You are here

Asa Redfield | 10.23.2018

Seattle was just crowned #1 in Bicycling Magazine’s Best Bike Cities in America, and bike commuters in this city are are a special breed, especially if if they are hearty enough to brave bike commuting in the fall and winter months. Although snow and ice aren’t mainstays in Seattle, rain and hills certainly are. Sound awesome? We think so too! If that sort of challenge tickles your fancy and you’d gladly power through a rainstorm before you’d sit in an hour of traffic, then read on for evo’s top tips for winter bike commuters in Seattle.

Service Your Brakes: To say that Seattle is “hilly” is an understatement. Ensure that you can stop reliably as you come bombing down Yesler on a rainy morning by performing a due-diligence brake tune-up. Not comfortable tuning your own brakes? Bring your bike into a bike service shop where a professional bike mechanic can tune ‘em for you. Also, if you can, opt for disc brakes. Disc brakes provide significantly better and more reliable braking power, especially when things are wet. If you’re considering a component upgrade for your commuter bike, disc brakes are a great place to start.

Up your visibility: Seattle is not exactly known for its crisp, sunny winters. Things tend to be dark and damp, and it’s not always easy to see smaller-than-car-sized objects. To combat this, ensure that you have good front and rear bike lights. Clothing and/or bags (panniers or backpack) with reflective accents can also be effective for improving your visibility to drivers.

Fenders are friends: Beyond sheltering you from the embarrassment of having a wet, dirty skunk stripe up your backside, fenders are a functional necessity when the wet and rainy season is in full swing (in Seattle, that’s pretty much October through April). That guy behind you on the path will thank you too. A front fender is almost as important. A full front fender will keep your feet from getting soaked every time you hit a puddle. That’s why we recommend full coverage.

Check your technique: It might seem obvious, but slight shifts in the way you ride can make a big difference as things get colder, wetter, and slicker. More defensive riding, more anticipated braking, and wider, more upright turns can mean the difference between sliding out on the pavement or staying upright. With wet conditions often doubling your usual stopping time and distance, it’s generally a good idea to brake sooner and more gradually. Test things out with a few practice stops within the first couple of blocks so you have a good idea of what to expect.

Lower tire pressures: Although you don’t want to overdo it and create more work for yourself than you have to, lowering your tire pressure by 5 to 10 psi will yield better traction through turns and braking.

Cover up your extremities: Beyond bike gloves for your hands, covering up your head (beneath your helmet), face, and neck can drastically improve your comfort through cold, wet winter rides. One hack that evo Seattle’s diehard bike commuters use is wearing a ski/snowboard neck warmer or full-face balaclavas.

Reassess your route: Dedicated bike commuters often avoid bike paths like the Burke-Gilman Trail, Elliott Bay Trail, Alki Trail, or Interurban Trail because they can get a bit congested. After all, one of the biggest perks of commuting by bike is avoiding traffic, right? We empathize with the move to alternative routes in the busier spring and summer months when bike paths are crowded, but like clock work, they get a lot less congested and are generally a much safer option in winter. Take a couple minutes to reassess your route for winter -- it’s generally smart during this time of year to avoid major hills and busy streets where gray days and rain-scoured windows inhibit drivers’ ability to see cyclists. Need help finding a route? Check out this map of Seattle’s most bike-friendly thoroughfares and/or make use of Google Maps Bike Directions.

About evo

We are evo -  a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through our evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.

evo explores the collaboration between culture and sport by seamlessly joining art, music, street wear, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and wakeboarding. Our aim is to bring all things relevant to the urban, action sports lifestyle into one creative space. Whether it is on the website, on the phone, or in our stores, our aim is to make all who come into contact with evo feel welcome and excited about their experience.

Comments

Have updates, photos, alerts, or just want to leave a comment?
Sign In and share them.

Brought to you by:

evo

We are evo -  a ski, snowboard, mountain bike, surf, wake, and skate retailer based in Seattle, Washington, USA, with stores located in Seattle, Portland, and Denver. We also offer trips to remote locations across the globe in search of world-class powder turns, epic waves, and legendary mountain biking through our evoTrip Adventure Travel Trips.

evo explores the collaboration between culture and sport by seamlessly joining art, music, streetwear, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and wakeboarding. Our aim is to bring all things relevant to the urban, action sports lifestyle into one creative space. Whether it is on the website, on the phone or in our stores, our aim is to make all who come into contact with evo feel welcome and excited about their experience.

 

More content from evo