By Blake Herzog
Greater Prescott seems to have been carved out with mountain biking in mind with its endless variety of hills, grades, slopes and ridges, which helped bring the Whiskey Off-Road race to the area.
It’s no wonder mountain biking is one of its most popular recreational activities. Yet our winters can get in the way of making it a year-round sport.
Riding in cold, wet or snowy conditions requires more skill than fair-weather frolics, but experienced riders should be able to keep their hobby going as long as they take a few precautions:
Check the weather
Before heading out, check the weather forecast and be prepared for any sudden changes. You need to know what you’re getting into.
Dress in layers
This is key for regulating your body temperature. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat away from your skin, add an insulating layer for warmth, and finish with a waterproof and windproof outer layer.
Don’t forget warm gloves, a hat and a neck gaiter.
Feet often get chilled before the rest of you and can ruin a ride. Invest in warm, insulated cycling shoes or consider neoprene shoe covers or plastic bags to keep your feet warm and dry.
Use fat tires
Fat bikes are designed for snowy and icy conditions and offer superior stability and traction. If you’re serious about winter biking, investing in a fat bike or studded bike tires may be worthwhile.
Carry essential tools
In cold weather, your bike can be more prone to mechanical problems. Carry essential tools like a multitool, tire levers, spare tubes and a small pump.
Winter days are shorter, and visibility can be limited. Make sure your bike is equipped with lights, and wear high-visibility clothing.
Ride with a friend
If possible, ride with a friend. It’s more fun and safer to have someone along in case of an emergency.
Maintain your bike
Cold weather can be tough on your bike. Regularly clean and lubricate your drivetrain to prevent ice and snow buildup, and check your brakes.