Winter is fast approaching in the northern hemisphere and the tracks and roads that were used for running, walking, horse riding and cycling could soon be under snow. Why not take up the challenge and join the snow biking fanatics this winter?
Fat bikes or snow bikes have been around for well over 100 years but in the last few years, bike manufacturers have started producing them for the man on the street. Manufacturers are plugging their versatility to tackle most terrains and the fact that they ride like mountain bikes and are great for beginners. The selection is varied and there are bikes to suit any pocket. It is a bike which can be ridden all year and not just in snowy conditions.
THE GEAR FOR WINTER
Dressing for a ride in wintery weather has its challenges. If you are cycling in exceptionally cold conditions, then the advice is to dress as if you are going skiing – ski helmet, goggles and insulated gloves included. Layer your clothing so that you have the ability to slowly peel off the layers should you get hot. Wear a reflective cycling vest or reflective belt over your layers to ensure you are highly visible and carry a back pack for your discarded layers.
FOOTWEAR FOR ICY CONDITIONS
There are special shoes and boots for snow riding which should be worn with thick insulated socks. Always carry chemical foot and toe warmers, just in case you need them. It’s a good idea to take chemical hand warmers along for the ride as well. Wear gaiters to prevent snow and ice from ending up in your boots or shoes, if you don’t, then your socks could get wet and start freezing, along with your toes.
Another challenge for snow bikers is preventing their water from freezing. Hydration can be more important in winter than in summer, especially if you are cycling at altitude. Altitude sickness creeps up on you and remaining properly hydrated is one way to keep it at bay. Some riders use insulated bottles and put electrolytes in to alter the freezing point. Starting off with hot water in your bottle is one way to delay any possible freezing. A hydration pack close to the skin is another way to prevent the water freezing but remember to keep the bite valve under clothing after drinking and blow the water in the tube back into the bladder.