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Winter Biking: Time to Get Prepared


 The cold temperatures are on their way. The leaves are starting to change, the wind has a little more bite to it, and before you know it, a large part of the country will see a bit of snow in the air. Almost time to put the bike in the garage for the winter, right? No! Never! Just because winter is coming, it doesn't mean you have to give up one of your favorite past times, your alternative transportation, or your leisurely Sunday ride.

Winter biking can be an exhilarating experience. However, there are a few things you need to take into account before you get out there and battle the cold. One of the main things, not surprisingly, is gear. Many of us that love to ride have come to love gear almost as much as riding. Admit it, you can spend hours just checking out gear online, or while roaming through your local cycling shop. Getting the proper gear is an essential way to prep for winter biking.

You can find a range of clothing designed to help keep you warm on your bike this winter from a long list of online and good old fashioned brick and mortar stores. You'll find winter cycling jackets, winter cycling vests, leg warmers, knee warmers, arm warmers, knickers, rain pants, and just about anything else you could possibly need to face the bite of the cold. Word of advice: you might not need as many articles of clothing as you think.

Of course, you want to stay safe, and you want to keep your body temperature from dropping wildly. However, your body temperature can fluctuate a great deal during a ride (especially if you're battling different terrain throughout), so it's a good idea to make sure there are layers you can easily put on, take off, and store. You do want to make sure certain parts of your body are always taken care of, though, according to one source:

"Your arms, legs and head need to be well insulated. Fingers and toes are the first thing to suffer when the weather drops. Most of the specialized gear you'll initially buy will be to protect these guys since they need to be constantly warm."

Along with changing up your cycling wardrobe for the winter, you might want to look into changing up your bike. Now, this is not necessarily the way people all across the country need to go, but if you're engaging in winter biking in some of the harsher climates in the U.S., you might want to look into a bike built specifically to take on the sleet and snow like the Salsa Cycles Muluk 3, as well as other bikes designed to let you ride the roads before the snow plow ever shows up.

Another important thing to remember is that during winter riding conditions can change quickly and roads may be icy. This may seem obvious but all it takes is a small patch of ice to send a biker head first into a parked car, and with over 500,000 bicyclists visiting emergency rooms each year it truly is better to be safe than sorry. Another thing to consider is that just because roads have been salted, bike lanes may not have been. If you really want to get serious about winter riding, you may want to increase your traction by adding chains to your tires which are available from numerous companies. 

Winter is coming. It's an exciting time for those of us who love to get out there and ride in the cold. Make sure you're prepared before the weather changes, and always make safety your top priority when riding, regardless of what season it is.

How are you getting prepped for winter?

What precautions do you take when the roads are slippery?

SimplyLili is an environmental advocate and legal blogger. She helps manage over 20 attorney blogs. This article was written on behalf of Maguire Law Firm- personal injury attorneys  in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

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