Winter is a period of the year that got a bad reputation for those that want to ride a bike. However, people in Oulu Finland, and in other Nordic countries have snow and ice each winter. There’s no excuse for rejecting winter biking.

Here are my 8 tips on how to ride anywhere in the winter that gives you a much safer ride during the winter. I am biking almost 365 days a year here in Oslo, Norway. So, here I have some important tips that I want to share with you.

Tip #1 Use the Right Tires for Winter

Forget to use casual tiers during the winter. Especially if it is a lot of ice and snow. You will fall and it will not bring any joy for anyone that thinks about winter biking.

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Never use tires that don’t have metal spikes as shown above. At first, you will feel a bit odd using them, but after just a few minutes it is all good. They cost around 30 Euros and up. Just make sure that the tiers are in good shape.

Personally, I have been riding my bike in temperatures reaching -15C this year here in Oslo. With these winter tires for bikes, I never fell on my bike. In fact, I felt very safe as I could ride 25km/h or faster on ice and snow without having issues at all with steering and using the breaks. I would easily say that it is much safer riding a bike during the winter than walking. Especially on ice that you don’t see when walking that can be hidden underneath the snow.

So, I recommend using the right winter tires when biking during cold weather. Also, they are safe against autumn leaves and oil.

Tip #2 Install fenders on the bike if you don’t have them already

If you want your clothes to be fine after a trip during the winter. Then installing fenders on your bike will keep rain, snow, and mud off your back keeping you dryer and cleaner. The fenders also help to buffer some of the impact from bumps or potholes in poor road conditions as well as protect pedestrians too! Fenders are cheap at any hardware store so this is a no-brainer really.

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Also, remember that even though it might seem like there isn’t much water on top of ice when your tires pick up gravel they can slip out unexpectedly making life dangerous very fast especially around corners or hairpins where momentum has built up over time against the direction of travel.

My bike doesn’t have fenders so I must admit that I get a bit dirty on my jacket during the winter. I need to wash my clothes more often, so getting fenders for your bike to protect you more is brilliant. Perfect for those that want to ride with a nice-looking jacket all the way home.

Tip #3 Dress in layers and keep your extremities covered

Protecting yourself from the cold is really important if biking for longer periods of time as you are working up a sweat which can drop dramatically when biking stops or slows down enough that it cools off rapidly outside again.

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Keeping wind chill to a minimum by wearing proper winter cycling gear will help prevent hypothermia too. Always make sure to check out what kind of weather you’ll be biking through before heading out the door! You don’t need super expensive, high-tech outerwear though thin synthetic layers work best especially on top with some sort of water-resistant coating like nylon or polyurethane/polyester being okay depending on how much rain falls where you are biking.

Something on your head helps together with gloves too. Especially when the temperatures reach around +2C and below. In cities like Oslo, the temperature variations can be huge between the city center and the outskirts. Always bring with you extra if the weather is uncertain.

Tip #4 Don’t wear cotton!

This is the worst fabric to be wearing when biking in winter as it holds water and gets wet then freezes or just stays cold no matter what you do which can lead quickly to hypothermia if biking long distances for hours at a time even on well-paved roads.

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Cotton is not good for winter biking
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Polyester is good for biking

Instead choose synthetic fibers made of man-made materials like polyester, nylon, lycra, or spandex. All of these materials work great because they wick moisture away from your skin keeping you warm too so these types of fabrics are good ones to look out for especially around joints where there could be more chafing issues than average like under your arms by bra straps or under pant legs near ankles.

Don’t wear clothes types like cotton in winter. From 14C and up you can use it though. Below, I don’t recommend using cotton at all or if you must. Use something else on top.

Tip #5 Bring a spare tube

This might sound obvious but so many people have gotten stuck biking in winter because they didn’t bring along tools to fix their bike when it broke down unexpectedly then had no way home except walking which is dangerous too especially at night near busy intersections.

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Winter biking means that you’re going to be biking on more damaged roads or in winter conditions which could mean a flat tire so having tools to fix it quickly is super important!

The alternative to getting a kit is to plan your trip. Remember where the bike repair shops are located in the town or area that you plan to bike to during the winter. Often they have drop-ins and can help you on the fly. There are also bike stations for fixing your bike in some cities too like here in Oslo, Norway.

By doing the fix on your own it won’t cost you that much. Just be a bit more prepared during the winter.

Tip #6 Keep your head warm

A wind-resistant cycling cap under your helmet is needed. I really recommend this as if the head is covered. You will feel warmer all in all. Especially when biking uphill as this will help prevent overheating from inside but also getting dangerously cold once the body starts cooling down again.

You can find some pretty cool ones nowadays that must be windproof as they keep the ears and back of the neck covered too which many caps don’t do very well anymore. This is especially recommended for anyone riding downhills at speeds that are usually much faster. If you don’t wear something that can keep your head warm you can risk getting dangerously cold ears.

Be safe and never let the heat escape.

Tip #7 Gloves with gripping material

Get some mitts or gloves with gripping material on the palms to prevent slipping especially when biking in wet conditions. The road can have ice and snow on it during the winter. With these gripping material gloves, you have way more control and that’s important during winter biking.

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If you’re biking up hills or for any length of time these types (above) of gloves is perfect for biking in winter as your hands can get sweaty which makes them slippery and dangerous to grip handlebars then if they start getting cold again you are out of luck quickly too!

When the temperature reaches +2C or less you need thicker gloves. Your hands should never feel cold while riding a bike during the winter. This makes you aware of everything happening around you when riding the bike.

Tip #8 Always Bring Lights with You

If you bike at night in the Nordic countries. Then this advice is genuinely big. Especially in the period between October and April when the days are short. In Oslo, Norway it’s the night when you travel to work and when you return home. Days are only 5 hours long, so by 16.00 (4 PM) it is already night. It is even mandatory to have lights on your bike in Norway or you can get fines.

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When having lights on your bike it will make biking safer overall. It will make you more visible to motorists and pedestrians alike who might not be expecting anyone else out during those times of the day.

Not just one light is enough but two. They should light bright enough that people can see where you are going. So you must be using white lights facing forward/downward onto the road path ahead as well as red lights facing back towards vehicles behind you is important.

You can all Ride anytime of the Year

You might be wondering why I’m writing about biking in winter. Well, it turns out that the cold weather doesn’t really affect my riding habits too much! In fact, there are a lot of benefits to bike commuting during this time of year. So grab your gear and get on your bike for some fresh air outside – no matter what season it is!

Winter is no excuse. And it makes wintertime safer! What are you waiting for?