With the first day of winter upon us, it's a good time to brush up on your winter riding survival skills.
Riding a bike is still the best way to get around in Canberra, even when the temperature dips below zero on frosty mornings.
Which other form of transport will get you where you need to go while warming you up at the same time?
It does take a little bit of encouragement to get started on those particularly cold mornings, but it is worth it. You might even find winter is your favourite time of year to get out on the bike.
Here are our top tips for winter riding in the ACT:
- Dress for the occasion. Gloves, beanie, and layers - it is likely you will want to be able to remove a layer or two once you have warmed up. Make sure your gear is windproof and waterproof, and not too bulky - you need to be comfortable as well as warm.
- Sunglasses. While it's not as bright as those warm summer months, the sun is far more insidious in winter. That is because it is lower in the sky, and the glare is more likely to affect your vision while riding or driving. Keep your sunglasses handy, and take it easy when you know the glare is at its worst, and likely to affect your vision while riding on shared paths and roads.
- Bike lights. Australian law requires bikes to be fitted with a white light at the front, and a red light and reflector at the back when you ride in the dark - and during winter there are far more hours of dark to contend with. Make sure your lights are fully charged, and most importantly, turned on before you set off.
- Mudguards. Because no one wants to arrive at their destination covered in dirt and grime from the road. Mudguards on your bike will not only protect you from spray coming off your wheels, but they can also protect those riding or walking nearby from your bike's spray.
- Maintenance. Keep your bike in good condition - tyres pumped, bike clean, chain oiled - and you should avoid running into mechanical trouble while riding in winter. If you're not across how to keep your bike maintained, book it in for a regular service at one of Canberra's wonderful local bike shops. Or if you'd like to learn how to do it yourself, book into a Pedal Power ACT bike maintenance course.
You should also make sure you have riding insurance all year round - while it's been proven that riding a bike is safer than home DIY, it's better to be safe than sorry. Rider insurance - like the type you get with your Pedal Power ACT membership - will put your mind at ease.
Every new Pedal Power ACT member in June-August will receive a free printed copy of the Canberra Walking and Riding Map, as well as all the other benefits that come with joining the ACT's biggest bicycle group. Sign up today!