Late fall and early winter weather can certainly offer some challenging riding conditions. In addition to cooler temperatures we are also dealing with shorter periods of daylight. There have been tremedous advancements in bicycle lighting systems and these can make you safer and more visable. With the correct clothing and some good lights it easy and fun to get some of those final miles in.
Many riders simply head indoors and pull out the trainers while others ride the dirt roads and trails. The regular club rides become fewer but if you check the "Community" button at the top of the page you may find an organized ride that sounds interesting. If you are new to cycling the "Knowledge" button above has some great links to information and contacts to get you going the right direction fast.
In all weather and temperatures it is important to stay hydrated. It is important to drink while you are riding in cold weather too. The humidity is often much lower so we are losing moisture through breathing as well as perspiration. On longer rides always eat before you get hungry and drink before you get thirsty. It is much better to maintain energy and fluid levels then to try and recover after they are depleted. As the temperatures start to cool it is easy to forget to drink enough water. I try to drink at least one water bottle per hour and more when it is warm out.
The cell phone is one of the most significant improvements in cycling safety ever! Have yours with you on all rides. Keep it charged and have the phone numbers you need at hand. If you have a smart phone learn to use the navigation features and other apps that will help you stay on course and in touch. Many smart phones have tracking features, have someone close to you have their device set up to track you. In an emergency a couple of key strokes will pin point your location instantly.
Keep your your bicycle in shape. Be prepared for the unexpected. Check your tires regularly for wear and damage. Keep them inflated to the correct pressure for the type of riding you are doing. Make sure that you have a spare tube, pump, and you know how to use them. Always carry your cell phone!
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Don’t Toss Those Used Inner Tubes – Instead of sending them to landfills, recycle your bicycle inner tubes. They can be patched multiple times for use as spares. But, once they’re spent, they can still come in handy. Here are just a few suggestions:
Use them as no-scratch tie-downs for holding your bike to your car rack so it can’t sway and get damaged.
Cut pieces and wrap them around your right chainstay to protect it from chain slap, which can chip the paint.
Cut out two short sections and slip them over your frame pump to keep water and mud from fouling it.
Use strips from the tube to wrap the handles of your garden tools for a more comfortable grip.