My Three Winter Biking Fears

When I am confronted by family and friends about the insanity of biking through the winter I always project complete confidence in my safety. But the reality is I fear some things about winter biking.

Falling
I am terrified of heights, I have nightmares about falling, when I was younger I ice skated like my limbs were made from porcelain. Newbie winter biking and falling go hand and hand I’m quite sure. The question isn’t if I going to fall but when. And that is terrifying. What if it is in the middle of an intersection, or right in front of a car?

Sickness and Injury
Ever since I was a little kid I have gone out in the cold with t-shirts and sneakers even though people tried to tell me I “was going to get sick”. That idea, though mostly false, gives me shivers of fear. What if I get a bad cold and/or cough that won’t go away? Biking in the freezing cold and winter wind while struggling to breathe does not sound fun. And of course any kind of leg or arm injury could force me off my bike for awhile.

Snow Plows

Snow Plows seem like monsters. The route I use to bike to work has very wide shoulders and is generally free of any obstacles that would cause a snow plow to be cautious, so they plow with super speed. I am very visible with my reflective clothing and well placed high quality blinkies but I move much slower than a car. And cars will be the only vehicles snow plows will be expecting. My plan is to get off the road when a snow plow is approaching if possible.

I am not biking through the winter with the idea that it is perfectly safe. There are risks. It is more dangerous than biking in the summer. But driving in the winter is also more dangerous than driving in other seasons. I am way more confident that I can keep myself safe on a bike then I could in a car.

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9 thoughts on “My Three Winter Biking Fears

  1. Pingback: Blood Donation and Biking | Bike Like Crazy

  2. As an old year ’round bike rider, I think the most dangerous element in cold weather biking is ice, especially in patches. You need to be constantly aware of the fact that ANY part of your path can suddenly give you no traction. Don’t be in a great hurry and good luck!

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  3. I came off my bike due to a patch of black ice at the beginning of this year. Yes it happens very quickly and almost without warning and yes it’s one hell of a shock. One second I was doing 20mph, the next I was horizontal. Ride a bit slower, be smooth and position yourself away from the gutter (where most of the water puddles are that freeze).

    As for snow ploughs, they do sound scary!!!

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  4. Just battling my way through a Czech winter, interspersed with a 2 week jolly in Tenerife just to get some consistent riding in.! Winter riding is, well to the blunt it’s s**t isn’t it? My advice? Relax, the bike can feel your tension and it will destabilise you. Use a lower (easier) gear and pedal as consistently as you can, avoid using front brake!

    Enjoy, stay safe and, erm, upright! 👍🚵

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    • Thanks for the solid advice, I am beginning to loosen up while riding, after many personal lectures to “Relax, relax, relax” while coasting down hills. I am also learning to control my bike through fishtails, sliding through the snow is starting to be rather enjoyable!

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