MacBike: Biking tips for winter

By

Here are some winter biking tips from MacBike, your friendly on-campus bike co-op. Do you want your bike to survive the winter? Do you want to survive if you ride your bike in the winter? Listen up to these helpful tips. 1. Don’t leave your bike outside for very long. The longer your bike stays outside during the winter, the more damage it will have when it thaws in the spring. This means having to replace chains, cables, nuts and bolts, and generally give your bike an overhaul. But you can avoid all this if you just store your bike somewhere dry for the winter. If you’re in the dorms, come by MacBike (open shop Thursdays from 6-8pm) and we’ll help you take off your wheels so that you can store your bike in your room (that way it can fit under your bed), or find a friend who lives off campus and ask them if you can store it in their basement or garage. 2. Don’t fall off your bike. Sounds simple, but in the snow things get tricky. Here are some tips for how to not fall off your bike: ~Ride on top of the fresh snow, instead of the packed down snow. ~Take wide turns! Sharp turns are a disaster in the snow. ~Everything is slower in the snow, so keep that in mind when you’re braking. Brake sooner than you normally would, and brake gently! ~If you hit a patch of ice, stay calm! Don’t hit your brakes—that will make you skid. 3. Get wider tires with treads or studs. This will help infinitely with traction. Fenders are very helpful too. 4. Carry a lighter with you in case your lock freezes. Sometimes when it gets really cold and snowy out, your lock can fill with ice, and the key won’t be able to get in to unlock it. If that happens, thaw the keyhole with your lighter. 5. For long trips, cotton is your enemy! If you plan on doing a longer trip, make sure that none of your layers touching your skin are cotton – cotton doesn’t wick away sweat, so you’ll get real wet and real cold, real fast. Try to cover up as much as you can and wear wind-resistant layers because windchill is also your enemy. Protect your face and your hands. Frostbite can happen at temperatures below 32 degrees farenheit, especially if skin is exposed and wet. 6. Clean off your bike frequently to prevent your chain from rusting and your frame from rusting (if you have a steel frame). 7. If you’re not already a full-time helmet wearer, winter is definitely the time to wear one. (See Tip #2) 8. When on long trips stop for hot chocolate or coffee often to warm up. 9. Plastic bags are useful tools. Put them over your seat when your bike is parked outside, and over your feet (inside your shoes) if you’re on a long ride and want to keep your feet dry. 10. Even in the dead of winter, city buses are well-equipped to hold bikes, so don’t be afraid to bike to events or places you need to go off-campus. If it gets too cold or late, you can always take the bus back home. If you have any questions about bike safety or bike repair, contact MacBike at [email protected] Contributors: Charlotte Fagan ’12- [email protected] Hank Hansen ’[email protected] David Husson ‘14 [email protected]