Welcome to Doug Scott Cycles. I'm Abi Scott, cyclist, shop manager, and business owner. Here at Doug Scott Cycles we supply high quality bicycles and accessories, and deliver servicing and repairs for people in the Hull and East Yorkshire area.
It seems only yesterday that I was sitting in the garden, enjoying the sunshine and the bird-song. Where does time go? It's mid-autumn now, heading towards winter, and there's Christmas to come too! It is time to think again about your cycle, and your safety. Don't become a statistic.
Cycling in rain and snow does not have to be a chore. Yes, it's colder outside, but it's not difficult to counter that. You won't be taking forever to scrape a layer of ice off your car windows when cycling to work. You won't have to deal with a non-starter because the battery is flat. You can get to work easily and quickly, and the journey will make your heart pump, your blood flow, and burn the excess calories we all put into ourselves at this time of year. Cycling to work is a great way to start your day.
It is very important however that you are properly equiped and prepared to enjoy your ride. You need the correct clothing, your cycle should be properly equipped and maintained, and you need to remember that the skills used when riding in winter are different to those used riding in summer.
Just because it is cold outside doesn't mean you need to wear lots of clothing. This is a common mistake. When exercising the body produces lots of heat, and if you're overdressed you'll be uncomfortably hot, sweaty, and liable to dehydration and heatstroke (yes, even in thick snow or driving rain!) Wear just enough clothes to be slightly cold when you start your journey. It takes only a few minutes for your body to reach working temperature. A good guide for the types of clothing needed can be found here. Don't be afraid to have clothes at work, in your locker or desk. A dry pair of socks can make a potentially miserable day warm and happy!
Winter is very tough on your bike. There's salt, water, dirt and sand all attacking the wheels, frame, suspension (on some bikes) and gearing. It is not difficult or time consuming to keep your bike in good condition though. At least once a week hose your bike down, cleaning all the muck off it. Wipe it down with a clean cloth, and lubricate the drive-train. Wipe the metal-work and wheels with a light grease or vaseline, avoiding the surfaces where the brakes touch. Don't use WD40! Keep the bike covered when not in use, or store it in a shed. Don't forget to keep your security chain or lock lubricated and clean too. Look after your equipment, and it will look after you.
Your tyres are important in winter - actually they're important all year-round, but doubly so in winter. If you have knobbly tyres you have good grip, but higher friction. This means it is harder to ride at a given speed. Normal tyres have less friction, but lower grip. Counter this by running them at about 20% lower pressure than for summer riding. If you don't have mud-guards, get some. Tyres are very efficient at spreading muck around. The water, snow or slush that hits you will make you wet, cold, and miserable.
Winter days are short. It is best to assume that you will be spending most of the time in the dark, and plan for that. Bright lights front and rear will increase your safety. Visibility is not just about lights; hi-vis reflective strips can be worn and/or attached to your bike. Temperatures affect batteries too. As soon as your lights start to dim, recharge them or use fresh batteries.
Using the road is different in the winter. Stay away from gutters. When it snows, stay well away.When it rains they are full of rubbish washed from road, and they are a mixture of slush, ice and debris in the snow. During the winter cars will tend to give you a wider berth, so move into the road. It's better to be an inconvenience than to be unsafe. Ride predictably, avoiding sudden movements, and be sure to use hand signals well in advance. Stay relaxed, let your arms, legs and body absorb shocks.
Watch out for areas of melted snow, as they often conceal black-ice. If your bike starts to slide, let it; you're riding more slowly (or should be) and with your extra clothing you have better padding. With the padding and your helmet you're only likely to bruise your ego.
Don't forget to keep hydrated and fed. Your body is as important as the bike you ride. Drink lots of fluid. In the winter you can often be dehydrated but not feel thirsty. Always have a meal or snack before you ride anywhere. Your body needs energy to work and to produce the heat you need to keep warm. Without this energy input, you will tire and lose concentration quickly.
Why not call us on 01482-851134 and let us service your bike for the winter? We can also offer advice on lights, helmets, security and accessories.
Call us today.
Claud Butler Cambridge
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