Q: I ride my bike year-round. How can prepare my bike for winter riding?
A: Winter can be tough on a bike (as well as the person riding it), but there are a few ways to make your ride a lot easier, safer, and warmer.
Tires: A set of tires with a more aggressive tread can go a long way in the winter. These increase your traction on snowy/icy conditions as well as give you more cushion on the cracks and potholes that are more prevalent during the snowplow filled winter months.
Fenders: Having a strong set of fenders over your wheels can help immensely to keep you dry. A front fender will prevent water from coming up and soaking your shoes while a rear fender will keep your back-side clean and dry.
Proper Lubrication: Parts like your chain and cables can take a beating from salt, dirt, and water from the snow/winter treated roads. Using the right lube to protect those parts can save you a lot of trouble and money in the long run. Lubrication with a thicker consistency like Finish Line Wet lubricant doesn't wash off as easy when water hits it, preventing parts from rusting, eventually seizing and needing to be replaced.
Clothing: Moisture-Transferring synthetic layers go a long way in cold weather. When your body heats up and you begin to sweat, cotton layers will soak up that sweat, and with the inability to dry out quickly(aka: transfer moisture) the cotton will freeze and so will you. Synthetic materials like polyester tend to be much lighter-weight, breathable and will keep you dry and warm in the most challenging conditions. So throw out those old white cotton long-Johns and go get yourself some new and improved under-layers from companies like Under-Armor, Pearl Izumi, or Smart Wool. Your body will thank you.