Scrape your windshield or ride?

January 11, 2016

Our January member drive hopes to connect people to Adventure Cycling’s work of inspiring and empowering people to travel by bike. We do a lot! We do the hard stuff, like working with state transportation departments, and we do the fun stuff too, like running bicycle tours.

And speaking of fun, let us give you a glimpse of the kinds of things our members enjoy, like all the stuff in this blog: winter riding ideas, a product give-away from Cygolite, a chance to grab our fine calendar, and a chance to win Salsa’s world-touring bike, the Salsa Marrakesh.

But first, some winter riding tips …

Why bike in the winter? Our executive director, Jim Sayer, had this to say:

“No need to scrape a windshield. No need to heat up the engine for several minutes in the morning (although I do sometimes stretch a bit). No need to swap the coolant for antifreeze. The opportunity to keep my thermostat lower (when you come out of a twenty-degree environment into a sixty-two-degree room, it feels like Palm Springs). The chance to refresh that facial skin (several friends who look much younger than their age are habitual winter-cyclists, glowing a healthy pink after a ride down a frosty hill — and, to my knowledge, not using botox). “

“Of course, you need to take a few precautions for winter riding. Lights and extra visibility are a good idea (even for those of you in the sunbelt!). Helmets are essential. Studded snow tires might help (although with declining annual snowfall in Missoula, it’s a toss-up here). It really pays to learn a few extra riding techniques, like how to turn in icy conditions. Riding to school, my daughters are becoming experts on taking corners without leaning too far over (By the way, if you’re looking for advice on how to ride in truly wintry conditions, click on — which I came across through another favorite blog, CycleLicious:”

Rode hard and put away wet.

So, ride all winter! But you’ll need to take care of your bike; frame corrosion and worn drivetrains will eventually cost you plenty. What can you do?

Winter Chain Care: Wipe your poor chain down once in awhile to get the gunk off. Then, apply a little lube and wipe* it again to remove any excess dirt-attracting lube.

*Wipe. What do we mean by “wipe the chain?” Here’s the easy, fast way to clean your  chain: stand on the left side of the bike, bend over the saddle, and grab the chain with a rag in your right hand and pedal the drivetrain backward with the left hand. Pull that chain through the rag. Done often, your chain will always look and ride sharp.

You might also invest in an inexpensive chain measuring tool for keeping tabs on chain wear. Once that chain wears too much, it starts wearing out your expensive chainrings and cassette that should ideally last a long time and survive many miles … and many chains.

Winter Frame Care: If my bike has seen hard miles on snowy or wet roads, I haul it into my basement and store it overnight, upside down. This gives it a chance to completely dry and drain any trapped water. The next morning, I apply a little lube where needed, like on the cable guides under the bottom bracket, and roll away on a happy bike.


While the winter solstice may be in the rearview mirror, my Adventure Cycling calendar says the winter solstice was Dec. 22, chances are you’re still conducting much of your riding in the dark, and the ability to see and be seen in low-light situations should never to be taken for granted. Lights will keep your ride safe and bright, and if you join Adventure Cycling by Sunday, January 17th; you'll have a chance to win one of two Cygolite Metro 500 USB lights that we're giving away.

Cygolite - Metro 500 USB

The Metro 500 paves the way to unparalleled safety by giving riders a bright USB rechargeable headlight. Designed especially for demanding roads, its 5 watt LED fires up 500 lumens of steady light and features 24/7 Safety Technology™ for safer night and day riding. Side illumination ports offer wider visibility to those around you without compromising beam focus. The Metro 500 is a must-have piece of equipment for when sun goes down on your ride.

Thinking about winter tires?

It’s up to you, but the tires you have may already work fine for the winter—if you run them at low pressure and have a grasp of how your machine behaves on the slippery stuff. Of course, our Cyclosource online store sells excellent touring tires, and once spring rolls around, you’ll be set.

Or, for complete confidence, you can buy studded tires from your local bike shop. If you want to DIVE into the world of studded tires, you’ll find happiness at and The Ultimate Guide to Winter Bike Tires and Studded Tires.

Or if you prefer to convert an old pair of tires you’ve got lying around the garage, check out our video, How to Make Your Own Studded Snow Tires.

And there’s always the fat bike option … and who doesn’t like a photo of a fat bike?

Adventure Cycling wants you! We are the largest nonprofit membership bicycling organization in North America with 48,000 members and we depend on dedicated cyclists to continue programs such as expanding the Adventure Cycling Route Network, keeping our online resources up to date, maintaining our education and outreach efforts, and building an official U.S. Bicycle Route System. Thank you for your support!

When you join Adventure Cycling during the month of January, we’ll send you a free 2016 Adventure Cycling calendar. Each month features images from our annual photo contest, as well as a few 1976 throwback photos to celebrate our 40th anniversary. Join now for your free calendar!

Also, when you join Adventure Cycling today, we’ll include you in our Salsa Marrakesh bike giveaway. The Salsa Marrakesh is a true touring bike, designed to haul your gear anywhere your travels take you. The winner of this giveaway will receive a limited edition Salsa Marrakesh, sporting an Adventure Cycling paint scheme. Join today for your chance to win!

Top photo: Cassie Nelson | Second photo: Saara Snow | Fourth photo courtesy of Cygolite | All others by Adventure Cycling staff


MEMBERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS is posted every other Wednesday by Josh Tack & Brian Bonham. Membership Highlights spotlights the various benefits of membership, our accomplishments thanks to member support, and even interviews with some of our most passionate and dedicated members, both individual and organizational.



Christopher Dibble January 13, 2016, 1:31 PM

I like to switch to a ski helmet also more protected and goggles come in handy when snowing

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