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Virginia Tech News / Articles / 2018 / February 

12 ways for Hokie cyclists to stay winter ready

February 5, 2018

Winter Riding

The Hokie Bike Hub serves as a bicycle maintenance and commuter education center. This winter, the Bike Hub wants to ensure that Hokies are safe on their bicycles. Follow the Bike Hub's tips below. 

ON YOUR BIKE

1. Winter maintenance

Keeping your chain, gear cassette, shifters, and cables lubricated is especially important as weather becomes colder and wetter. Keeping your bike clean is also extremely important, as road salt can cause corrosion on bike frames and other parts. Make sure to keep a close eye on the conditions of your brakes. All maintenance can be done at the Hokie Bike Hub!

2. Lighten up

It is Virginia Law for cyclists to have at least a front light and back reflector after sunset. This is especially important when the days are shorter and the weather leads to decreased visibility. Good lights will help catch the attention of motorists who may not be looking for cyclists in the colder seasons.

3. Tires

Thicker tires with deep tread are generally considered better for riding on the ice and snow. A temporary and easy solution for more traction is to put zip ties around your tire and rim.

4. Fenders

Fenders defend you and your bike from water, mud, road salt and snow. You can find a variety of fenders, including easy strap-on ones. There are even ways online to make your own! The staff at the Hokie Bike Hub can help with fender installation!

5. The plastic bag trick

If you have a seat that retains water, an easy and affordable trick is tying a plastic grocery bag over your seat to keep your saddle dry.

ON YOU

Bundle up

6. Layers

Layer up! It is best to wear a core fabric that wicks away sweat to stay dry; cottondoes the opposite of this and is considered a poor core fabric choice. An insulating middle layer covered by a rainproof outer layer typically will keep you warm most winter days. Although, extra layers may be needed for the especially chilly days.

7. Skin coverage

Your ears, hands, and face suffer most when riding in the cold. Lobster gloves or mittens paired with a scarf or a balaclava provide good skin coverage. Don’t forget a warm hat or headband to wear under your helmet to retain body heat and protect your ears!

8. Shoe covers

Warm socks are a must in cold temperatures, but shoe covers, especially when roads are wet, are an additional way to keep your feet warm and dry. You can buy shoe covers or even make your own out of a waterproof material.

9. Eyewear

Glasses, sunglasses, ski goggles, and even your lab goggles are all candidates to protect your eyes from bugs, dust, wind, rain, and snow.

ON THE ROAD

10. Black ice isn’t nice

Save yourself from slipping by being careful of black ice. It’s good to remember to ride slowly and freely and to only use your rear brake if needed for more control on the ice.

11. Snow and leaves cover debris

Snow and leaves not only can hide sharp trash and slick ice, but also potholes and curbs. Use extreme caution when navigating these road obstacles!

If the weather does get the best of you, RIDE Solutions offers a free guaranteed ridehome program for people who use alternative transportation. More information can be found on their website: https://ridesolutions.org/commuters/guaranteed-ride-home/

If you have any questions feel free to contact the Alterative Transportation Office at 540-231- 2116, gettingaround@vt.edu, or in person at 1330 Perry St. from Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m..

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