If you live in Medford, Oregon, and cycle to work year-round, there are few things you should do a little differently during the winter months. Consider an alternative mode of transportation if the roads become icy, and you can’t return home from work or get there on your bike.
- Plan your route to work and your route home in advance. Planning is a great way to create habits and help you gain the knowledge of the traffic patterns on your route.
- If you are underdressed in the winter, the lack of protection from the cold weather can become a distraction that puts you in danger.
- Have a bike lock ready in your bag, so you can lock up your bike and call for a ride if it is too cold or the road conditions are too hazardous for you to cycle.
- Wear layers, so you are prepared for changes in the weather while you are at work. Consider packable gear that is lightweight and is wind resistant.
- Warm-up before you get on your bike. Consider having a hot drink or warming up with a few exercises before you get on your bike this winter.
- Be as visible as possible. Most drivers are not expecting to see cyclists on the road when it is cold outside. Wear reflective clothing and install lights and reflectors on your bike. Invest in an excellent rear flasher and a headlight so that vehicles won’t miss you in the dark.
- Try to find another person or a group to ride to the same area you work in for a safer trip. When there is a group of cyclists, it is much harder to miss them versus just one person on a bike.
- If you get cramps or start losing momentum, pull over and handle it, rather than trying to fix the problem while riding on the streets. Being tired and pain can happen to anyone riding regularly, but it can also be a distraction!
- Avoid listening to your headphones while you cycle. You should be very aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t use your smartphone if you cycle. Avoid all electronic distractions while cycling.
Remember, during the winter months you become more vulnerable on a bicycle because drivers maybe less likely to see you. Stay alert and safe!