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Know how to adapt

by Galen Mook

"Since you can't change the weather, your best bet is to prepare for whatever New England skies will bring."

While biking you are exposed to the elements. That’s just a fact.

Since you can’t change the weather, your best bet is to prepare for whatever New England skies will bring. Ours can be a harsh climate that changes quickly, so study the forecasts, know how to adapt your route for different conditions, and invest in protective (and reflective) gear. Get yourself some quality rain pants and a waterproof jacket as well as shoe booties, and you'll stay dry when it's wet plus you'll be protected against cold winds. Around late-September, cold-weather gloves become a necessity, and keep with you a light cap to go under your helmet to keep that heat in.

And since visibility is reduced during rain and snow, having bright lights is extra important when riding on the streets. You need to make everyone aware of your presence. Nothing says “I’m biking here” better than a few blinking lights and some bright colors to catch the drivers’ sometimes-distracted attention.

Later in the winter season, your route is bound to change once the snow starts to fall. Some roads get better plowing than others. Some pathways disappear under snow piles. It’s perfectly normal to bike in all weather, as long as you adjust your riding technique, your attire, and your route to fit the elements.

Alternatives and back-up plans

We highly recommend you know a way out if something happens and you have to abandon your biking plans! Bikes are allowed on most MBTA buses, as long as there is space on the front racks. And on all commuter rail and subway trains, except during rush hours and never on the Green Line! Refer to the MBTA website for current info about bikes on the T.

You’d be smart to always keep a cell phone on you, and a number of a friend or a taxi service in case you have a mechanical failure, or other reason you can’t bike yourself home.

Everyday Biking Tips
by Galen Mook

Galen Mook formerly worked in Landry's marketing department, and he is now MassBike's executive director. Galen is a year-round bike commuter, experienced cycling instructor, and community advocate for better bicycling.

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