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Seven ways to bike safely through the winter

Winter is no reason to give up one of your favorite hobbies. Biking is a great way to burn calories and enjoy time outside. Not to mention, it sure beats sitting in a traffic jam caused by snow. Though riding a bicycle is a little more challenging during the winter, there are a few things you can do to help keep yourself safe during the winter months.

Layer up

If you have spent many winters in Colorado, you probably already understand the importance of layers during winter months. When you ride a bike, layers become even more important. Gear Junkie recommends you start with a base layer to wick sweat away, followed by a layer of fleece and then a jacket that both windproof and waterproof. For your bottom half, you can wear a regular pair of pants covered by a wind resistant pair of pants, like ski pants.

Protect your extremities

With your hands on the handlebars, your fingers are constantly exposed to the elements. Invest in a nice pair of mittens or ski gloves. Snow boots are usually the best call for winter riding. You just want to make sure you can pedal properly with your boots.

Pick the right bike

If you have a single speed bike, this might be a wise choice for winter biking. Sand, salt and ice can gather on your suspension and gears. The fewer moving parts your bike has, the less you will have to clean and worry about damaging.

Stay vigilant

Drivers are less likely to expect bikers on the road during the winter. Snow may also make it harder to see you on a bike. Whenever you can, make eye contact with a driver. Never cut in front of a driver when conditions are slick. The driver may not be able to slow down as quickly.

Change your tires

You can buy carbide-studded tires made specifically for biking in the snow. These tires will give your bike more grip. Fat tires also allow you to get more traction on snow or icy roads, and you may be able to avoid ruts that would catch a skinnier tired bike.

Keep your bike in the garage

Gear Junkie also recommends that you store your bike in the garage. A bike that is stored inside, and therefore warmer, will form ice on gears and brakes more quickly when driving through fresh snow.

Ride close to public transit

Even if you biked into work, the conditions could have gotten much worse as the day progressed. There are just some conditions you should not try to bike in. If you bike close to a public transit route, you can always take a bus or train home, since you can bring your bike on these forms of transportation.

Riding your bike during the winter is more dangerous. However, you can help prevent bicycle accidents by adhering to these safety tips.

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