By Nina Holtz
Coming to Boulder from Southern California, it took a lot of tears to finally learn that Converse and smooth wheels do not fair well during snowy BFR pick-ups. Thankfully, Boulder is a very bike-savvy place! You might already know these guidelines, but if you don’t, here are some helpful tips for winterizing your bike 🙂
Volunteers, thank you for your amazing work through all seasons!
- Install studded tires to gain more traction on the road. Snow tires sell for around $30 to $60 a tire depending on the manufacturer. You can also make snow tires by using things like zip-ties and screws. Here’s a cool website about it: http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2010/12/st.html BFR’s staff is also experienced with DIY snow tires, so please let us know if you’d like any help!
- Inspect your brake pads. They have to work harder with the ice and rain, so if they’re already worn down, you might just want to buy a new set.
- When riding, feel free to surf out the curves by putting a foot down for insurance.
- Fenders are super stylish and can prevent brown sludge from coating your back as you ride.
- When pumping up your tires, be mindful of where you do it — the pressure changes with the temperature. Pumping up your tires indoors might accidentally cause a pinch flat once you get outside.
- Sunglasses/goggles are also stylish.
- The nice blue salt used on the streets is corrosive. It can cause damage to your bike, weakening its structure and limiting flexibility. To prevent salty corrosion, consistently scrub and lubricate all of your bike’s moving parts, especially the chain.
- Clothing-wise, layers are key. Experts on winter exercise say it’s best to wear sweat-absorbent material as a base, insulating layers in the middle, and a waterproof coat on top. And, hide your face!
- Stay bright. Less daylight coupled with distracting snowfall can mess with visibility. It’s important to be seen, so get festive.
- Before departing, try to investigate which pathways are already cleared. According to some avid bikers, official bike paths are usually best because the “snow tracks” cars create on the street can make a treacherous journey. Also, the bike path on the street might not be cleared anyway.
For more comprehensive advice about winter riding, please check out this awesome guide created by The Flat: https://theflat.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/theflatwinterridinghandout1.pdf
Special Tip for BFR pick-ups: It’s hard to prevent exposed boxes from getting all snowy during pick-ups. We have extra tarps if you’d like to borrow one for your pick-up! Just email [email protected]
Eight Solutions for Riding a Bike in the Snow. (2010, December 27). BikeHacks.com. Retrieved from: http://www.bikehacks.com/bikehacks/2010/12/st.html
Kolfer, Sandra. (2014, November 13). How to Winterize your Bike. Group On Guide. Retrieved from: https://www.groupon.com/articles/cycling-in-winter-how-to-winterize-your-bike-al
Tarantola, Andrew. (2014, January 25). Four Ways to Winterize your Bike Before Next Week’s Commute. Gizmodo.com. Retrieved from: http://gizmodo.com/four-ways-to-winterize-your-bike-before-next-weeks-com-1507748347
Winterize Your Bicycle. Howto.wired.com. Retrieved from: http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Winterize_Your_Bicycle