Ebike Safety

10 Expert Tips on Winter Cycling

tips on winter cycling

The winter season always comes with added hazards for different available modes of transportation. This reality is doubly true for cycling. The icy conditions and snowy roads are hazardous for electric bikes and e-scooters. 

Despite the potential pitfalls, it’s possible to ride an electric bike safely during the winter season. On our part, we’ll help by exploring the best tips for cycling in the winter. These will help to ensure that you get to your destination safely and comfortably too. Let’s get started with our 10 expert tips on winter cycling.

Cover Your Mouth

One tip you hardly ever see for winter riding is ensuring your mouth is warm. You can achieve this with a balaclava, ski mask, gaiter, or a specialized cycling mask. 

When you breathe in cold air through your mouth, it can start to burn the back of your throat and feel very uncomfortable. Many riders  start to get a runny nose under these conditions, a situation that can become a distraction. 

A cycling mask can solve all these issues while also ensuring your nose, cheeks, and neck stay warm. Just make sure you’re buying a breathable mask. 

cover your mouth

Always Wear Gloves

Gloves are an absolute must when cycling during the winter. Gloves are important if you don’t want to experience the desperate feeling of trying to warm your hands and steer simultaneously. 

Not only are cold hands unpleasant but they can also be a safety hazard. If your fingers are freezing, then you won’t be able to press the brakes as quickly or as firmly as you should. And on icy roads, you don’t want anything hindering your stopping power. 

Therefore, when you buy an electric bike, include a pair of high-performance touchscreen cycling gloves. These will not only keep your hands warm but they’ll allow you to use a phone too. Another benefit of gloves is they offer a high level of grip on your handlebars. Whatever type of gloves you have, just remember to put them on before you start pedaling.

Check Your Tires

During the summer season, super slim tires with limited treads are great. These tires offer speed and performance but they aren’t what you want when you hit a patch of ice.

For the ultimate safety during winter, it’s best to switch out your summer tires for a pair of winter models. These tend to be a little wider with deep treads. If you’re going to be cycling in super icy conditions, there are studded tires which offer plenty of grip.

The next point of consideration is tire pressure. The more pressure in your tires, the less contact they have with the road. That’s great for lower rolling resistance but not grip. On slick snowy roads, it’s best to let a little air out to give the tires more flex and grip.

Related Article: Top 5 Electric Scooters for Winter 2021

Avoid Sharp Turns

Even in great weather conditions, electric bikes can’t take sharp turns smoothly due to their high center of gravity and weight distribution. When cycling during the winter season, you need to keep everything as straight as possible. 

Turns can become especially hazardous due to slick, wet roads. Ironically, you need to think like a racing car driver and approach corners the way they do. Go slow into corners, not accelerating (pedaling) through the corner, and only putting the power down when you straighten up. This will prevent your tires from slipping underneath you and keep your e-bike upright. 

avoid sharp turns

Know Your Route

Before you start cycling, you’ve probably meticulously packed your backpack, put on all your layers of clothing, turned on your lights, and secured all your valuables. Stopping to check your route can undo all of this due diligence. 

You’ll probably need to find a safe place to stop, take your phone out of your pocket and take off your gloves. All the while, your body starts cooling down as your body gets exposed to cold air.

It’s important to know your exact route before you start cycling. You can install a phone holder on your electric bike if you need to check a map. When cycling during the winter, any unscheduled stop can become a major inconvenience.

Carry and Check Your Puncture Repair Kit

We’ve all had punctures when we’ve been riding our bikes. They are a major annoyance, even on a nice day. During the winter season, a puncture can be a safety hazard. Remember, you’ll have to fix it while battling the cold and dark conditions. 

However, having a high-quality puncture repair kit at hand will allow you solve the issue quickly. We also advise that you carry a spare inner tube. 

You can fit a spare inner tube over the damaged tube and repair the puncture at a later date. Whether you want to repair or replace the tube, make sure you have all the tools you need before stepping out the door. 

Check the Weather

It’s winter so you already know it’s going to be cold. But at this time of the year, the weather in Canada can change from unpleasant to hazardous very quickly. Checking the weather forecast before you hit the road will allow you to anticipate any changes.

If the temperature is below freezing, you can expect the roads to be particularly slippery. If this is the case, you’ll need to cycle even more slowly and be more careful with your turns. If the forecast says a snowstorm is brewing or something similar, it may be best to consider alternate transport options. 

check the weather

Ensure Regular Bike Maintenance

Cold conditions can be brutal on a bike. Not only does your bike have to cope with changing temperatures and harsher road conditions, it’s also going to be perpetually wet. Your tires are going to kick up moisture and spray your bike with muddy water.

Muddy water can contaminate gear oils while also vastly increasing the chances of rust formation. Therefore, it’s important to wipe down your bike after each use and m keep it dry. It’s also best to keep it indoors where possible.

Because your tires are going to be kicking up a lot of frost and mud, we advise installing fenders. They’re not going to catch everything but they can significantly reduce the amount of spray you get on yourself and the rest of the bike. 

Thermal Flask

There are few things more satisfying than finding warmth when you’ve been bitterly cold. Drinking a nice hot cup of coffee from your thermal flask can be a lovely reward after a challenging ride. 

It’s also a great idea on longer rides where you need some refreshment. You can stop over, refresh with a hot drink and carry on with the rest of your journey. A hot drink is also going to be a great idea should you find yourself in an emergency situation.

If your bike breaks, a thermal flask can keep you warm while you walk to your destination or get help. Whether you have it during or after your ride, having your favorite warm drink ready is always a good idea. 

Put On a Light Show

Of course, the winter isn’t just about the cold. It also gets very dark during the winter months. In the dead of winter, this may mean commuting to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. 

As a bare minimum, you should have bright white front lights and a large red rear light. Your front light needs to be pointed slightly downwards to alert other road users and also shine a light on the path ahead of you. 

Added to this, you should wear high visibility clothing with reflective strips. This keeps you visible, even from a long distance. Even if you usually only cycle during the day, lights can be important for those gloomy days or in an emergency. 

put on a light show

Related Article: Riding an Electric Scooter During Winter 

Final Thoughts

While riding an electric bike during the winter season presents unique challenges, you can ride one safely. With the tips above, you can reduce the chances of accidents to almost nothing. 

While the tips are important, your safety is also a function of your electric bike. It’s best to buy electric bikes that meet standard safety and performance requirements. Check through our online store at Epic Cycles for electric bike offerings that fit the bill. Stay safe!