Here in Ireland, we are currently awaiting what’s known as the ‘Beast from the East’ which is a storm anticipated to hit Ireland in the next 48 hours with harsh weather conditions and snow. While many are taking to the local shops to stock up on the essentials – bread, milk, and potatoes, others are planning to brave the harsh weather and venture out on their bikes and cycle despite the promise of snow. We applaud any cyclist who is planning to brave the storm (even if it is just with the dedication to the #2828challenge) as it won’t be pleasant. But don’t worry we’ve got 10 top tips to aid with your trek through the snow!
1. Dress for the conditions – As the weather is not typical in Ireland you may not have the proper attire to ensure you stay as warm as possible on your trip. Layering is vital in keeping you as warm as possible, so pull out as many under tops and lycra shorts as possible and wear them with everything! Don’t forget your hands and feet, these exposed areas are worth paying extra attention to. Wearing high-quality gloves will also give you more control as you can feel your hands rather than them going numb.
2. Change your tyres – different tyre choices are suitable for different conditions, for the snowy weather we suggest a wider tyre and adjust your tyre pressure accordingly. Studded tyres are the best at keeping grip with icy conditions.
3. Beware cycle tracks may not be gritted – If cycle tracks are not gritted then try to stick to the gritted main roads where possible and safe to do so! The gutters may be the frozen over so try to avoid driving in the gutters if possible.
4. Be visible – We know that accidents can still occur when visible but to ensure you are seen in reduced visibility we suggest you wear a hi-viz jacket and ensure your bicycle has lights. In such weather, it is worth taking these steps for your own safety.
5. Avoid sudden moves – When cycling, try to avoid sudden braking. Try to avoid using the front brake and sudden changes in direction as both may lead to loss of traction and a fall.
6. Be aware of cars – Cars are driving in icy weather conditions too which unfortunately make cyclists even more vulnerable. Be aware of vehicles around you as they may also hit icy patches and lose control.
7. If you need to dismount – do! – With icy weather conditions you may hit patches where cycling is not safe, do not take the risk. Dismount from your bike and walk until you feel it is safe enough to cycle again.
8. Adjust your riding position – Lowering your saddle by 5mm can lower your centre of gravity and lead to a safer ride with more control. The opportunity to put your foot to the ground quickly to stop a fall is also a benefit to this.
9. Wash your bike after your ride – Snow and slush can often lead to dirty water being splashed all over your bike. To avoid corrosion or damage clean your bike after your ride to ensure it is in perfect working order for the next time.
10. Allow extra time for your journey – Cycling in the snow will be a slower experience than your usual commute. Plan ahead for this, leave earlier to ensure you are not rushing with these harsh conditions as cycling too fast may inevitably lead to more falls and accidents.