Fall & Winter Riding in Seattle
Posted by Valerie on Oct 20, 2016 | General
Fall & Winter Commuting can be a mental and physical challenge. Here are some tips to keep you comfortable & enjoying your bicycle:
Have the Right Gear.
A good windbreaker or lightweight waterproof jacket are must-haves but the key here is to keep your fingers and toes happy. The rest of your body warms up quickly when you start riding, but your extremities can leave you desperate to end a ride. Find a pair of gloves that offers good wind protection, if you're a rain or shine rider, waterproof gloves can help but aren't always necessary.
For your toes, get a pair of waterproof booties (aka shoe covers). Even if it's not actively raining, moisture on the ground is picked up by your front tire and can splash up right onto your feet. Booties keep your feet dry & warm.
Have the Right Equipment.
Two things make all the difference for fall/winter riding and that's fenders and good lights. Booties can help keep your feet dry, but good full coverage fenders help keep your feet, back and bike cleaner (& dryer). There are tons of fender options, stop by to have us check out your bike and recommend a fender set that works for you!
Good lights are a must, even if you only ride during daylight hours Seattle is known for days of grey. When the sky is grey, the pavement is grey & buildings are grey drivers are more likely to miss seeing you. Running daytime flashing lights makes you more visible! Plus as the days get darker sooner, it's good to be prepared with high output lights (@ least 100 lumens) for when you inevitable get caught in the darkness.
Not sure what lights to get? Stop by Velo or visit us at Commute Seattle's Light up You Ride Event on November 3rd! There will be free coffee, donuts & safety gear. Check out info for the event here: http://commuteseattle.com/events/light-up-your-ride-event/
Have the Right Weather App.
Do you have the Accuweather app? It is seriously the best. If you like standard weekly forecasts, daily temperature & precipitation forecasts, and radar maps to see where those rain clouds are moving you'll love Accuweather. Keeping an eye on this information lets you know how to dress to be comfortable on your ride. Plus see when rain will start or stop in your area over the next 120minute period - one of the most helpful features for figuring out when to take off for a ride.
Have the Right Techniques.
Avoid standing water and potholes when possible. If you cannot avoid these, stay relaxed and try to coast through without shifting your weight. Sudden motions like standing up to pedal or adjusting on your saddle are more likely to cause your rear wheel to slip out under you. Plus riding through puddles could leave you with a flat tire due to hidden debris.
Slow down on your cornering. This one is fairly obvious, so use your best judgement here based on your bike style, tires and experience level.
Use your brakes effectively. Use both of the brakes together! Many people have the tendency to apply the rear brake before the front. While this may slow you down a bit, this will wear through your rear brake pads quickly and is not an efficient way to slow down. Using both your brakes, and applying lightly on descents not only keep you in control, but it allows you to come to a complete stop quicker. Lightly applying your brake keeps your rim or rotor a little bit dryer making your pads more effective when you have to brake suddenly.
Even if you've mastered these techniques, keep in mind that in wet weather your stopping distance is increased so ride cautiously!