Winter Cycling: 6 Things to Keep in Mind

Things can sneak up on you if you're not prepared - here's what to consider.

by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager

I've been saying for the last few years that you can safely mountain bike in Colorado through Thanksgiving. I don't know that this has always been true, but lately it sure is.

And the roads are open for business all year. Which is great, because I am not a fan of the trainer. We're blessed with a lot of sunshine. So, while we may be hit with some good storms from time to time, the conditions don't generally persist more than three days or so. 

Winter Cycling Tips

There are still a few things to be prepared for, though. And as I've said before, they can sneak up on you if you're not out there constantly. If you thought it was time to hang up the bike for a bit, but find you're ready to ride, here are a few things to consider. 

  1. Lights – Front and back. Don’t skimp. I’ve got a front light that sees into the future and the one on the back has a variable blinking pattern that helps quickly draw the attention of drivers. I carry an extra in my bag, too, that was handy during a storm. Visibility was bad, and I put an additional red blinker on the back of my helmet (along with the one on the seat post).
  1. Variable Conditions  – A couple considerations here. You need to be able to adjust to temperature changes and carry the items when not in use, too. Items that store easy and provide protection are essential. Warmers with a vest can provide more versatility than a jacket, but there are times when a jacket is the right call. Our new Storm Line with jackets, bibs, and warmers, help with breathable protection in wet conditions, too.

Winter Cycling Tips

  1. Gloves, Toe Covers, Eyes, and Ears – The need for a good pair of gloves can't be overstated. Same for toe or shoe covers and something to cover the head or ears. And a clear set of lenses for eye protection can be very helpful.
  1. Weather Road Conditions – Watch for ice, of course, but be mindful too, of puddles that may hide a pothole. And bridges will freeze up before the rest of the road, so be careful when you cross those.

    Watch for ice!
    Ice, ice, baby!
  1. Fenders  – The more you can do to keep dry, the better. Full fenders can help save wear on your bike as well. 
  1. More frequent cleaning and chain care  – You'll need to pay a bit more attention to the bike as well as the clothing and gear selections. Keep the chain clean and lubricated. Wipe down the wheels and brush the brakes to remove road grime that can limit your stopping ability and add to the wear and tear of the parts. Take advantage of any opportunity to give it good cleaning.

Winter riding really can be fun and rewarding. Memorable, too, when you come out on top when conditions are challenging! Take care out there and I'll see you on the road.

Winter Cycling Tips

About the Author

David, Customer Service ManagerA lifelong commuter and amateur racer in road, CX and MTB, David Newcomer has experience with just about every aspect of our sport. A former race director of the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, and Executive Director of one of the largest cycling clubs in Colorado, he brings a wide range of experience to share with others. David is the Customer Service Manager at Pactimo and host of our podcast "On the Road with Pactimo." You can reach him directly at


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