Cycling through winter
Early darkness, icy conditions, wetness and fog: Passionate cyclists don't leave their bikes in the garage even in the cold half of the year, but should now pay attention to a few things.
Because cycling in winter weather poses several problems: on the one hand, the body must be protected from the wet and cold - but the thick clothes, hat, and scarf partially restrict the usual freedom of movement and the field of vision. At the same time, the driving and braking behavior on wet or even icy roads is different than usual. And then because of the early darkness, reflections on wet roads and fog you see less well than usual and are more easily overlooked by other road users. Under these difficult circumstances, cycling can quickly lead to accidents, which in the worst case can lead to permanent physical impairments.
Legally required are lights and reflectors at the front and rear as well as reflectors on tires, spokes, and pedals.
Proper clothing is also important for a safe journey: it is best to choose bright, reflective colors. A reflective safety vest or a shoulder strap additionally improves visibility. When choosing clothes, the rule applies: the main thing is to be seen. It is essential to wear reflective clothing or a safety vest. The gloves should also be provided with reflectors. In the dark, hand signals are better perceived before turning. So that the head stays warm and dry, Hoffmann advises to pull a rain hood over the helmet or to seal open helmets with adhesive tape.
For the journey itself, it is important to drive carefully and slowly. Damp leaves or freezing moisture can make cycle paths slippery. To reduce the risk of slipping, cyclists should avoid abrupt dangling and sharp braking maneuvers. It can also help to let some air out of the tires. This increases the contact area of the bike. If you roughen the pedals with emery paper, you also have a better grip when they are wet. And a bicycle helmet is, of course, indispensable, especially in the cold season.
Last but not least, the bike should be serviced regularly. Cold, wet, and road salt are a problem for the technology - no matter how robust the model is. Hoffmann recommends lubricating the Bowden cables well with thin oil or Teflon grease so that the brakes and gears do not become stiff. Greased screws and levers, as well as the bicycle lock, belong to it so that they do not freeze in frosty temperatures. However, there is little help if the chain slips. This can happen quite quickly when there is slush if ice sits between the cracks. In general, the following applies: The brake pads must be replaced at the latest when the transverse grooves are no longer visible.
Where is the best place to drive in ice and snow?
Avoiding: Cycle paths only need to be cleared or scattered if they are considered to be important for traffic or if it is known to be a dangerous stretch of road. If a cycle path is not scattered or cleared of ice and snow, but the road is, the cyclist can also switch to the road.