6 useful tips for cycling in winter
Even if the cold, dark season of winter is not exactly attractive for cycling, our woom bikes do not have to fall into deep hibernation during this period. With our practical tips, your children will be well prepared for a bike ride in winter.
1. Prepare your woom bike for the cold
The streets are often wet and slippery, but do not worry! We have several items that can prepare your woom bike for these conditions. Fenders reliably help against stains and moisture on a child’s back. And in order to see and be seen, our woom bike lights are a great choice. In addition to those items, you can use our customised reflective stickers (which also add an individual touch).
Depending on the use, switching to slightly wider tires can also make sense, so that the bike feels less "spongy". And why not get your woom bike a rainproof saddle cover?
2. Dress in layers
When getting ready for winter cycling, it is very important that you keep your head, hands, feet and torso in mind. Since most of the heat is lost through the head, we recommend you wear a balaclava or cap underneath your helmet. The woom tube scarf made of merino wool has you covered. It can be worn on the neck or the head as a balaclava or cap and the Merino wool perfectly adapts to your body temperature and absorbs moisture. Our warm winter gloves offer a firm grip on the handlebar and are an absolute must have for the cold.
In order to protect the body effectively against dampness and cold, wearing several layers is recommended. The outer layer should be breathable and lightweight. This helps protects against moisture and the resulting cold. Thermal socks will keep your toes warm, and we've also found that taking a second pair of socks on your trip can save the day!
3. Be visible
Good visibility is not just a “nice to have” but also recommended by law. In Germany you will find all information about this topic in the StVO, in Austria this is regulated by law. But even without the finger of the law it is probably common sense that bikes with lights are going to make the rider more visible. Here are a few essentials:
- A white, non-flashing headlight and reflectors at the front (keep in mind that a headlamp is not sufficient because it can shine in the wrong direction). The light must be firmly connected to the bike.
- A red rear light and a reflector at the back.
- Spoke reflectors or reflective strips on the tires (elongated spoke clips are also allowed). Current woom bikes are factory-equipped with high quality tires and reflective sidewalls.
- Reflectors on the sides of the pedals.
Bright and reflective clothing is also a must have! Particularly suitable is a reflector band on the pant leg, as the pedalling motion is a clear characteristic of a cyclist.
The woom helmet is equipped with reflective elements as it is the highest and most visible point on a cyclist.
Another tip: Before leaving, always make sure that the wheel light or its batteries are charged!
4. Start warmed up
In the cold winter months, warming-up is ever more important. The body slows down and takes longer to heat up. Before getting on the bike, take a few minutes to warm up together, increase your heartrate and get your blood flowing to prevent colds and injuries!
If there is no time to warm up, it is recommended to start with a low gear. This has the positive effect that your body warms up more quickly due to the higher pedal frequency.
5. Plan the route
Especially with children, you should think about where to go before the trip. Winter tours should be shorter than usual. The cold drains your energy faster and as a result the riding speeds are usually lower. By planning in advance, factors like light conditions, weather and traffic can be taken into consideration.
6. Take care of your bike
Salt, rain and snow are not your bike’s best friend. Therefore, your children should properly clean their woom bike after every ride. After cleaning, check the chain, gears, shifter, brakes and rims with your children and clean them again if necessary. During the winter season, after every second or third ride, the chain should be cleaned and re-greased. Furthermore, the brake pads must be regularly checked for signs of wear and get replaced if necessary. And if you're already busy greasing - the bike lock mechanism regularly needs 1-2 drops of oil to make sure it does not get stuck in the cold.
Here is some final advice:
- Reducing the air pressure in the tires prevents you from slipping in wet conditions.
- While driving around a corner you should not slow down or accelerate. Instead, gently slow down before you get to the corner and do not lean into the curve.
- Take care when braking on loose gravel.
- Lower the saddle a little. Being a few centimetres closer to the ground will allow you to place your feet on the ground more quickly and safely.
- Ride to the conditions. You should lower your speed as your braking distance is longer and cornering is more slippery.
- Beware of wet markings on the asphalt, wet tram tracks, wet manhole covers and wet foliage. These can be especially slippery.
- No bike likes to be left outdoors all winter - in the basement or hallway it is protected against dirt and rust attacks.
- Sturdy and grippy shoe will help prevent slippery soles (no sandals or dress shoes).
We wish you a warm, fun and safe winter adventure!
Your woom team