{“data”:[{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Cyclists know that there’s no better way to get around the city than on two wheels. It’s fast, fun, healthy, eco\\-friendly, and free, and in a city where public transportation shuts down at 12:30 on most nights, it’s great to have autonomy in one’s own transportation. There are few sensations lovelier than whizzing through town on a beautiful day, unencumbered by schedules and crowded train cars.\n”}},{“type”:”html”,”data”:{“text”:”“}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Unfortunately, summer days end all too quickly. With this winter set to be one of the coldest in years, many cyclists are calling it quits for the season, leaving only the most committed bikers to the icy streets.\n\n\”It’s not as treacherous as people might think,\” says Evan Hunt of Landry’s Bicycles on Commonwealth Avenue. \”Just wear the appropriate outerwear and stay safe.\”\n\nWinter biking is totally possible with the right preparation and a positive attitude. Here’s how to pull it off.\n\nFirst, a few winter cyclists looking awesome for inspirational purposes:\n\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×611.jpg”,”full”:””},”text”:””}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×466.jpg”,”full”:””},”text”:””}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×466.jpg”,”full”:””},”text”:””}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Don’t you want to look that badass, too? Of course you do. Here are some tips.\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**What you’re in for:**\n\nAt first, the prospect of venturing out into the tundra seems daunting. Besides the cold, there are a few other things that make winter cycling different than regular cycling. Earlier sunsets mean biking in the dark most of the time. Despite city plowing, streets narrow with accumulated snow, effectively eliminating comfortable bike lanes. Icy patches on the road mean increased likelihood of spinouts. Finally, the salt and sand on the road can be extremely destructive to the machinery of a bicycle. It’s important to address the environmental realities right off the bat for safety’s sake, and then prepare with those elements in mind.\n\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**How to prepare:**\n\n**Modify if possible**\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×412.jpg”,”full”:”×412.jpg”},”text”:”No slipping with these babies!”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”After making sure your bike is freshly tuned up with good working brakes \\(disc brakes are preferable to rim brakes\\), a few simple modifications can make winter cycling much easier. If your tires are on the skinny side, it’s a good idea to consider switching them out for fatter, or better yet, studded tires for the season. According to Hunt, studded tires will run you $75\\-85 per tire plus labor, but will make you much more stable on slippery surfaces. \n\nAdding fenders to your bike is a smart move, too — that nasty, salty, dirty slush that starts to accumulate isn’t any prettier splashed up onto your clothes. Adding fenders costs about $45 plus labor \\(definitely less than the cost of a new wardrobe\\). These additions and adjustments aren’t absolutely necessary, but represent an investment in the comfort and safety of your biking experience. \n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**Be seen**\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×524.jpg”,”full”:””},”text”:”REI reflective tape”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”Though you should already have lights on your bike, with darkness gathering at 3 p.m. it’s a good idea to introduce a few extra reflective elements into your biking gear. Whether that means adding a strip or two of reflective tape to your jacket or helmet, or donning a full on neon safety vest, just make sure that drivers know you’re there.\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**Care for your bike like a small child**\n\nIn order to prevent your bike from rusting or getting otherwise damaged, it’s time to adopt more careful maintenance habits. Salt and dirt from the road can and will ruin a bike, starting with the chain. In order to prevent this, make it your business to wipe down your bike after as many rides as you can and keep your chain well\\-lubricated. A toothbrush, a rag, and some chain lube are all you really need, and the entire process should take about four minutes. Every 1\\-2 weeks, give the bike and chain a more thorough cleaning, either using chain degreaser and lube for a deep clean or diluted Simple Green home cleanser. \nKeep your bike inside when you can and be diligent about cleanliness and lubrication, and your bike will survive this winter and many more.\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**Staying warm:**\n\nThis is the fun part. Dressing warmly as a cyclist in the winter is like a strategic game, but it’s not so hard to crack. It’s all about maintaining a protected core and paying special attention to a few key areas; namely, your hands, feet, and head. These are the parts that are most difficult to keep warm, because they are always exposed and actively engaged in the cycling process.\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**Insulate your core**\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×784-700×593.jpg”,”full”:”×784.jpg”},”text”:”Key layers”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”A strong base layer is what will make the difference between easy riding and absolute misery. A thermal base layer will help your body regulate its own temperature and make every layer you put on top of it much more effective. Stick with materials that aren’t wool or cotton \\(if this layer gets wet, it’s bad news\\) and that fit your body closely. After donning a base, dress for winter as you normally would — with lots of layers and a strong, waterproof coat. \n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:”×413.jpg”,”full”:”×413.jpg”},”text”:””}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**Defend your digits**\nYour hands are always out front while you ride, so invest in a great pair of cycling gloves. The ideal pair will allow you to maneuver your brakes and gears, but still keep your hands and wrists warm and dry. Look for fleecy linings, high gauntlets, grippy palms, and waterproof outer layers. Some designs even have a fleece strip on the thumb for inevitable nose\\-drips \\(gross, but necessary\\). You may also want to consider the [‘lobster’](\\-Izumi\\-Softshell\\-Lobster\\-Glove/dp/B004N62HMQ) style of glove, pictured above — it’s the same principle as a mitten, keeping fingers together to maximize warmth, but with more tactile freedom. If you prefer full\\-fingered gloves, try offerings from [Gore](\\-GoreUS\\-Site/en\\_US/Page\\-Show?cid=technologies\\-perfbydesign\\-brand\\-gbw&brand=gbw), [Castelli](\\-Finger\\-Winter\\-Cycling\\-Gloves/dp/B00F5JO46W/ref=sr\\_1\\_4?s=sporting\\-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1416515312&sr=1\\-4&keywords=castelli+winter+bike+gloves) or [Pearl Izumi.](\\_id=487&mode=products&outlet=)\n\n**Heads up**\nYou lose most of your body heat through your head. Wrapping up is a must, both under your helmet and across your face. Wear a beanie or head wrap that covers your ears, and cover as much of your face as you can with a scarf or mask. Attractive options abound, like this one from [Express](\\-l\\-kVNiQaCh2vqD4xDy841YL4mdbQwixoClHLw\\_wcB), or you can go the full [balaclava](\\-\\-CTR\\-Windproof\\-Balaclava\\-X\\-Large/dp/B002ZG7RGM/ref=sr\\_1\\_2?s=sporting\\-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1416515710&sr=1\\-2&keywords=balaclava) route!\n\n**Toe the line**\nThough you might be wearing thick socks and boots, your feet still might get cold. In addition to your regular preparation, try inserting foot warmers, which won’t slip like hand warmers, into the toe of your shoes. To help them last longer, place warmers in plastic bags after use — they’re oxygen activated, so keeping them airtight will extend their life by days.\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”**Riding smarter:**\n”}},{“type”:”image”,”data”:{“file”:{“url”:””,”full”:””},”text”:””}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”All the material preparation in the world won’t make you ready to bike in the winter until you adjust how you ride your bike, too. Your attention, carefulness, and handling are the things that will really keep you safe. Ride slow and steady, pay attention to your body, and place yourself carefully, and you’ll do great.\n\n**Take up space**\nSince bike lanes will be more or less totally obscured by snow come January or February, it’s important to consider lane position when biking in the city. Don’t be afraid to take up a lane — drivers might give you a hard time once in a while, but for the most part, you’ll be given a wide berth. The worst place for you to be is next to the curb, where ice, snow, trash, and other debris create an unbikeably uneven and slippery surface.\n\n**Get Zen**\nTo maintain a comfortable body temperature and bike more safely, focus on relaxing your muscles and joints as you bike. The chill might make you want to tense up, but locking your knees and elbows makes it much more likely that small hiccups in your ride will send you flying to the ground. Avoid injuries and accidents by staying loose and absorbing the shocks and interruptions of the road, and always stay alert for those times when you might need to brake suddenly or swerve. Taking a deep breath and relaxing your shoulders also just makes the cold _feel_ a little better. \n\n**Be one with the bike**\nYour brakes are your new best friends. Don’t be afraid to use them, but do so with awareness. Reflexes might tell you to squeeze with both hands when you feel yourself begin to fall, but if that moment occurs on an icy street, using both brakes might spin you out. Concentrate on the back brake if you find yourself slipping on ice. \n\n**Take refuge when you need to**\nYou’re not invincible. If it’s bad out, if you can’t see or be seen, or the cold is really just too much, just get off the road. Make sure your bike is in a safe place and hop on the T. There’s no shame in it, and nothing is worth more than your safety.\n\nWith that, we unleash you to the cold, cold streets. Enjoy it! \n\n”}},{“type”:”text”,”data”:{“text”:”_\\[[Header image credit: \\[Portraits of America](\\]_\n”}}]}