Sometimes the key to maintaining a fitness level is to continue doing what you’re doing, no matter what the weather.
If you bicycle, the fall season – and early winter – do not have to hinder your routine, according to Jeremy Barker of in Grosse Pointe Woods. But because of the cooler and sometimes wetter weather, you should take some precautions, he said.
“Make sure your tire pressure is correct,” Barker said. “Check the air pressure before every ride. Make sure your use a pressure gauge.”
According to Barker, feeling the tire by hand to confirm that there is adequate air is not the best method. While it can tell you if the tire is desperately low on air, it may not be apparent if the tire is low enough to hinder performance or risk malfunctioning.
“No one can tell if the PSI (pound per square inch) is low by feeling it,” he said. “Most tires need to be at 60 PSI, but they can still feel hard at 40 PSI. The better tire pumps will have a tire gauge attached. Use that.”
Riding your bike with low air pressure can result in a pinch flat, where slack in the tube allows it to rub against or under the wheel, resulting in a flat.
Barber also said to make sure you protect your bike from the elements. If it looks like it’s going to storm (or snow), perhaps postpone your ride. But if you must get out there due to time constraints or an unbelievable desire to pedal in the weather, make sure you towel off your bicycle--including the chain--as soon as you return. This will prevent the inevitable rust that will set in if you don’t.
While these steps will help prepare your bike for a longer riding season, you, as the rider, must also be prepared, Barber said. He reminds riders to cover up--your face, hands, body, of course, and even your shoes with shoe covers. This way the cold and chill won’t send you home before you have finished your exercise.
If you ride your bike for transportation, which could entail leaving it locked to a bike rack for many hours, you may also want to look into buying a cover for your bicycle to drape over it. You can find bike covers at most bike stores. They cost in the neighborhood of $30.
So don't let the cooler or inclement weather derail your fun and exercise. Take care of your bike and yourself and, who knows, you may be able to maintain your bicycle shape right up until next spring!