TeamWILD asked a couple of friends to share their best tips for getting on your bike in wintery weather. Here’s a bit about Mike Carter and Gillian Forsyth accompanied by their advice.
I was diagnosed with type 1 at age 37 and have been living with diabetes for 10.5 years.
I had been a cyclist my entire life before diabetes. I started serious bike commuting before I graduated high school, I raced and did some seriously crazy cycling things while I was in college. The first vacation my wife and I took was a self supported bike tour of the San Juan islands.
After I was diagnosed, being a tech head, I got a pretty good handle on insulin, food and life without much exercise. My challenge was exercise. Whether it was aerobic or anaerobic I wasn’t quite sure what to do to not go low or high. To make a long story short, I found the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure. As luck would have it, I found the Tour the first year of the Red Rider program. A few days after my first Tour as a Red Rider, someone asked me why it had been so special. My answer was, “I am not alone.” Which, since 2009, has been on the shoulder of the Red Rider jersey.
I’ve been a Red Rider since the beginning. I’ve been a Team Red captain since 2008 and I’ve been helping guide things at the national level since 2009.
From me to you, winter cycling really isn’t a big deal. You definitely need some appropriate clothing and potentially equipment if you want to cycle every day (or almost every day in my case with the Boulder winds, which are frankly too dangerous at times.)
1) Pay particular attention to keeping your legs, feet, hands and head warm.
2) Upper body should be done in layers that you have some method for transporting when you need take them off.
3) Just because there is no snow or ice, doesn’t mean that the road conditions are ideal; many road tires have horrible traction when the temperature drops and the shoulders, bike lanes and paths can have a lot of sand and/or other debris.
I am type 1 and have had it for 12 years. I am a triathlete (IM’s and Half IM’s and a marathon runner (20 marathons). I use a medtronic pump and cgm.
1) Do not over-dress; you would be surprised how quickly you can warm up. Note: hands and feet will get cold before anything else. A double layered glove and plastic bags on your feet will fix that.
2) Invest in some good waterproof breathable outer layers
3) If you are going to work get a fender the back splash from salty wet roads is brutal
4) If you are hauling stuff around ie: laptop, lunch, gym clothes you can’t beat ortleib panniers – easy to take off, easy to put on, and completely waterproof.
5) Best to use a beater bike if your roads use a lot of salt etc. I have a bike that I use specifically for commuting.
6) Lastly a good headlight and backlight for safety!
Thanks to our winter riding experts, I’ve started psyching myself to give it a go. -HL