November 27th, 2017
Winter cycling in the UK can be unpleasant at the best of times, you have the wind, rain and dark nights to contend with as well as the occasional flurry of snow. The last thing you want to do is make your experience worse by not kitting yourself and your bike out properly.
In this post, we’ll share some of the winter kit mistakes that riders make that you should avoid at all costs in your bid to avoid a cycling accident.
It’s easy to forget the time when you’re out enjoying your ride, but with Winter comes shorter days and longer nights, especially in December and January.
While it might be tempting to go on the weekend cycling club run without attaching your lights, don’t risk it.
A day ride can often end up finishing at dusk once you’ve factored in a couple of stops along the way and getting caught out by the fading light could have potentially disastrous consequences.
The best way to ensure you’re rides are always well lit is to attach a basic pair of lights in November and then leave them on until the clocks go forward again.
This way you’ll always have some form of lighting that will help you be seen by cars and other vehicles even if you forget your main lights at home.
We’re not talking about Ray Bans here, although sunglasses are a good idea.
Make sure you invest in some quality glasses, whether they’re tinted or clear lenses, they provide excellent protection during the winter months.
They’re particularly useful when the cold rain strikes mid-ride, shielding your eyes from the elements and helping you keep your focus on the road ahead. The water should get blown off the side of the lenses, but whatever you do don’t take your glasses off while it’s still raining.
Taking off your glasses while you’re riding not only means you’ll have less control of your bike which can increase your chances of having a cycling accident as you’ll be using one of your hands to clean your glasses, you’ll also render your glasses useless for the rest of your ride if you get water on the inside of the lens.
Your glasses can also help protect you from any debris that’s on the roads including rock salt which is frequently spread on the roads during the cold snaps of the winter months.
There’s not a cloud in sight as you look through your kitchen window on a fresh December morning, you know what that means! Time to ride.
But don’t be fooled into thinking you can saddle up and head out without your trusty waterproofs.
It’s well documented that British weather can be unpredictable and a bright blue sky can turn to dark waterlogged clouds that can’t wait to burst at any given moment.
The last thing you want to do is get caught in the rain with nothing but your cycling jersey and shorts.
You don’t have to take a big winter coat with you on your ride, that would be impractical. Instead, opt for something that’ll keep your skin dry, but that can still be folded up small enough to fit in your back pocket or into a saddle bag if you own one.
You’ll be glad you added the extra weight if a cloud bursts whilst you’re on your winter ride, trust us.
Even if you’re lucky enough to catch the British weather having one of its finer moments during the winter, it’s very likely that you’ll still come across surface water at some stage during your ride.
To avoid getting a soggy bottom on your ride make sure you fit your bike with mudguards.
True they might not make your bike look as glamorous as it does without them, but it’s a small price to pay to protect yourself in the depths of winter.
It’s true that keeping your core temperature warm is essential when you cycle during the winter months and whilst your legs and torso are the first areas that spring to mind when you’re planning your keep-warm strategy, you should always spare a thought for your extremities.
Losing the feeling in your hands as they freeze in the cold isn’t just an unpleasant feeling, it’s dangerous!
To make sure your digits stay warm in the cold winter air, kit yourself out with some good winter gloves.
Also, don’t forget your feet. A quality pair of thermal socks and some overshoes will keep your feet warm and dry, leaving you to enjoy your ride in relative comfort.
Whilst suffering a double puncture on your ride can’t necessarily be classed as a mistake, not preparing for one can.
Suffering a double puncture miles from home in Winter is enough to ruin anyone’s day.
Take a leaf out of the scout’s handbook and always be prepared. Try to take at least two inner tubes with you so that you can safely make it home even if you are unlucky enough to suffer a double puncture.
As a backup, always take your phone with you too. You never know when you might need to get in touch with an understanding family member to give you a lift home if the inner tube installation goes wrong.
Whilst you might be craving a new personal best on your next winter ride, don’t fall for the temptation of shedding weight by heading out in your usual summer cycling kit.
It’s always better to wear warm clothing and then peel away the outer layers to become more comfortable during your ride than it is to head out and regret not taking a warm outer layer with you.
So there we have it, 7 common mistakes cyclists make when riding during winter.
If you’re not sure about cycling in the rain this winter, you can check out our top tips for cycling in the rain here.
If you’re involved in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault we can help.
As specialists in cycling accident claims, we can assure you that our solicitors keep up to date with all the latest developments in the cycling world including the most recent law relating to cycle helmets, reflective clothing and requirements for fitting lights and reflectors to your bike.
If you’d like to discuss a potential claim with one of our team, give us a call on 01625 506 672, or complete our online enquiry form.