A chill in air and the appearance of Christmas lights mean only one thing... winter is here! ❄️
But just because the nights are drawing in, it doesn’t mean that you need to put your family's bikes away...
In fact, cycling in the winter months is a great way to keep fit, especially when we are all spending less time outdoors being active... especially due to lockdown! 🚴♂️
If you're out and about cycling, these 5 tips should help you stay safe and have fun during your bike rides:
1: Ride a Reliable Bike 🚲
Clearly, cycling over winter means... shall we say, 'less enticing' weather? 😆 It's important to be prepared as the last thing you want is a bike that is unreliable and not designed to withstand the British rain.
These are the things to look out for when buying a bike that you can ride on cooler days:
1️⃣ Tyres: Arguably, the tyres are the most crucial part that determines a bike's performance. Over winter, it’s good to have tyres that are puncture resistant and have good grip. ✅
2️⃣ Mudguards: It goes without saying that when it rains, your bike will get muddy! Mudguards are designed to keep both you and the bike clean whilst cycling through busy cities or muddy terrains.🌲
3️⃣ Brakes: It's essential that you have brakes that can cope well in rainy or frosty weather. All of our kids bikes have dependable brakes, for example, the Squish bikes have brake levers that have been especially designed for small hands, and offer great braking performance.
Overall, the Forme bikes are excellent winter kids bikes. Since they’re made in the UK, they are created with the struggles of cycling during the winter in mind. They are made with all-weather Kenda tyres, ideal for any condition, and include a hidden headset to keep the components protected from the rain. 🌧
2: Use Bright Lights 🚨
When it comes to riding your bike in the British winter, good-quality, bright lights are not to be forgotton! As mentioned in our accessories guide, bike lights are a legal requirement in the UK when cycling in the dark.
Ultimately, you need to have lights that are bright enough for every road user to see you from all directions.
3: Keep Your Bike In Good Nick 🔧
Trust us, your bike will get dirty and need constant maintenance - but worry not, you don’t need to be a qualified mechanic to make sure your bike is safe and clean. Here are some things you can do yourself:
1️⃣ Frame & Tyres: If your bike gets muddy, give the frame a wash with hot soapy water and a sponge. When it comes to washing your tyres, using a bigger brush so you can get into the grooves where mud may be stuck. 🧽
2️⃣ Chain: For the chain, use a degreaser and turn the crank backwards so it is able to clean every link. After you have done this for 5 minutes, give it a quick rinse down with water, and a sponge if it needs extra wiping down. ⛓
3️⃣ Brakes: Over winter, you want to make sure your brakes are efficient. Make sure the brake pads are tight enough to be able to bring the bike to a stop. If available, place your bike in a work stand, spin the wheel and use the hand brakes to check the spinning stops straight away. ✋
If the brakes need adjusting, simply use an allen key to tighten the brake pads.
Tip: You may find it easier to take off the pedals and wheels to clean your bike.🔩
4: Wrap Up Warm 👕
We get it. When the cold bites, you’d much rather be inside with the heating on, drinking a hot chocolate... ☕️
That's why wearing plenty of layers to keep yourself warm and protected against the elements is vital - not only for your health, but also so you keep motivated 💪
We recommend having the correct clothing needed to go out, so that 'bad weather' never stops you from having fun on two wheels!
5: Plan Your Routes 🗺
To ensure you’re all kept safe on your family bike rides in the cold, it may be wise to plan your routes before you cycle.
Komoot is a great online service that allows users to plan routes.
Winter shouldn’t mean you can’t go out and cycle. Yes it provides more challenges, but that shouldn’t stop you from taking your bike out for a spin 👍
If you follow these 5 tips, we hope you agree that you'll be able to enjoy cycling on your own or as a family, whatever the conditions. ☺️