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Tips for Winter Biking!

Roll with Ted on his way to the BikeMN office on one of the most beautiful commutes imaginable! We’ll also share some tips to brave the elements and thrive in a winter wonderland while biking or rolling!

A brief clip of Ted’s winter bike commute along Minnehaha Parkway – arguably one of the most beautiful trails in the state!

BikeMN staff wanted to put together a few of our best tips for winter biking and walking. We know the cold doesn’t stop anyone from getting outside for a stroll or ride. We hope these tips can help you or a friend brave the cold and get outdoors safely.

Understand the rules of the road

Check out BikeMN’s Bicycling Handbook for the rules of the road, it also has some tips for biking in any weather condition. A quick rundown includes:

  • Use hand signals – Obey all traffic signs and signals. Cyclists are not exempt from traffic laws. Signal your intentions clearly and early. It is required to signal your turn unless you need to control your bike with your arm.
  • Yield to pedestrians on sidewalks.
  • Stay to the right side – Always ride in the direction of traffic. Never ride against traffic (on the left side of the road). You may, however, ride with traffic in the far left lane on one-way streets when preparing to make a left turn.

Some brief tips on walking!

  • Obey all traffic signals – like bicyclists, pedestrians are also required to obey all traffic signals at every intersection.
  • Always travel on the sidewalk – Try traveling on the sidewalk at all times if possible.
  • Crosswalk – Don’t enter a crosswalk if a car is approaching and may not be able to stop.

A Handful of Tips for Tackling the Winter

Stay Visible – Use lights and bright clothing to ensure you’re being seen by other road, trail, or sidewalk users as the season and daylight change.

Winterize Your Gear – Use fenders to keep yourself and your bike clean from snow, sand, or salt. Consider switching out your tires for ones with studded tires or thicker/winter treads.

Maintenance – Remember to clean your bike regularly if it is wet or sloppy outside, and consider lubricating your chains and cables to help prevent ice, snow, and rain from restricting your movement. Running a rag and a quick lubing will save your drivetrain quite a bit.

Stay Warm – Bar mitts or pogies can help keep your hands warm, and try to layer up! A big coat is great, but it can restrict your movements. We recommend a warm base layer, a second layer to keep you insulated, and a third windproof layer. We also recommend some sort of ear muff that can work with a bike helmet. If you wear a scarf, be cautious about keeping it from getting caught in your bike, and tuck the ends into your layers.

Have Fun! – Once you ride, walk, or roll a few times outside it won’t seem like such a big deal. Minnesota is one of the best places in the nation to bike, even year-round!

Want more advice? Consider checking out fellow-Minnesotan Xena Goldman’s Winter Bicycling guide here!