Get Out Cycling! Winter Riding in Nanaimo

So you’re kitted up and your bike is prepared for winter’s cold, wet grip on our fair city.  Great!  Get out there and bike!

Ice

Early morning and late evening ice might occasionally be a problem, especially on the E&N Trail, where traffic is apt to be low.  Some tips:

  • Brake with the back wheel.  Braking with the front quickly breaks traction between the wheel and the ice.  You need your front to steer – steering means you can stay upright for longer.
  • Brake with short pumps of the brake.  Applying enough force to stop the wheel also means the wheel skids more.
  • Look for spots that are clear and dry to brake/turn if you can.
  • Keep upright and turn.  Slow down and turn slowly.
  • Try to keep going over ice instead of stopping.  A steady pace keeps you upright more reliably.

Rain

Since you’re going to ride in all kinds of rain, from drizzle to downpour, you’re going to be braking in it, too. Some tips:

  • Be especially alert when it’s raining after a dry spell.  This means the oil and grease on the roads will be flowing through your cycling path and can make braking and turning a little more hazardous.
  • Slow down well before you reach lights and stop signs.
  • Keep an eye out for the train tracks that run through town; hit them at a right angle if you need to cross – even if it means doing a weird swerve to get that position.
  • Resist the urge to ride through mud puddles; you can’t see if anything sharp is lurking at the bottom.
  • Keep a microfibre cloth handy if you have glasses; you might have to stop occasionally and wipe them off.

Get Outside

Given decent clothing, once you get moving, rain and cold really aren’t that bad.  Riding in the rain can be an amazingly empowering experience.  Nanaimo is roughly 20km long from Southgate Mall to Woodgrove Mall.  Most cyclists can ride that distance in an hour or so.  Embrace the rain!

Resources

http://www.icebike.org/winter-cycling-techniques-for-any-kind-of-snow-and-ice/

http://www.bicycling.com/training/motivation/its-time-embrace-riding-rain

http://www.bicycling.com/training/bike-skills/how-ride-rain

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