Essential Tips for Biking in the Winter

On the Trail’s advice for winter biking


Many avid bikers hang up their helmets and store away their bikes when snow and cold temperatures set in. We believe that biking can be enjoyed year-round and is a great way to remain active throughout the winter. With our tips, you’ll be ready to bike come rain or shine, slush or snow.


 Layers, Layers and Then...More Layers

Wearing a lot of layers and different types of layers help you control your body temperature. While you want to protect yourself from the cold, you also want to keep yourself from overheating once you’ve started working up a sweat. Start off with a base layer, then a mid-layer of a material like fleece and finally, an outer layer to protect you from the elements. It’s a delicate balance between freezing and overheating but layers help you manage that.

Check Your Tire Pressure

On fat bikes and even regular mountain bikes, you should lower your tire pressure for winter riding. Lowering the pressure will aid traction on slippery surfaces. A general guideline for this is if you can compress your tire with your hand approximately an inch then you’re at a good place to start. You should never go so low that you run the risk of a pinch flat. Another tip is you should inquire at your local trails about their minimum tire width restrictions to ensure your safety and are following regulations.

Wipe Down Your Bike 

Always wipe down or wash your bike after your ride. This is especially important if you are biking on the road or transporting your bike on a rear-mounted rack to a trailhead on your vehicle. Chances are that road grime will get on your bike and nothing ruins bike components faster than road salt. 

Pay Extra Attention to Your Hands and Feet 


Hands and feet are always the first to get cold so ensure that you’re taking extra steps to protect them. Wearing extra layers, wool socks and liner glovers all help keep warm. Our favourite way to keep hands and feet warm is hot pads. They are available in both hand and feet versions and last for several hours. 

Pack Extra Gear 

Packing extra layers, socks, gloves and a hat ensures that no matter the circumstance you have back up for staying warm. There’s the possibility of getting wet from unfrozen sections on the trail or that your riding partner may need some extra warmth. It never hurts to be a little over-prepared. 

Keep Hydrating 

Even if it isn’t +30 degrees outside, hydrating while biking in the cold is just as important. Pack your water in either a thermos or insulated water bottle. Our tip, if you are using a hydration pack, is to blow the water back into the reservoir after you’ve had a drink. This drains the hose and prevents water from freezing inside. Then, if possible, tuck the valve/tube into your jacket to keep it warm. 

With different weather conditions comes different precautions and practices. Learning how to stay safe biking in the winter is the same as learning how to stay safe in the summer. While biking may not widely be considered a winter sport, with the right gear and practices, you can enjoy winter biking, even in the face of snow and freezing cold.  


Clothing Layers: How to Stay Warm