5 tips for cycling in the fall and winter

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      (This story is sponsored by HUB Cycling)

      By Rianna Fiorante 

      Ah, that time when the smell of homemade soup and colourful fall leaves take over Metro Vancouver. Fall is here once again. 

      For some people, that means it’s time to put away their bike for the winter until next spring. But, cycling doesn’t need to stop when the summer ends. With a little planning and prep, cycling can still be fun, safe, and comfortable year-round. 

      HUB Cycling’s Go by Bike Weeks returns to Metro Vancouver for two weeks next week from October 16 to 29, and participants can register for the free community event at bikehub.ca/gbbw

      Go by Bike Week is a celebration of cycling, where HUB Cycling encourages everyone in Metro Vancouver to give cycling a try, and motivates those that already do to keep riding. By logging your bike trips online at bikehub.ca/gbbw during the event, participants are entered to win great prizes like an electric bike, gift cards from Park Royal, apparel from Arc’teryx, an outfit from DUER, and more.

      To get ready for the event, try these tips to make your transition into the year-round cycling club a breeze:

      1) Outfit your bike and yourself for colder weather

      The best part of fall and winter riding is the accessories. 

      You don’t have to go out and buy all the high-end waterproof and reflective gear just to ride in the fall and winter; whatever keeps you warm and dry should be at the top of the list. HUB Cycling loves merino wool, neckwarmers, gloves, and stashing an extra pair of socks in our bags, but fall and winter cycling gear is as unique as the number of people that ride throughout these months. 

      If you live in Metro Vancouver, you probably already own most of this gear! A universal choice, however, would be a set of fenders to keep your back end dry and splash free, and dressing in layers helps on those days when you can’t quite decide if it’s going to pour, or break into sunshine midday. If you’re looking for a little more guidance, check out the Commuting by Bike Checklist.

      2) Stay visible with bike lights

      Did you know that studies have shown that using bike lights during the day lowers your risk of collision with a motor vehicle by 47 per cent? 

      Especially during the fall and winter months when the sun sets earlier, it's important to keep yourself safe with a front white light and a rear red light when riding your bike.

      Read more light tips to keep you safe here

      3) Plan your bike route before your ride

      Sharing the road with heavy vehicle traffic can ruin the joy of a bike ride. Plan a safe ride on separated bike routes to work, school, the grocery store, or wherever you’re going with HUB Cycling’s free regional cycling maps at bikehub.ca/maps.

      TransLink’s Metro Vancouver cycling map classifies bike routes with comfort level categories that range from comfortable for most, comfortable for some, and comfortable for few. 

      Comfortable for Most routes include bike routes separated from vehicle traffic and bike routes sharing the road with vehicle traffic at reduced speeds. 

      4) Attend HUB Cycling’s Free Fall and Winter Cycling Webinar

      HUB Cycling’s bike education team is running two free Fall & Winter Cycling webinars on Thursday, October 12 from 12 to 1pm PST and Thursday, October 20 from 12 to 1pm PST. 

      The webinar course will cover everything you need to know about cycling in fall and winter riding conditions. Participants will learn about outfitting their bikes and themselves for fall and winter riding, advanced cycling safety, cold-weather care for their bike, and route planning considerations. Register for free here

      5) Give your bike some TLC with some winter maintenance

      Your bike needs some special winter TLC during these months, so consider cleaning your rims before riding (to increase stopping power) and degreasing and lubing your drivetrain more often. Bonus points if you can wipe down your bike to clean off some of the dirt, grit, and possible salt from the frame and components after particularly wet rides. If you’re in doubt about whether your bike is winter-ready, or need advice about how to maintain it throughout the season, pay your local bike shop a visit.

      HUB Cycling will also be running 28 Celebration Stations equipped with knowledgeable bike mechanics, free snacks, cycling information, and good vibes during the first week of Go by Bike Week. Stop by for free quick fixes or to get your bike assessed for bigger jobs. Find a station in your neighbourhood here.  

      HUB Cycling’s Go by Bike Week is back in Metro Vancouver next week from October 16 to 29, and participants can register for the free community event at bikehub.ca/gbbw. Your participation is important because it helps HUB Cycling show decision-makers that there is demand for better and safer cycling infrastructure in Metro Vancouver.