Tips from Talbot’s on Winter Biking

Winter is upon us. For some of us working on a car-free lifestyle, that means finding clever ways to bring home a Christmas Tree on our bikes (see great article on just how to do that here>>)

For others of us, winter cycling means basically bidding goodbye to our beloved bicycles until after the rains have passed. But it doesn’t have to be that way! To continue enjoying bicycling during the gray months, we consulted with Gary Moore, owner of San Mateo’s own Talbot’s Cyclery.

Located in downtown San Mateo, Talbot’s is one of those neighborhood gems. Originally founded in 1953 as Talbot’s Toyland, its current incarnation as a full-service cycling shop opened in the early 70s. Now, Talbot’s is a leading provider of the latest in bikes and bike gear. Gary noted that electric bikes are a new and popular addition to the shop’s inventory, with customers seeing them as a good choice for alternative transportation and recreation.

What are 4 things bicyclists need to watch out for when commuting or biking recreationally during the rainy season?

  • Debris & loose gravel washed into bike lanes & roadway. Water & water seepage crossing bike lanes can be slippery. Be aware and more cautious of the road or path you are riding on.
  • Visibility & lights. Wear bright windbreaker/rain jacket with reflective trim. Use your head & tail lights during the day as auto windows can be fogged, reducing driver’s visibility. Assume drivers may not see you.
  • Pedestrians may not see you on bike paths due to hooded and/or rain clothing limiting their visibility.
  • Your own visibility of road conditions due to rain or fogging eyewear.

What are some items that are essential to keeping safe while winter biking?

  • Headlights & tail lights providing visibility on road/path at night and visibility for other cyclists & drivers to see you during the day.
  • Winter cycle clothing. Cycle clothing patterns are cut to fit the rider while in the cycling position. This helps to keep the rider dry, warm & visible. Popular winter items are windproof/water resistant long finger gloves, helmet covers to reduce air flow and rain through helmet, base layers for warmth, shoe covers to keep the feet dry & warm, rain & wind jackets for warmth & visibility.
  • Check tires & brake pads for wear at the beginning of the winter season. Brake pads wear quicker in wet weather as the pad gets imbedded with grit from wet roads. Check again before spring/summer riding events.
(photo credit: juicyrai)

(photo credit: juicyrai)

(Just for fun)
What’s your favorite spot to ride in San Mateo?
For a casual ride with my wife Terri, Sawyer Camp Trail with a picnic lunch at the upper dam. Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail from Poplar Beach to Pillar Point Harbor for lunch. As you can see, a nice lunch is a requirement. My favorite distance road ride would be Redwood City to Santa Cruz.

What’s your Bike make/model?
Raleigh Team Road bike for distance & commuting, Specialized Centrum Urban Bike w/8-speed internal for utility, shopping and camping. Specialized FSR Comp Full suspension for trail/off road. Like golf, you can’t play the game with just one club.

Piece of gear you couldn’t live without?
Any one of my 3 bikes.

What do you love about biking?
It is just plain fun! Commuting is good for the planet and your health. I’ve seen a lot more of this world traveling at a slower pace, and met & interacted with some great people! It gives a reason and a fun way to go out and explore. The cycling community is very diverse, everybody has their own ideas, needs and uses for cycling. You have to be careful, it can be very addictive.


Looking for a great place to ride? Bay Meadows and the surrounding San Mateo area are bike friendly and offer many different paths to ride and sights to see. We even have a convenient bike map that you can download here, so you can decide exactly where to ride. Some resident favorites include the Bay Trail as well as Coyote Point Park And don’t forget to save the date for Bike to Work Day 2015: May 14th!