Riding in the off season:
With autumn comes a new set of cycling challenges. For those of us riding through Pacific Northwest winters, foul weather is wet weather. Happily the last several years have seen dramatic improvements in technology and in techniques for dealing with the wet.
After years of careful experimentation by some of the brightest minds in the cycling industry, we are now able to attach full, wrap-around fenders to any bicycle. This technology virtually eliminates spray from either front or rear tires. Not only does this keep your feet and lower legs dry, it helps keep your drive train clean and prevents you from spraying the rider behind you with filth. Fenders, when combined with appropriate clothing , Allow you to ride throughout the off season in comfort and safety.
Using the right equipment and clothing includes safety glasses with clear (for night) or yellow (for fog or rain) lenses and a helmet visor or cap with a bill to keep rain off your safety glasses. On long (2 hour plus) rain rides you should bring extra gloves so you can periodically replace your wet cold gloves with damp warm gloves. Remember that wet roads are slick and that your bicycle will not handle or stop as well as it did on dry pavement. Also never ride through puddles as they mask potholes or debris which can bring your ride to a catastrophic end.
If you look out your window and the scene is anything like this, we will be in the midst of sledding or a snow-ball fight to be followed by hot toddies next to a life-like gas fire. Riding on snow or ice is only fun until your wheel comes in contact with a hidden obstacle or until some wack-job in an SUV tries to defy the laws of physics in your direction. Otherwise bundle up and join the group rides leaving Lakeside Bicycles every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9 A.M. rain or shine. See you there.
For even more good advice regarding winter riding check out: Quality Bicycle Products Fall and Winter Commuting guide.