Tips for 30 Days of Biking Weather in Minnesota

I took the pledge to ride my bike every day in April for the first time in 2017 and now I'm in the midst of my third year participating in 30 Days of Biking.  I've really learned a lot about riding in the wide variety of conditions that Minnesota can dish out in April.  With a little preparation biking can be much more enjoyable and comfortable during this weather transition month.  Here are some tips that you can use to help you through the remainder of 30 Days of Biking.

Keeping a close eye on the weather is key for being prepared and properly dressed for a ride.  With today's smartphone apps you can check the current conditions and forecast for your neighborhood anytime.  I've even used these apps out on rides to check the progress of an incoming storm so I can respond accordingly.  Knowing the forecast also allows me to select my ride apparel the night before which helps speed up the process of getting ready in the morning.

The weather can change quickly in April here in Minnesota so be prepared by bringing along extra cycling apparel and having a place to put it.  If it's chilly in the morning I'll wear a jacket and warmer gloves but keep a lighter change of gloves and ditch the jacket when the day warms up. Shedding some apparel is easy when you have a place to put it, that's why I roll with a frame bag.  If there's a chance of rain I'll keep my windproof/waterproof shell jacket stored in the bag.  The above photo was taken just two hours before I got caught in a complete downpour ten miles from home.  I was glad I brought that jacket along.

Don't put away your winter cycling gear quite yet.  Snow and below freezing temperatures in April are part of living in Minnesota.  I keep all of my winter apparel close at hand for those chilly morning and evening rides as well as the occasional snowstorm.

April weather can be all over the place including fog, rain and overcast days making cyclists less visible to motorists.  This is why I always ride using daytime running lights.  I will use them on daytime flash mode to be seen by motorists that aren't expecting to see cyclists on the roads this time of year.

Plan your rides around the weather.  I watch the weather closely using several apps on my phone to plan around my work schedule the best times to ride.  The above photo was a morning ride I went on just hours before a major snowstorm rolled in.  I usually like to get my rides in before work in the morning but sometimes the weather for my daily ride may be more favorable after work and make for a more enjoyable experience.

If you don't have a pair of fenders for your ride, get some.  April weather can get messy and things are going to get wet.  Fenders can keep you a lot drier and more comfortable when puddle jumping or riding in the rain and snow.  Clip-on style fenders are quick and easy to install or remove so you can put them on only when you need them.

30 Days of Biking has taught me a lot about myself, my bikes and my gear because it has me riding every single day in April which can present some challenges in the form of weather.  I've learned to overcome them by getting out there and riding on some days that I normally wouldn't.  By following the weather closely I can be my most prepared for the elements and enjoy the ride.
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