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Winter Cycling Tips for Your Fixie

Winter cycling is a great way to stay healthy and save money during the year’s coldest months. Yes, riding in Canada present lots of challenges (heavy snow, icy roads, piercing winds, frustrated drivers), but if you take the proper precautions, winter cycling and can be both safe and fun. Below, Regal has listed some tips to make your winter commute as easy as riding a fixie bike.

Prepare Your Bike

+ Wax the underside of your frame with car wax to protect it from slush, snow, and ice build-up; wipe your bike down after every ride
+ Clean and lubricate the chain often
+ Once a week, use rust-resistant aerosol lube on your seatpost hole and drainage holes to prevent ice from collecting inside your frame
+ Keep your bike covered even when parked
+ When possible, wash your fixie bike with hot water and let it dry before riding it again
+ Install knobby (for mild conditions) and/or studded (for harsh conditions) tires; traction in the front tire is most important if money is an issue
+ As in any season, use powerful lights and reflectors; check the lights often as batteries can fail in cold conditions

    Prepare Your Body

    + Cover your head with toques, balaclavas, facemasks, and earbands
    + Wear glasses or ski goggles to protect your eyes
    + The bottom of your helmet should fall the width of two fingers above your eyebrows; you may need to take some of your helmet’s padding out for it to fit
    + Ideally, you should wear bright-coloured clothes with reflective material when riding your fixed gear bicycle
    + Layer your clothing—the first layer is thin and removes perspiration from your skin; the second is breathable and meant for insulation; the third is a wind-deterrent jacket or shell
    + Wear tights and/or long underwear to protect your legs from the wind; rain pants will protect your legs from snow
    + Wear windproof and/or waterproof gloves
    + Wear winter or hiking boots; wet shoes mean wet, cold feet

      Ride Safely

      + Choose your route based on the day’s weather conditions; have alternative routes in mind
      + Give yourself extra time so that you can ride slowly
      + Pedal in low gears
      + Leave extra room for breaking
      + Never assume that drivers can see you
      + Busy streets tend to have less snow and ice, but always be aware of potholes, puddles, snow banks, streetcar tracks, etc.
      + Start slowly to let your joints and muscles warm up
      + Stay hydrated
      + If you encounter black ice, steer straight, do not pedal, and avoid breaking as this could lead to skidding
      + If you lose control of your bicycle, aim for a snow bank

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