Image Credit Brian Hughes/Toronto Star; see full image here
Brendan Kennedy of the Star has some terrific tips for winter biking that go beyond borrowing a balaclava from an anarchist friend.
Major riding tips include riding more slowly, anticipating stops, reducing tire pressure and turning safely:
In particularly snowy or icy conditions, lateral force will not take as strongly to the road, so make sure to slow down and turn with as much of your weight on top of the bike as possible (as opposed to simply leaning into turns). For left turns in busy intersections, Mohamed [bike educator at the Evergreen Brickworks] recommends getting off the bike and crossing by foot.
For the bike, get full fenders, double the number of lights and clean and lube your moving parts.
Snow, slush and salt will conspire to wear down your bike's most important parts. You should clean and lube your drive chain and derailleur as often as possible and after any particularly dirty ride. Be sure to use a low-temperature grease (-10C or better).
For serious protection, you may want to consider installing an enclosing case around your chain and derailleur.
For clothing, he recommends booties for over your shoes and "lobster claw" mitts. These are expensive; I use my heavy duty ski mitts and don't see the need for the lobster claw. In fact, the wardrobe part of this is all a bit much; I wear pretty much the same thing on the bike as I do if I am walking, plus the heavier gloves.
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