The winter season is upon us but here in Victoria we are lucky to have very mild winters. We are one of the few places in Canada where we can cycle all year around. It may be a bit chilly BUT the neighborhoods are still green, the cafes are cozy, and it is extra special to be able to cycle in the winter in Canada. Here at The Pedaler we have put together some great winter cycling tips for all you visitors coming to Victoria to escape the winter blues back home.
Stay warm! Make sure you are wearing the appropriate gear for winter riding. Get some gloves and throw your toque on under that helmet. At the Pedaler we know gloves can make a big difference to your comfort level so we offer gloves with our rentals and tours at no extra charge. Be sure to layer as well, it is the best way to stay warm. You can always take layers off if you start to get too hot and place them in the handlebar bags or baskets we provide. We are very prepared here at The Pedaler so we also have ponchos if there is an unexpected rainfall.
Victoria is noted as the bicycling capital of Canada which means we are a very cycle-friendly city. During this time of year though, we do get a lot of visitors coming for the holidays. Some visitors driving vehicles around Victoria may be unaccustomed to seeing people riding bicycles during the Canadian winter months. As always, be aware of your surroundings when sharing the streets with vehicles and with the shorter days be sure to light up your bike or return it to the shop before the sun disappears. Small bike lights can be purchased at The Pedaler. We also have great maps for cyclists wanting to hit a bike trail instead.
Victoria’s temperature is quite pleasant year round so we rarely worry about ice BUT on days where the temperature hovers close to 0C/32F you might encounter an ice patch on a shaded section of a street or bike path. The best rule of thumb is to proceed with caution or use your rear brakes just before encountering any ice.
For those of you riding your own bikes, try to keep your bike clean. Any road salt or gravel will take a toll on a bicycle. At The Pedaler we keep our tour and rental bicycles clean all year long!
Another simple tip when riding an unfamiliar bicycle, of if you are concerned about road conditions, is to adjust your seat lower than normal by just a few millimeters. Some bicycles have a “quick release” on the seat post making the adjustment possible without any special tools. This lowers your centre of gravity and allows you to more easily balance your bicycle when stopping with at least one foot on the ground from a seated position. If you are renting a bicycle at The Pedaler we will make any necessary adjustments so you are comfortable on your bicycle.
Winter cycling in Victoria is a great way to get fresh air and exercise during the typical Canadian “hibernation” months. Locals will also be impressed when you stop in to warm up with a tea or coffee in the cooler months. We all love to see cyclists bearing the elements and not being afraid to get out there! Winter riding can be for everyone with a little extra wardrobe and route planning we are sure you will enjoy it as much as we do.