usual light quick-release wings.
Lighting devices :
In winter, a very short light day, so you should take care of light devices in order to ensure a good visibility, and be visible to pedestrians and motorists. From behind you can install a flashing light on the LEDs. On the steering wheel, you can also put a flashlight with LED or halogen lamps. If you have planned a long route in the dark, it is worth remembering that at low temperatures “batteries” sit much faster. Also, do not interfere with additional light reflectors and clothing with reflective elements.
Bicycle service :
In the winter season, all components of the bicycle are subjected to increased stresses and quickly wear out, rust, and collapse. This is due to unfavorable external influences – snow, ice, salt, reagents do their own ruinous business. A negative temperature leads to a thickening of the lubricant in all rotating assemblies, which can disrupt their work, and they can wear off and even break down. Therefore, after every winter sortie on a bicycle, it is necessary to carefully arrange it – clean and lubricate.
WINTER SKIING TECHNIQUE
If you have stud less tires, and there is ice on the street, it’s better to postpone the bike trip. On such rubber it is possible to ride quite comfortably on freshly fallen or compacted snow – and it is relatively safe and you will get pleasure.
On rubber with a small number of spikes (up to 150), you can move more boldly and in more adverse road conditions. But do not make sudden movements, sharply slow down – despite the presence of thorns, it is very easy to send a bicycle into a skid. The most comfortable and safe riding is on tires with a large number of studs (up to 350), arranged in four rows. On such tires you can even ride on the ice.
On any tires it is necessary to avoid driving under a lateral bias – it is better to go around such places, or to dismount and pass this part of the road on foot.
Always keep the brakes in the ready state. To do this, you need to lightly press the brake while driving and drive a few meters with the braking handle depressed. First, the brake pads will slip, and then the disc or rim will begin to cling. It is worth doing every 10-20 minutes, so that the brakes are always ready.
To brake in winter it is necessary gently and intermittently, otherwise the bicycle can go into a skid. The first is to press the rear brake, then gently – the front.
And finally – a few recommendations:
- In winter it is better to drive on tightly compacted snow.
- Do not drive around in ruts and try not to drive by snow slush.
- Turn smoothly, over a large radius, avoid sharp turns.
- Do not leave for motor roads – it is extremely dangerous in conditions of the narrowed roadway, not enough good visibility, presence of a track – all this at times raises the risk of emergency situations.
- Try not to make sudden movements.
- Always be prepared for the fact that under the ice will be ice, keep your hands on the brake handles in time to slow down the speed.