Riding in the Cold? Consider this…
By: Ric Case
Senior Road Captain
Cold tires are slippery. Cold road surfaces are slippery. Combine the two and you need to be extra cautious. Solution: let the tires warm up and the road surfaces temperature increase for at least fifteen minutes before making any aggressive moves.
Remember: A burn out only warms the tires not the road surface.
The air temperature maybe be warm but are the road surfaces? Is there still frost or moisture in the shadows? We always avoid leaves, but it’s especially important when the cold sets in. Leaves can be even more dangerous with frost on the underneath side of them.
Riding at night in the cold complicates things because of all the additional conditions you need to observe. Because of limited visibility, you increase your risk, so slow down and continue to use aggressive scanning techniques.
Hypothermia can set in at 72 degrees, let alone when it is in the 30s or even 40s so dress warm and with extra and additional layers. Don’t allow any of your skin to be exposed to the cold air, as frostbite can become a concern. Symptoms of frostbite include numbness, pain, or itching of exposed skin, yellow or pale coloring of skin, and eventually even blistering of the skin. If you begin to feel any of these symptoms stop and warm up as soon as you can and as often as possible.
Riding into the sun in the morning or the evening is also a precarious situation. If you are forced to ride directly into the sun, use lane positioning to minimize your direct vision into the sun. The other time of day, when visibility is limited and suspect, is at dusk. The light can play tricks on your vision. And along with vision considerations, fogging of your helmet shield is usually a cool moist weather problem. Solution: Spit saliva on the inside of the shield and rub it to prevent or at least minimize fogging.
Also, in these cold weather, late fall days, animals that herd are on the move. Reduce to a walking speed when they are present or an area where they are prevalent.
Riding in the cold weather can be enjoyable and even fun if you are prepared and have thought about all the possible circumstances you may encounter and the consequences. So, these are just some tips to try to make your cold weather ride a little safer and more comfortable.