With the cold weather setting in and the days getting ever shorter, I had to find a method to get my miles in without endangering my life. What I have found is that if you go out way late at night there is much less traffic. The later you go the less traffic there is.
I sat down with my wife and came up with three separate mile loops that I can ride near my home. I can do multiple loops around each of these routes. If something does go wrong, I am never far from home.
This means, that if I cannot simply pump air into a flat, instead of fixing it in the cold and dark, I can simply walk my bike home without having to worry too much about hypothermia setting in. Hypothermia is probably the biggest concern of cold weather riders. Staying warm while on the bike is just a simple matter of dressing appropriately. But if something goes wrong… it doesn’t take very long for your sweaty body to start getting chilled. Stay still for very long and you are flirting with disaster!
As far as traffic is concerned, I have ridden as far as twenty miles on my local loops and I only saw four cars on that ride. Depending on the road I am on, when a car approaches I generally will pull right off the road and just stand there waiting for them to pass. I do this for a number of reasons; oncoming cars can be blinding, drivers from either direction are not expecting a bicyclist to be out in the dark, and while their headlights make it easier for them to see, they generally screw-up my visibility.
The take away: don’t let either the cold or the dark keep you off the road this winter.