Sunny and balmy one minute, windy and rainy the next; Melbourne’s climate—especially in winter—has earned the catchphrase of “four seasons in one day.” And because the city’s random winter weather patterns are utterly impossible to predict, it’s pretty easy for the rider to get caught unprepared.
But that’s all part of the fun, and the benefits of doing the daily commute on two wheels still outweigh the cons. So keep your chin up, take the crazy climate in your stride, and expect these six things to happen at any time during your winter rides in the city.
1. YOU tend to sweat it out
You crawl out of bed into the frigid morning air and peer out the window to see frost glistening on the glass, on the odd occasion. Time to rug up good and proper for the 30-minute ride to work, right? Wrong.
By the time you’ve finished your morning routine and hit the road in your warmest winter gear, the sun is already blazing. Of course, you could find a safe spot to pull over and stuff some excess clothing into your bag, but you’re already late for work and would rather keep on trucking. If only you had time to take a quick shower at the office…
2. You’ll get soaking wet on a beautiful sunny day
Beautiful and sunny until a barrage of torrential rain arrives out of nowhere, that is. No matter what the weather report says or how piercingly blue the sky may seem, a downpour could be no more than a few minutes away in Melbourne. Even the most seasoned Melbourne bike commuter will get caught out in the rain from time to time, and the veterans pack a poncho to avoid being damp the whole day.
Better yet, a casual and waterproof SWRVE jacket will keep you dry and looking shmick at the same time. It’s toasty warm on the inside and stylish enough to rock at the pub for a cheeky bevo on the way home from work. Winning!
You never know what kind of weather a Melbourne winter will throw your way.
3. You’ll light yourself up like a Christmas tree
With all the rain, fog, and hail that hits Melbourne over the winter, the city’s drivers find it a wee bit hard to see. And with poor visibility a constant menace on Melbourne roads, the sensible rider understands the importance of being seen.
Seasoned cyclists don obnoxiously large lights on both ends of their rig; the shinier and flashier, the better (try the Moon Meteor Pro for maximum effect). And you needn’t stop there: why not chuck on a high-vis vest with reflective panels as well? Melbourne drivers tend to get a little frantic when the heavens open up, so it’s in your best interest to optimise your visibility to the extreme.
4. You’ll pay more attention to your bike
While summer is usually smooth sailing for the e-bike enthusiast, the harsh winter chill puts strain on the delicate electrical parts of even the most well-oiled machine. A veteran e-bike commuter knows to put maintenance at the forefront during the winter to ensure their ride works wonderfully every single day.
Pay close attention to cleaning your drivetrain, which is especially susceptible to the cold. Winter tyres are a good idea too, as they won’t wear out as fast in the frost and will help keep you upright in the wet.
5. YOU WON’T GET FAT
While everyone else goes into hibernation mode and stocks up on excess fat, you’ll be looking lean and fighting fit right throughout the winter months.
Studies have shown just 30 minutes of medium-intensity exercise per day will have you lose weight and maintain excellent cardiovascular health. As those around you become more sluggish and lethargic as the winter drags on, you’ll be buzzing with energy and always ready to head out.
6. YOU’LL HAVE THE BIKE PATHS TO YOURSELF
As the fair-weather cyclists stow away their bikes for the winter in favour of the car, you’ll suddenly find you have stacks of room to weave through the city.
Pace yourself however you fancy as you get many of the city’s countless bike lanes to yourself (well, pretty much). And that means you can slash the length of your daily commute and savour a more pleasant cycling experience overall.
Although it’s not without its challenges, riding through a Melbourne winter is totally feasible with proper preparation. Take these five scenarios into consideration and you’ll be set to cycle right through the chilly season.