Paul Bunyan Trail Blog

Tips for Cycling in Inclement Weather

Cycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around but, sometimes mother nature disagrees with our plans to get on our bikes and go for a ride. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with all four seasons, here are some tips you can keep in mind when cycling in bad weather.

When It’s Raining

• Add extra reflectors to yourself and your bicycle. Visibility is much harder when it’s raining out, so adding reflectors to your bicycle or helmet (which you should always wear!) should help any other cyclists, pedestrians, or motorists see you in the rain.

• Avoid brick or metal—these surfaces become very slick in the rain. If you must travel over either of these materials, be sure to do so with your handlebars straight so you’ll have a lower chance of skidding.

• Dress for the temperature outside, not specifically the rain. Many cyclists make the grave error of layering when it’s raining out in the hopes of staying dry in the innermost layer. What usually happens is you’re wearing three wet jerseys instead of one. If your clothing isn’t waterproof, consider buying a thin poncho for slick rides.

When It’s Snowing

• Don’t forget your extremities! We all know the importance of keeping our core warm, but your hands, feet, and face are at the most risk for frostbite or other temperature-related injury. Invest in gloves with a strong grip and insulated (but lightweight) boots for winter travel. Proper clothing will help keep you warm and not slow you down.
• Keep your bike cold. Your bicycle is more likely to accumulate snow and ice on its tires if it’s taken from a warm room into the frigid outdoors, so consider keeping your bicycle in your garage if you don’t intend on wiping it down completely after a ride in the snow.
• Slow down! This is the most important tip for cycling in the snow. It’ll take you approximately twice as long to stop as it would in good conditions. When cycling in the snow, stay loose and give yourself plenty of time to brake.

When It’s Really Hot

• Get acclimated first! It’s unreasonable to expect to complete your usual 10-mile loop if temperatures suddenly skyrocket to 95 degrees. Take things slow at first to get used to cycling in high temperatures.

• Make sure you keep hydrated. A 150-pound cyclist should have at least one 16oz bottle of water every hour, but if you’re larger or on a hilly route you may need up to three or four bottles.

• Consider leaving early. If you’re not a fan of high temperatures, leaving in the morning (particularly before daybreak) can mean you ride in weather that’s 20-30 degrees cooler. Just keep in mind that it’ll be more humid in the morning than in the afternoon.

This article was provided by, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and it is intended for informational use only. Be sure to review your local cycling ordinances to ensure you ride safe and legally.