The temperature has finally started plunging across central and southwest Virginia, so it’s time to start thinking about winterizing your vehicle. We’ve got some tips below for making sure your car and your bike are both ready for winter weather.
First up from Consumer Reports: winterizing your car. Safety is your major concern here – make sure your windshield wipers are prepared to clean away snow, consider winter tires (probably not a problem in most of our service area unless you are regularly making trips from much higher to much lower elevations), and using the right viscosity oil are all good recommendation. In addition, this article from the Boston Globe recommends verifying your tire pressure. In very low temperatures, the air in your tire contracts, reducing pressure and making it more difficult to steer. In addition, poor tire pressure makes your car run less efficiently and burn more fuel. Improperly inflated tires can reduce your MPG by anywhere from 0.6% to 3%
And if you’re a bike commuter? Bicycling.com has seven tips for preparing your bike commute for the cold. Of particular importance, the post specifies, are keeping your bike clean and the batteries in your lights fresh, since you’re more likely to be riding in the dark over the winter. Fenders can post a particular problem in the winter if you’re riding in the snow, as they’ll collect snow and ice and effectively become brakes. The article recommends clip-on fenders you can remove as necessary for winter riding.
The last few years have seen at least once good snow storm hit the region each winter, and I’ve personally found a mix of biking and driving can be pretty useful. During some of the post-storm cleanup periods where neighborhood side-streets were still thick with packed-down ice while major thoroughfares were mostly clean, it was often easier and safer to navigate by bike than it was by car.
Of course, in addition to your car and bike, the other vehicle to consider (and one you don’t have to maintain!) is your local bus. Make sure to check snow routes for your local system (often, they are indicated by a snowflake sticker on the route or bus stop sign) to know where to catch the bus if you’re trapped by winter weather, or check with us by calling 1-866-424-3334.