Winter Riding Tips

Beginning fall 2017, the full Hubway system is open all year long in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville. For the first time this winter your Hubway ride will stay your fastest way to get around Greater-Boston area. No matter if you are riding your own bike or a Hubway, using these few tips and tricks for cold weather riding can still make biking in the winter safe and fun.

Wear layers, but remember that riding will warm you up. If you get hot as you ride, pull over and remove a layer, but always keep your ears and hands shielded.

Local bike shops offer bike-appropriate gloves and earmuffs that do not obstruct the use of your helmet. Make sure you can hear what's going on around you.

Your core will stay warm as you ride, but make sure you’ve got your extremities covered. Wear shoes with enough room for thick, warm socks. Gloves or mittens will keep your hands warm. Just make sure you’re still able to work the brakes, gears, and bell.

The weather can change quickly here, so make sure you have a back-up plan if you don’t feel comfortable on a bike. Plan your route ahead of time. If the weather isn’t good for biking, take the train, bus, or a cab.

It’s important to decide for yourself when you’re comfortable riding and when you’re not. Each rider has a different comfort level in inclement weather, and if you are uncomfortable for any reason while biking, stop riding and walk your bike to the nearest docking station. If you are cold, make your way indoors to warm up.

Visibility is particularly limited during the winter, with fewer daylight hours, glare, and foggy conditions. Hubway bikes have 24-hour lights, but it is also a good idea to wear light colored clothing and reflective materials if possible. Always make sure you can be seen by drivers, pedestrians, and other cyclists.

Use extra caution under wintry conditions, as roads may not be completely cleared of snow and ice. You are always permitted to ride in the general travel lane (not only the bike lane) and should do so if the bike lane is snowy or icy. Keep your eyes open for piles of leaves or patches of ice. It’s better to continue straight through these obstacles than turn or lean through them. Also be careful to use the rear brake (right hand) as your main brake, and continue to steer. On icy patches, the use of your front brake alone may cause you to lose control.

Hubway bikes can hold up to cold weather. They’re checked regularly by our bike mechanics, so leave your bike at home and let us worry about hardware wear & tear.

The system will only shut down in the event of severe weather conditions. In those cases, we’ll notify the public via press release and social media (Twitter and Facebook). We also send periodic system alerts via email with news of station outages, closures, and moves — you can sign up to receive those at the bottom of our homepage.

If you need any help this season or any time visit our help center.