Cycling in Winter

Tips for Safe Cycling in Winter and Spring

Cyclists riding fat bikes in the snow alongside a lake

Although winter’s bite dulls by the beginning of March, cyclists should still expect snow and frost in Spring. We’ll show you how to enjoy your favorite sport even when the thermostat dips down. We've gathered together the most important tips and information for you, so that you can stay healthy, safe and have fun biking through Winter.

Ice and snow can quickly make for subpar trail conditions, especially on roads that are open to the wind. That's why many bike enthusiasts switch to hybrid bikes or mountain bikes designed for "rough and slippery" surfaces in winter. The forest trail terrain slows speed down naturally, thereby reducing the risk of falling and cold head winds.

Trousers, Gloves, etc.

You should avoid wearing long cycling pants not windproofed. Combine this with softshell pants and an additional pair of short pants worn underneath to provide more wind protection.

Softshell underpants worn over normal cycling shorts is an unconventional but effective solution. They are much cheaper than long softshell pants and should be bought one or two sizes larger so that you can use them as your final layer.

The same applies to gloves. They must also be windproof. Many cyclists even wear motorcycle gloves in winter for added protection. Mittens also provide better protection from the cold.

Warm from Head to Toe

Insulating and warm insoles help prevent cold feet. Putting a hot pack under your socks can help keep them warm for up to 4 hours.

Your body loses most of its heat through your head, so wearing a cap underneath your helmet is essential when riding in cold temperatures. Adjust your helmet so that it doesn’t sit too high on your head.

If it is raining, you can also put a special cover over the helmet. A headband and face mask provide additional warmth.

To ensure all-round protection from the cold, specialist shops offer special neck scarves made of fleece or merino. These keep your neck and throat comfortably warm. Arm warmers, leg warmers and knee warmers are also favorites among cyclists.

The Right Technique

Especially in winter, the main thing to remember is safety first! You should adapt not just your clothes, but also your tires and riding style to the changing weather.

How to Turn while Cycling on Ice and Snow

Immediately after entering the bend, locate its exit and throttle your speed so as not to slip. Slow down in good time so you don't waste your grip on the braking manoeuvre. You should assume a relaxed posture. Never engage the front brake while turning.

The technique is practically the same as when on loose gravel. Shift your weight slightly backwards to the inside of the turn. This presses the tires into the snow and gives you added stability.

Your weight should be distributed evenly over both tires when the center of gravity is placed over the central bottom bracket. The upper body moves towards the front wheel and the arms are slightly angled.

Not for the Occasional Cyclist

Important: Always be prepared to catch yourself with a free foot. If the bike starts slipping underneath you, you can then catch yourself to avoid a fall.

After having passed the crest of the curve, set yourself in an upright position again. A lot of careful feeling is needed to build the grip between tire and surface. It's best to press the bike firmly on the ground with your arms and legs and steer whenever you feel you are losing your grip. Your center of gravity should be above the nose of the saddle.

After successfully rounding the curve, return to the basic upright cycling position. Accelerate slowly so that your rear tire does not slip or spin.

We hope we have been able to give you some helpful tips and wish you a warm and safe winter season.

Images: Cover image: ©istock/GibsonPictures, Image 1: ©istock/GibsonPictures, Image 2: ©istock/GibsonPictures, Image 4: ©istock/ivandan