— Steven (@_stevenbaxter) November 23, 2015
The first day of Winter is December 22nd and it is fast approaching. Now is the best time to prepare ourselves and our electric bikes / electric bike kits for some frigid temperatures. I love winter, although I have the darndest time acclimatizing to the colder temps as they drop in the Fall months. As I type I am sitting at my desk with a space heater and blanket just to stay warm indoors. Funny thing is, by early February I don’t even bother putting on a coat when I go outside because I am then acclimatized and the cold no longer bothers me. We are talking about the Northern Utah mountains at the LEED E-Bike Headquarters. It’s wicked cold!
chris on a bicycle, i've got 5 layers on and i'm still shivering, too cold to be going to work #hellowinter
— Laura Wilson (@lauraeewils) October 21, 2011
When it comes to biking in the winter, here are some key points to help prepare for the cold – to dress appropriately, for our e-bike kits – to endure the wet season, and our bikes – to endure the salt and sand melt. Just today I looked out my back window and saw a fellow all bundled up in 36 degrees riding his road bike on a chilly-beautiful sunny day. That made me realize there is no snow on the roads and some trail systems are still open. …And yes we should be out there riding even though it is a bit cooler! So, here are some Winter riding reminders so you don’t become this guy…
WINTER, MEET LAYERS
To prepare for a cold ride may I suggest layers. With layers you can add or remove whatever the case may be based on moisture, temperature and wind. The core base layer should be thin wool, polyester or Lycra. These are great in that they will wick the sweat off your skin. This helps you stay warm and not get the chill that a little sweat against your skin can give you. For example, cotton holds the moisture and will tend to not dry quickly which can give you a chill. You don’t want to be far from home or the office and get cold or hypothermic. It is especially important to protect our head, neck and core. Heat escapes from the head and if the core is warm overall it is easier to keep the extremities warm as well. A balaclava is great for the head in that is a full head wrap and fits nice under a helmet and some will also cover the neck. I’ve succumbed to brain freeze before from the cold air coming in through the top of my helmet and on my forehead, brrrrr.
For the next layer, wear a short sleeve biking jersey with some arm warmers. Again, think layers. For the legs add insulated leggings. Then pile on the gear such as a long sleeved jersey, a windproof/waterproof jacket.
For the hands, wear insulated full fingered gloves. One to two pairs of socks and – if desired – shoe covers that fit right over your shoes. I suggest having one of our carrier bags to store more layers or to shed layers if need be. Keep in mind to start off dressed with a little less than you think you should be because your body will warm up along your ride. All this preparation will allow you to ride in the colder months through Fall and Winter and into Spring. So cover those fingers, toes and head and get out there.
WINTER, MEET E-BIKE KITS
Can you use your e-bike kit in the rain, snow and colder temps? Heck yes, you can. It is water resistant but not necessarily water proof. Please do not drop it in a swimming pool. However, we have many customers who live in rainy climates, and with the right precautions, you CAN use your e-bike kit in the rain. The battery is designed in a fully enclosed insulated and sealed capsule as well as a denier bag for extra protection, however, this only makes the battery system water resistant and it is possible it could be damaged in extremely wet conditions. Notice the wire openings are not 100% sealed. If you think you will encounter wet roads or conditions on your bike, it would be wise to invest in one of our LEED Weatherproof E-Bike Battery Frame Bags or a Revelate Frame Bag.
For cold temps we suggest you store your battery on your bike in a bag that does not cause your battery to sweat, and does not allow in too much of the cold. While in motion, your battery should be able to withstand nearly any temperature, however, you need to take extra precautions when your bike is not in motion. Don’t ever leave your battery outside in extreme temperatures. As soon as you finish your ride, remove the battery and bring it inside your home or office.
WINTER, MEET BIKE CARE
Some tips on your bike itself in the colder months. CLEAN TWICE AS OFTEN! My Dad always said if you take care of your car it will take care of you. I believe the same is true when it comes to taking care of our bikes. Take care of the bike and it will take care of you. Wipe down your bike immediately when you get back from a winter bike ride. After a good hot shower and some soup, return to the bike. Give the bike a thorough wash. Then wax the frame with car wax to protect the paint and it will make cleaning easier after your next ride.
Chain Rule: If you clean your chain once a month during the rest of the year, clean it at least once a week during winter riding. If you clean it once a week, clean it after every other ride. I suggest a tooth brush and a good spin of the chain to get out salt and small rocks, salt, sand, dust and dirt that accumulates from roads and trails. This maintenance will only take a few minutes but will save time and money down the road.
Rim Wear: Sand and ice will stick to your rims and cause poor brake performance as well as faster pad and rim wear. Unless you consider braking to be optional, brush off the rims and pads after every ride and pick grit out of the pads. Use a soft damp cloth to spin the rim through.
Remove Water, Add Lube: Once clean, use WD-40 to displace water in hard-to-reach places, such as the cable guides. Lube all pivot points, chain and cables.
The above steps may appear time consuming but over time you will have a better performing bike and in turn a better ride!
The Not-So-Necessary Joke. My Grandma wanted to improve her fitness, so I got her a bike for her 65th birthday. She loved it and started cycling 20 miles a day. The problem is now she is 85 and no one knows where she is. Bahahahahaha!!!