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Comments on How do I safely ride my road bike in the winter?

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How do I safely ride my road bike in the winter?

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It's November, and in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is fast approaching - and with it, the rain.

As a cyclist, I do occasionally enjoy taking my road bike out on the roads and just pedaling, without the added technical challenge that mountain biking involves. However, I've as yet not done this in the winter, because I'm a bit concerned about safety.

Even when it's not actively raining, the roads are often wet and slippery, and filled with small rocks that get washed across the asphalt. Heavy cloud cover means less visibility, both for me and any drivers on the road.

With this in mind, how can I prepare safely for a winter road bike ride? This includes bike preparation - lower tire pressure? - and personal preparation, such as clothing, as well as actual riding advice

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In terms of visibility, it's wise to have fallbacks. Wear a hi-vis jacket; carry spare batteries for your lights when possible; and check your local laws about wearing lights on your person. You can see when your front light is failing, but your rear light is behind you and probably below your saddle, so it's easy to miss that it's failing until you dismount. Many jurisdictions allow you to have a second rear light clipped to your hi-vis jacket: this gives you a fallback in case the main one fails, and also gives a higher position which can be visible from further. But there's variability: I know that in the UK a body-mounted rear light must be set to flash, but I have vague memories of another country where it had to be non-flashing, and I think there may be some where it should be green instead of red. You're also going to want to try to fix it to yourself in such a way that it's pointing behind you, rather than up or down, when you're in your primary cycling posture.

My experience is more urban, to get from A to B; I get a hint from the question that you're cycling in rural areas for pleasure, so this second point may not be relevant. In my experience, junctions are the biggest worry for visibility. My penultimate crash was into the side of a car whose driver pulled out of a side-street with only a quick glance for a car's headlights and didn't register my bike's single headlight. In rural areas a single light should be more visible, because it's not lost against the glow of streetlights.

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I should mention the terrain (1 comment)
I should mention the terrain
Mithical‭ wrote about 1 year ago

Ah, yes, I should mention that the roads I'm referring to are very rural, with long stretches of windy, hilly roads with no streetlights. That does change things slightly.

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