• Ride steady—For slippery stretches riders should slow down and stay loose. Brake only on the rear wheel to avoid spinouts on slick surfaces. And be prepared to take your feet off the pedals if the bike starts to fishtail or tilt.
• Watch out—Cars are less aware of cyclists in the winter. Ride defensively. Make eye contact with drivers.
• Choose the right ride—Don’t use your $3,000 road steed or a full-suspension mountain bike in the snow. Sand, salt and grit can destroy suspension and gears. Instead, go with an older bike you designate for cold-weather use, adding fenders, bright lights and aggressive winter tires. Some cyclists employ single speed bikes in the winter, as they have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance.
• Cold and clean—Unless you plan to clean it off, keep your bike cold by storing it in the garage. A room-temperature bike in new snow can cause ice to form on brakes and gears more easily. Also, keep your chain lubricated for best operation.
• Public transit as retreat—Public buses fit two bikes on their front rack; on the worst days hop on and take a ride home. Bike near a bus route so you have bail-out points should the commute prove too long or laborious in the snow or cold.
• People in cars, people on bikes, people on foot, people using mobile devices: Streets are for all of us, take care out there!
For more information visit smartTRIPS.ca.