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6 tips for good cycling this winter

Since the pandemic, travel habits have changed for many of us. Whether it is to go to school or to work, many have abandoned public transport to make their daily trips to take the bike and what's more, it's great for the planet! This change in the means of transport is nice in summer when the weather is nice, but now winter is approaching and you wonder if it is really possible to cycle even in winter? Well, yeah! Of course, to be able to appreciate these moments of transition, you have to plan ahead. Here are 6 suggestions for a good start to your winter by bike.

Have the right bike

Very difficult to take a bike ride when you don't have a bike. Choosing your bike is therefore obviously the first step to consider. In general, we recommend the use of a used mountain or all-terrain type bike with one or two suspension to tackle Montreal streets and bike paths. This type of model offers ideal tires, they are solid and the price is also very affordable. Some people opt for a hybrid bike, a Fat bike, or even a road bike! The most important thing is to be comfortable with your bike and to follow the recommendations in the following paragraphs. We should ideally choose a bike that does not have too much monetary or sentimental value because winter can be very harsh on our bikes and inevitably ends up damaging them. Tune-up is necessary at least once a year in order to increase its durability.

Have the right tires for winter

One of the first things to consider when going winter biking is the type of tires. Wide enough tires like those found on mountain bikes are recommended to maximize grip with the ground. Tires that are too smooth tend to slip on the ice, while those that are too thin can cause us to lose balance. Lower tire pressure is also recommended.

What about studded tires? It depends on the type of road you are taking. In general, the streets of Montreal are clear enough not to need it. A studded tire installed on the front wheel only can help maintain good stability on ice. Since these retail for over $ 75 minimum each and wear out quickly from salt and asphalt, we recommend them only when the rider is using lanes that are mostly icy and very little snow cleared.

Have the right accessories

Your bike needs essential accessories to face Quebec winters. It needs front and rear lights first because the sun sets very early in winter, so it will be important to have good visibility. During the day, a pair of smoked glasses can also be very appreciated, especially on very bright days when the sun's rays are reflected off the snow. Then mudguards can be used to avoid splashing and splashing pedestrians with the slush that frequently covers our streets.

Have the right clothes

Staying warm is one of the keys to enjoying winter biking. It can sometimes be difficult to choose the right clothes so that you are neither too hot nor too cold. Our team recommends investing in good waterproof and breathable shoes that provide good protection from snow and slush. There is nothing more disagreeable than pedaling with frozen toes. Good quality waterproof pants such as Goretex are also recommended. Whatever your budget, choose waterproof and breathable materials. For the top, wear a cotton layer close to the body, then add several layers of clothing including one in wool and an outer layer (coat) in waterproof, windproof and breathable synthetic. If you are going to work or school, remember to bring a spare sweater as the one you wear close to the body may be stained with sweat! Movements should remain fluid and comfortable. Do not forget to cover your head with a good hat, avoid long scarves around the neck by favoring those of the cylinder type and wear good straps that do not slip on the handlebars.

Have the right habits

During the winter, our bike needs a lot more maintenance. Ideally it is recommended to store your bike indoors, but since most of us live in apartments, space is not always available. In this case, it is suggested to thoroughly wipe the bike of any snow, slush and ice (with a brush and cloth) after use. With variations in temperature, poorly cleared snow or ice can harden and freeze the chain making the next ride much more difficult. It is advisable to turn the wheels, the stem, the crankset as well as all rotating parts to clear any debris that could freeze overnight. Lubricate the chain with a wet lub product at least once a week and also put it on the padlock and on the contact points. If you have a problem with your bike, it is vital to see a specialist as soon as possible.

Have zenitude

Finally, the most important thing to remember is our zenitude. Even though our schedule is busy, it's best to schedule a little more time than usual for winter travel to avoid the stress of being late and more risky behaviors. We have to be more attentive to the obstacles and the ice, to take the turns more slowly and of course to be more careful because there are several difficulties of visibility during this period. You never know what the snow can cover. Keep a zen spirit! You save money on transportation and parking, keep fit and save the environment! It's also a good time to take in the scenery and fresh air to recharge your batteries before your next mission.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to consult a specialist who will be happy to answer your questions. We are always available to help our customers whether it is purchasing a used bicycle or repairing theirs.

Michel Hebert

Atelier Vélo Recycle

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