The sun may be shining now, but those morning commutes are getting colder and colder.
Bike to Work Week BC ends on Nov. 3, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop cycling around town.
Here are five ways to ensure you’re prepared to bike regardless of anything the fall weather may bring.
Grab some wet lube
Wet weather lube is the best way to make sure your brakes, cables, nuts, and bolts all work well in the worst conditions.
“You don’t want your chains getting rusty,” Adam Krupper, Executive Director of GoByBike BC says. “The lube is more sticky and gummy, and won’t allow water to get into the metal parts of your bike.”
It can be quite uncomfortable to have a stripe of mud up your back, but it is a common problem you can easily avoid.
Krupper says if you attach a wrap-around fender, you’ll protect your backside, face, and even your shoes.
“It’s really the worst when you get to where you’re going, but have mud specks all over your body,” he added. “That problem is easily solved by adding fenders on the front and back wheels.”
Consider tires with more tread
Remember, bike tires come in different grades. From slick to knobby, each wheel has a certain stickiness of rubber which helps the tires grip in slippery conditions.
“If your tires are skidding when you try to make a turn or while riding through leaves, that’s an early warning that you might want to upgrade your tires,” Krupper said.
Get some bike lights
There are two types of bike lights. Small, portable ones or powerful ones. Small portables help warn pedestrians and drivers of your existence but are not able to effectively light up the road in front of you.
“If you are riding on streets with adequate lighting, just go with the small lights,” Krupper noted. “But if you’re on the Galloping Goose or Lochside Regional trails, you may want to invest in a light that attaches onto your handlebar to help you see.”
Susan Stokhof, the Bicycle Mayor of Victoria, added that bikers should “point their lights slightly towards the ground” to avoid blinding other cyclists or pedestrians on your commute.
Stay warm, but dress in layers
In chilly weather, cyclists may not be in the best mood to ride to work at 5 C. But wearing a full parka is not always the best option.
“When you start your morning ride, the first five minutes will be the coldest,” Krupper said. “But your body warms up quickly and soon you might be sweating. Be prepared to take off a layer or two so you can quickly shed them as you ride.”
Stokhof added that new riders should invest in “a good rain jacket and a solid pair of shoes, not boots.” She also noted that she ordered an umbrella that can attach to her bike if needed.
As always, riders are reminded to wear bright-colored clothing, especially yellows, greens, or whites. Lastly, remember to keep your bikes dry.
“As long as it’s in a dry place your bike will stay in good shape,” Krupper said. “Your bike will not benefit from moisture. It doesn’t have to be in a warm place, but no rain equals no rust.”