Get in Gear: Tips For Safe & Fun Bike Riding Year Round
As you may know, we love to ride our bikes, both for commuting to work and errands, and exploring Oregon’s beautiful Rogue Valley. Standing Stone Brewing Co even provides free bikes to employees to encourage bike commuting and we host a sidewalk café in front of our brewery for International Car Free Day in Ashland, OR.
From late fall through early spring, when precipitation, colder temperatures and shorter days present themselves, it can be a little more challenging to conjure up that pedal power. Yet, there are lots of benefits for those who get in gear, including saving gas money, getting free exercise and helping the environment.
- Layer up: Dress in layers you can remove as you heat up through your ride. Get durable apparel that can withstand the elements and that will last many years. Check out thrift stores or purchase items made with recycled materials to keep your pedaling light on the planet.
- Stay dry: It’s essential to have water-resistant or waterproof pants and a jacket. Getting wet chills you to the core…brrr. Savvy shoppers can score good snow pants and such at secondhand shops, saving money and reducing your environmental footprint.
- Coddle your hands and feet: Extremities get cold first, so they need extra TLC. Wear warm socks, and good shoes and gloves.
- Lighten up: Get bright lights for the front and back of your bike—and yourself—so you can see and be seen.
- Watch out: Look ahead for ice, puddles and other hazards so you can avoid them.
- Ride responsibly: Learn the rules of the road for bicyclists and follow them, year round. This maximizes safety and mutual respect for everyone.
- Get handy: Take a basic maintenance class so you know how to fix flats and other inevitable bumps in the road, and what tools and supplies you should have for riding.
- Prepare…for the unexpected: Give yourself extra time to get to your destination…no matter what your form of transport! Keep extra clothing at work or pack it. Carry spare batteries for lights (we love rechargeables), basic tools, water and a snack. Have a back up plan to get where you need to go if the weather makes cycling unsafe or not possible.
- Enjoy the ride: Take in the fresh air and beautiful scenery and think about the financial, wellness and planetary benefits that add up with each turn of your wheels.
- Learn and share: Ask other riders for their secrets to success and share yours. Check out these tips from our friends at RVTD and an article with ideas and inspiration from committed cyclists.