LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 26, 2017) — Was your New Year’s resolution to ride your bicycle more or to take more car-free trips? Cold weather doesn’t have to mean an end to getting around on two wheels. If you need a little extra motivation, Parking and Transportation Services has some useful tips for navigating the colder months on your bike.
- Stay informed about changing weather conditions. Sign up for UK Alert for information about closures and delays, and allow extra time for your commute on snowy and icy days.
- Visibility is even more important than usual on inclement weather days, as drivers may not expect to encounter cyclists when road conditions are poor. Be aware of your surroundings, and wear bright, reflective outer layers in addition to using front and rear lights. Even if you don’t think your commute will occur during dusk or dark hours, plan for those conditions.
- Slow down and anticipate stops. Expect to take longer to reach your destination, and plan that time into your commute. Additionally, if the road is slick or your brakes are wet, it will take longer to stop. Don’t put yourself in a dangerous situation.
- Pay special attention to cleaning and maintaining your bike during the winter months, as dirt and road salt can cause damage. Keep a towel or brush handy to clean off snow and slush from the frame and chain.
- Bundle up! Your extremities are the most susceptible to cold. However, overdressing can be as much a problem as under dressing, so choose your layers wisely.
- Take turns wider and stay upright around corners. If you lean too hard, your wheels may slip out from underneath you.
- Ride on clear pavement when available. Don’t be afraid to take the lane if there is snow in the bike lanes or on the sidewalks. If there are tire tracks left by vehicles, ride in the right tire track.
- Winterize your bike. Wide, knobby tires will give you better traction through the snow than skinnier road bike tires, and fenders are the best way to keep gritty street slush off your clothes.
Finally, remember that not every day will be a cycling day for everyone — and that’s okay. Any trip made by bike instead of in an automobile has benefits for all of us, so even one day a week helps. Be sure to research transportation alternatives for days when biking isn’t the best choice for you. Depending on your schedule and commute distance, these may include campus buses and Lextran, which is free for all students and employees by showing their Wildcard ID under the BluPass program.
For more cold weather cycling tips, visit www.uky.edu/pts/alternative-transportation_bicycle-information_coldweather.
Did you know that UK has an on-campus bicycle shop? Wildcat Wheels — located in the basement of Blazer Dining — provides free bicycle use and repair assistance to students, faculty and staff at the University of Kentucky. Stop by to use the shop tools and to learn how to perform maintenance on your bike, under the guidance of student mechanics.
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