You don't have to put the bike away this winter!
Just because the clocks have changed, you don't need to consign the bike to the back of the shed! Getting yourself correctly dressed and with the right equipment is the key to cycling safely in the winter.
Follow these tips to keep you safe while you're cycling in the winter months...
Can you spot which of these journeys is illegal?
Be a shining example - use your head AND your lights!
CYCLING IN THE DARK
What the law says:
In the UK cyclists on public roads must use lights and reflectors between the hours of sunset and sunrise – even if it is still light.
If you are riding without lights during these times you are breaking the law and putting yourself and other road users in danger.
The UK law states that, between sunset and sunrise, bikes must have:
- White front light
- Red rear light
- Red rear reflector
- Yellow pedal reflectors – front and rear on each pedal
Lights can be flashing or steady, or a mixture of both. The flash rate must be between 60 and 240 flashed per minute.
We recommend that you use lights during daylight in the winter as well – cyclists can disappear into the mist or drizzle on a grey day, especially if they’re not wearing bright clothing. It’s the same advice you’d give a driver using the car on a winter’s day.
CYCLING IN THE RAIN
What DO you need to cycle in the rain?
- A waterproof jacket and trousers - a good poncho can keep you entirely dry in a downpour - wear bright, reflective clothing to add to your visibility on dark rainy days!
- Quality cycle lights - it's the law that bicycles have to have lights on public roads between the hours of sunset and sunrise. Road safety in the darker winter months starts with being seen, therefore cycle lights are worth investing in.
- Mudguards - great for keeping you dry and dirt free when you're heading on to work or school!
- Waterproof panniers (bike bag) - during the winter months, the best ones are completely waterproof (dry sack material often made from the same material that lorry tarps are constructed from). This ensures your outfit for work or school stay dry and clean!
- Change your mind about the weather and fresh air! If you give it a go we almost guarantee that you will feel better for getting out and about.
CYCLING IN THE SNOW AND ICE
With the right preparation, you can ride year-round, even though the deepest, snowy wintery days. This article from road.cc includes advice for preparing your bike with the right tyres, pedals and clothing, how to ride as well as what to do when you encounter an icy patch! NEWS FLASH - new snow can actually be fun to cycle in!
Will your bike be up to it? Have a chat to staff at your local Tees Valley cycle hub about getting your bike winter-ready.
Brits love to talk about the weather, but how bad is it and how do we compare?
England gets around 850mm of rain annually, Middlesbrough gets 646mm. Middlesbrough 13.1 average wind speed compared to Amsterdam (a cycling mecca), who get an average of 805mm per year, and average wind speeds during the windier parts of the year of 12.9 miles per hour.
So, let's be more Northern and get ourselves out more in the winter either walking or cycling more. If you can walk it, most likely you can cycle it. So you choose!