Dashing through the snow...on a two-wheeled bicycle. It just doesn't have quite the same ring, does it? Let's be honest, when the temps drop and white stuff starts to fall, we tend to pack away our bikes until the spring thaw. However, winter biking is quite possible, provided you have the right bike and the right gear. Not only will riding through the winter keep up your conditioning, we have a feeling it will make you even tougher. Don't lose the momentum you've been building - stay in the saddle!
The first item to tackle when considering winter riding is finding the right bike. And the first question to ask when looking for the right bike is "what do I want to do?" Commuters need to consider the fact that all that snow and salt and muck can be rather tough on an exposed drivetrain. This is why many winter commuters find simpler is better, and often choose to ride a single-speed bike. However, many different styles of bikes - from mountain to touring to hybrid bikes - with the right tires can work in winter conditions. Cyclocross bikes in particular are built for varying conditions, although might not be the best choice in deep snow.
If you're hitting the trails in the winter months there's nothing better - or more fun - than a fat bike. These bikes are made for dashing through the snow, and with the right cold weather gear, you might even find winter riding on the trails even more enjoyable than summer riding.
The first gear you need to consider is gear for your bike. Winter days are much shorter, so as a commuter you're much more likely to be riding in the dark. You're going to want your bike lit up as well or better than a Christmas tree to make sure motorists see you. Invest in good lights. Secondly, you're going to want to consider fenders. Trust us, there's nothing worse than getting pelted with winter slush. Lastly, just like you change out your car tires (if you're smart) for winter driving, you're going to want winter weather tires for your bike. There are even studded tires on the market now. Stop in for advice on the best tires for your bike and riding conditions.
Secondly, you need to consider the gear you need to be comfortable riding in the cold. Leg warmers, arm warmers, good gloves, a cap for under your helmet, and shoe covers are a must. Layers that keep you dry are the key here. If you're tackling the trails on a fat bike, you'll want to look into cycling boots. Toasty toes mean you'll be able to last on the trails much longer.