Cycling in winter: How to get started

Whether you got a new bicycle for Christmas or you’ve made a new year’s resolution to cycle to work, it’s a great time to start cycling. Cycling is a sustainable mode of transport, a cheap way to travel and a fun way to get some exercise.

Keep reading for a few tips to help you stay warm, dry and safe while riding a bike in winter.

1. Warm Layers

Don’t let bad weather put you off cycling. If you’re prepared, you’ll barely notice the wind or rain. Wear windproof, thermal and waterproof clothing to stay warm and dry, and make cycling more enjoyable this season. Layering is a great way to regulate your temperature as you can remove layers as you warm up and add more if the temperature drops.

2. Bike maintenance

Punctures are more likely to happen during winter, as the weather results in challenging road conditions. Make sure you have the right tools to fix a puncture and check your tyres before you leave home. Consider reducing the pressure in your tyres by around 10% to increase the contact area with the road and improve grip.

To learn the basics of bike maintenance, sign up to a free Leeds Bike Mill course or watch online tutorial videos. If you have any questions, visit your local bike shop for some advice.

3. Cleaning your bike

Salt and grit can be extremely damaging to your bike and its components. Try to clean your bike regularly throughout winter and lubricate the chain regularly. Even a quick wipe down with an old cloth will ensure your bike keeps going for longer. Use mudguards to protect yourself and your bike from mud and water spray.

4. Cycling on wet or icy roads

Avoid cycling in the gutter as leaves and puddles can be slippery, especially when they are frozen. When the roads are wet or icy, stopping distances are greater, so it’s important to brake as early as possible. Make sure your bike lights are working correctly so you can see any hazards clearly. When the roads are icy, plan a route along well-lit roads that have been gritted. Click here for the Leeds City Council Gritter Tracker.

5. Free adult cycle training

Just getting started? Free adult cycle training sessions are now available to book, including beginner and 1:1 training. The sessions are tailored to your ability, focusing on teaching key skills and building up your confidence. To book now, visit

To learn more about what we’re doing to make our roads safer, click here and for advice on how to drive safely in winter, click here

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