Bicycling season never ends. For many hard-core cyclists all over the county this sentiment is true. With winter still on us and spring teasing us with warmer temperatures, people are gearing up to get back on their bikes. But with mud, slush and rain most people are discouraged to get back on the road.
There are solutions to bad weather riding. With the latest technology and some smart fashion choices you can make your biking experience a positive one. We hooked up with John Dodd, owner of CycleWerx to show us some cool, new things that will help you keep biking.
From the helmet, shoes, eye protection, gloves, rain gear, fenders, and lights -all are necessary equipment for a safe ride. All of the above are even more important this time of year with less daylight hours to get a ride in. John noted the importance of reflectors and demonstrated some high intensity headlights and a warning radar system he uses to stay safe.
The radar system, relatively inexpensive, warns cyclists of vehicles approaching from behind up to 150 yards. Then the radar tail light begins to blink, warning the approaching vehicle of the cyclist ahead. The display panel even gives riders an all clear light once the danger is past.
Most bikes don't come equipped with a fender anymore, mostly due to their bulky appearance, but they're great for keeping the mud off your back. Some of the newer styles of fenders are even magnetized or strap-on fenders-making them easy to store later on.
With temperatures fluctuating from freezing one day to warm and sunny the next, being comfortable and dry is expedient to the cycling process. Combining lightweight gloves with a glove liner is useful, although looking into a heavy duty glove for colder days may be best. John cautioned that thicker is not always better --especially if you have a traditionally snug fit in your cycling shoe. You always want enough room to comfortably wiggle your foot in order to keep circulation to your toes.
...lightweight windproof vest is perfect for this, and a jersey jacket pocket can easily stow any unnecessary clothing
It is also important to keep the wind off of your chest to make breathing easier. John explained that a lightweight windproof vest is perfect for this, and a jersey jacket pocket can easily stow any unnecessary clothing. And remember, it's always important to keep your joints warm. Knee covers and thermal layers work best, but on colder days full booties and good socks will be necessary to keep your feet warm. You may find that chemical warmers in your shoes and gloves will help keep your extremities toasty on super cold days. And a jacket with a helmet-fitted hood will keep your ears warm and dry.
To assist in keeping your body regulated most good riding jackets are equipped with vents...
Speaking of dry, staying dry is also important while cycling. You want to keep your sweating under control. Sweating on a super cold day is not a good thing. To assist in keeping your body regulated most good riding jackets are equipped with vents and pockets that you can unzip to provide ventilation as needed. The ventilation should decrease sweating that could create a chill after the body's begun building up some heat.
"The big thing is where are you going to ride, and what are you going to do,"
John explained that it's a process getting fitted for the right bike or equipment, and that even the smallest adjustments make a difference for riders. There are so many choices of bikes out there that what works for one person, may not work for another. "The big thing is where are you going to ride, and what are you going to do," John said. "Then decide who you will be riding with and what they are riding. Once you figure that part out, you can get your basics."
Whether you're looking for a fat bike, mountain bike or just something to cruise down the street on, there's no doubt that John and his crew can find what you need.
CycleWerx is located at 1407 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau. Stop in and visit with John. He'll get you on the road, no matter what the weather throws at you.