Tips for winter biking

The most common way to get around Umeå is by bike and I was surprised by how many people bike throughout the winter. In Finland (or at least in Helsinki) most people store their bikes indoors when the roads get frozen and slippery, so did I. The winter has arrived in Umeå and so far I have been able to bike without any major issues, some roads are actually heated, in order to keep ice and snow away! Though biking is a lot nicer during summer time, it is very possible to bike through the year. Here are some tips for safe winter biking.

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1. Tires

As car tires are changed for summer and winter, bike tires can, and should be changed too. There are stores that sell tires and change them for you, or you can buy a pair and do it yourself, if you know how to. Winter tires prevent slipping and give you a more secure ride.

2. Lights & reflectors

In Sweden, having bike lights on back and front of the bike is mandatory whenever it’s dark. The front light should be either white or yellow (you can choose 🙂 ) and the back light should be red, if you’re missing lights on your bike, you can get a fine. You should also have reflectors on front, back and sides of your bike.

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3. Warm clothes

Dress warm! Especially warm gloves, scarf and hat are important, if your hands get cold, you can’t stick them into your pockets when on a bike… For longer bike rides it’s also good to wear several layers of clothes.

Image credit: Amanda Westerbom

Image credit: Amanda Westerbom

Most important of all, bike carefully, I’ve slowed down since the temperatures went below zero and so far, biking has been okay!

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