Winterproofing Your Bike Can Help Prevent Bicycle Accidents
Winter comes with a number of challenges for the bicycle rider. Cold and wet weather is only one of the problems. Sometimes, dense fog can reduce visibility to a few feet, increasing the chances of collisions with cars. In high altitude areas, the tracks are often coated with a sheet of snow and ice, making them wet and slippery. Therefore, every avid bicyclist should get their bicycle ready for winter before winter sets in. If you are injured in an accident, do not hesitate to talk to a bicycle accident lawyer.
Here are seven ways to winterproof your bicycle:
- Give your bike a thorough wash
If you are not in the habit of washing your bike regularly, it has probably collected a layer of dirt and grime in the crankset, chain, derailleur and brakes. More mud and grit will be added to the layer in winter, compromising your bike’s performance. So the first step in winterproofing your bike is to give your bike a thorough wash. Wash the bike thoroughly with soapy water and use a sponge or a brush to remove the remove the dirt and grime.
- Keep the chain lubricated
It is very important to keep the chain lubricated in winter to prevent squeaking and rusting. There are basically two types of bicycle lubes. Wet lubes last longer, but they can cause mud and grit to stick to the chain. Dry lubes do not last as long as wet lubes, but they are great for keeping the chain clean. Lubricate the drivetrain before riding in winter and add more lube before the chain begins to squeak.
- Make sure the tires have the right air pressure
Flat tires are more common in winter because of the sharp flints and pieces of broken glass washed up to the surface by rainwater. The easiest way to prevent cuts, gashes and holes is the make sure that you have the right tire pressure at all times. As a general rule, tire pressure should be a little lower in wet weather to avoid slipping and skidding. Invest in a high quality pump to ensure that you can easily and quickly inflate the tires when needed. If it is possible, consider replacing the tires with studded tires or tires fitted with winter treads.
- Have your bike fitted with mudguards
You may not like mudguards for aesthetic reasons, but they are great for keeping your bike clean and your legs and back free of mud and grit. If you bike has enough space between the wheels and the frame tubes, then you can go for full-length mudguards. If it hasn’t, then there are those that can be clipped on any bike. These can be easily removed if you don’t want them.
- Check the brakes to ensure that they are winter worthy
Your bike’s braking system is a vital part of your safety measures. But not all brakes are good for winter. Rim brakes can freeze on wet and snowy days. If your bicycle has rim brakes, the replace them with disk brakes or hub brakes. Disk brakes are a little heavier and may also require some adjustments in the frame design, but the excellent braking they provide will save your life on a rainy or snowy day.
- Make sure the lights are working properly
You will need lights that will not let you down on gloomy and overcast days. But winter is just the season when your bike’s lights often fail to light up the road because the drop in temperature can adversely reduce the performance of the batteries. So make sure that your bicycle’s lights are working properly. Replace the bulbs and batteries if they are too old. If you don’t mind spending a few more dollars, buy a headlight that can be fixed to your helmet when riding.
- Check the drivetrain to ensure that it is in good condition
Since the drivetrain of your bicycle transmits the power of your legs to the wheels, you will have a very tough time riding if any component is clogged with mud, rusted, jammed or broken. Check the crankset, derailleurs, chain and other components to make sure that they are in good working condition. The chain can suffer the most wear and tear; therefore, have it checked by a mechanic or do it yourself with a chain checker tool. If any part is rusted, worn out or damaged, then replace it.
Even after winterproofing, you may still slip, skid, fall or collide into a car or a pedestrian. If you are injured in an accident, phone a bicycle accident lawyer immediately to explore your options.