How to commute through winter
There are many benefits to commuting to work by bike and if you’ve been on two wheels for most of the year, you will no doubt already be feeling the effects. However, when the clocks change and the nights draw in during winter, the idea of riding your bike to and from work is easy to abandon. But with a few changes and solutions from Specialized you can beat the temperature drop. Here’s how to keep at it, stay on your bike and get fit this winter.
The right bike for the job
It all starts with the bike and making sure you have the correct one for the conditions. Ditch the lightweight racing machine for a more practical multi-purpose model. The Diverge range is perfect for this. With mounting points, comfortable geometry and a wide capability to take on many surfaces, the Diverge is the ultimate gravel ride. This means that you can make your commute a little more relaxing by prioritising bridleways over roads and truly having a daily explore. The Diverge Expert even comes with flat bars if that’s more your style.
Layering is very important when battling winter conditions, but you don’t want to be too warm. If you prefer commuting in your regular clothes, waterproof outer kit can be a lifesaver. If you commute in cycling-specific kit, a warm base layer, waterproof jacket and winter bib tights are ideal for the job at keeping the cold wind and mucky conditions off of you. Here at the Specialized Concept Store we even have a Black Friday sale so there’s no better time to invest.
Protect the extremities
When the temperatures drop the most important parts of your person to keep covered and warm are your hands, feet and head. This is because you lose the majority of your body heat through these extremities. Wearing some wind-proof gloves, winter socks and overshoes will protect your most important areas and keep a smile on your face. There is something very cruel about an ice cold puddle soaking your feet.
Light the way
A key motto for the winter commute is, “see and be seen”. This means investing in a decent set of lights and pairing these with reflective kit so that you can see the road ahead and be seen by other road users. A powerful front light to illuminate the way ahead is a good place to start. A ride-saving tip is to keep a charger cable in the office so that you can be doubly sure that your lights have enough juice to survive the ride home.
On the back you will need a red rear light with enough lumens for you to be seen in poor light. Pair this with a reflective jacket and reflective strips on your luggage and your commute becomes far safer.
Thanks in part to Swedish apparel company Fjällräven, there are plenty of commuter luggage options. The cave packs fit like a dream to your bikes forks and can also be worn like a bikepack. With a padded laptop compartment and large and small pockets for all sorts of items, your daily commute ensemble has never looked so cool.
In winter, there is a huge likelihood that at some point you will have to commute in the rain. This means that a lot of your clothes might end up damp and no one wants to climb back into squelching kit for the ride home. A way around this is to keep spares at work, especially shorts and socks.
If you already commute on a road bike you should consider changing your tyres. If your bike can take it, a 28mm or wider tyre with a more aggressive tread will prevent any pesky punctures. Also try dropping the pressure slightly because the wider fit will also provide more comfort and grip.
As well as planning a route ahead of time, factoring in safety when you’re in winter conditions around other road users is very important. Investing in a helmet with integrated MIPS with ANGi is a good place to start. MIPS helps to prevent rotational injury during an impact while ANGi transforms the lid into a crash detector and safety beacon. This will provide peace of mind on the long evening commute home.
Tools of the trade
Keeping your bike in good working condition is trickier during winter when the weather is going to have a bigger impact on its components. It’s a good idea to learn some basic bike maintenance for your commute as well as taking the tools of the job with you. Don’t worry, we’re not talking an entire toolbox, just a multi-tool, spare tubes, a puncture repair kit and a mini pump will cover you.
What about an e-bike?
Keep your work clothes free from sweat atop an e-bike. Fun, fast and a brilliant alternative to getting stuck in traffic, if you’re a first time cycle commuter looking to save money on fuel costs, an e-bike will make sure you stay on two wheels even through winter. This is because the motor assist means that you’ll put in less effort to reach the maximum assisted speed of 15.5mp/h. Over that speed and it’s all you, but under and you’ll have a comfortable ride in.For more information on e-bike commuting options, read ‘Why you should consider an e-bike for commuting’.
Making these changes to your route, kit and ride patterns will allow you to thrive through winter and set you up for a glorious, healthy spring at the other end of it. To find out more about all the kit and tech mentioned in this article, come down to one of our stores, and get started on your commuting journey. Speak to one of our friendly staff members and get inspired to take on any challenge this winter.
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