Setting Up Your Bicycle For Winter Riding

For my winter riding I’m using my 2008 Specialized HardRock XC Disc. It is a mountain bike but I bought it to ride on paved trails during the winter. It doesn’t take long to figure out that you need more than just a bicycle to ride during the winter.

One of my first purchases had to do with the sun going down earlier and earlier. So I purchased bicycle lights. At the very least you need a light in the front and back so other people (and especially cars) can see you. That means you don’t have to spend a lot of money. However the more money you spend the better “you” will see. The cheaper lights don’t put out a lot of light, they are only meant so other people can see you. When you get into the higher end bicycle lights they are designed to help “you” see.

As for the rear of your bicycle, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. The rear lights are only to help other people see you. So you can buy your rear light on the cheap.

Get rid of the Clipless Pedals. Cycling shoes are not warm. You can buy covers but if you don’t have to ware a special shoe you have many more options when the weather gets cold. From tennis shoes to boots, they are much warmer than bicycling shoes. Plus (this is my personal opinion) not having your feet locked into the pedals gives you a better chance of recovery if you hit a slick spot on the Trail.

Fenders are not always required during winter riding but usually a few days after a snow fall the weather gets warmer and the snow melts. And when that happens you will want fenders on your bike. Even if the temperature isn’t warm enough to melt the snow, if you ride on the streets the chemicals used will melt the snow and you will want fenders so you don’t get as wet as you would without them.

I have also installed Studded Snow Tires. At the very least you should get tires with more aggressive tread. But I would recommend getting Studded Snow Tires. These tires really help during the winter. They also have a more aggressive tread pattern. But I recommend not buy tires with hardened stead studs. They will wear out very quickly. Spend the extra money and get carbide studded tires. If you are thinking about getting Studded Snow Tires then you are probably a serious biker and you should spend the extra money and get the carbide studded tires.

Riding your bike in the winter can be hard on it. Therefore it will require extra care. Wipe down your bike after every ride. Lubricate it often. And at the end of the winter riding season take it to your bike shop and have them do a thorough tuneup on the bike so you can use it for a long time to come.