CALS Wellness Committee tip: Winter biking is a great option with some planning

Madison is known as one of the top cities for cyclists in the country, and commuting by bike is a great way to fit some exercise into your daily routine. But what about when winter weather comes around? With some planning, biking is still a great option for many of us. Here are some tips to stay warm and safe on your bike this winter.

Covered bike parking is available in some UW parking lots.

Pedaling along generates plenty of body heat, so keeping your core warm in the colder months isn’t a problem. Instead, pay attention to extremities that will be exposed to wind and water. Grab a good pair of gloves that will still allow you to operate your gears and brakes, such as “lobster mitts”. Alternatively, you might prefer “bar mitts” that can be installed on your handlebars. Balaclavas are great for protecting your face and ears, and won’t get in the way of your helmet. You might even see cyclists wearing ski goggles!

Safety is especially important when cycling in the winter, when the days are darker and fewer bikes are on the road. Make sure you have a helmet, lights, and reflectors. Transportation Services and University Health Services have arranged discounts with five local bike stores; just print this bike safety coupon for 20% off helmets and 15% off lights.

Close-up of studded tires. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Sharp.

When snow arrives and the roads start to get slippery, it’s important to be prepared and plan your route. Bike paths are cleared of snow by the city as soon as possible––and they’re sometimes clear before the roads are! Some folks have fat-tired bikes that can handle snow, but a more affordable option for commuters is just to switch to studded tires for the season. Transportation Services has additional winter biking tips, along with a list of sheltered locations for bike parking and locations of air and repair stations on campus.

Winter biking can be a bit challenging, even in Madison, but it’s a fun way to keep fit. Give it a try this winter.