good things about riding in the winter
Some of it is bully pulpit material for warmer weather. If I’m able to bike when it’s dim or dark, in sub-freezing temps, what’s keeping you from trying it when it’s 60+ and light from 6am to 8pm?
3/4 of it is state of mind, about 1/4 is equipment and clothing.
That said, I think the biggest thing for me is the sense of accomplishment in traveling 10 miles in sub-freezing cold.
It seems to me that there have been disparaging remarks made about riding in snowy or cold weather, so I thought we needed to highlight some positives. I have thought of quite few but will start with just one to give everyone a chance.
– the bikepath is less crowded with people weaving or clotheslining which allows for a less stressful and faster commute
-Less sweating on the way to work.
-Accusations of craziness by coworkers have undertones of “you’re such a badass!” rather than “you’re such a dork.”
-Better visibility when riding rural roads, due to fewer leaves and sleepy plants.
A colleague of mine thinks that drivers give him more space in the winter. Also, less drivers in general when it’s snowing.
@reddan Accusations of craziness by coworkers have undertones of “you’re such a badass!”
My experience is rather the opposite. When the temp goes into the 20’s and there is a little ice on the road, the “Crazy!” comments show concern about the possibility of mental illness.
@ ChemDave. Neither drivers nor criminals tend to mess with people they think might be crazier than them.
Crime tends to correlate with temperature, up to temps of about 105 F. Above that temperature, crime drops off rapidly. And no one is lurking in the nightime Junction Hollow bushes at -5 F, drinking Old English and waiting for a victim.
In the summer my co-workers tell me how much they hate cyclist. In the winter they say how much of a bad ass I am. They go from hatred to respect according to Micks temperature scale.
I get to wear all my sweet long sleeved wool clothing, tights, and my yellow helmet cover.
fewer peds and the ones that are out are much more sedentary.
The acoustics of the city change – especially when the snow is fresh.
Best of all situations:
Your water is always cold.
If you get hot, just open a layer.
and, as stated above, I think cars give you more room because they think you’re nuts.
It sets a good example for people who are not sure about riding in the winter.
-Have a legitimate reason to dress like a ninja
-The ground hurts less with 6 inches of snow on it
Vannevar posted my absolute favorite thing about winter: when you get to work (or wherever) and you’re tired from riding, your water is always cold and refreshing for you.
@floggingdavy -The ground hurts less with 6 inches of snow on it
For me, the ground hurts less when I’m dressed like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
I always make it into work or anywhere I need to go when people in cars can’t because of road conditions.
(edit) actually don’t know if thats a good thing that I make it into work while drivers call and say they are staying home baby its cold out side
yes i had the mountour trail almost to myself this morning i rode 10 miles at dawn i wore a sauna suit under my other clothes i was drenched in sweat after the 10 mile ride but i brought dry clothes to change into i wish i could ride to work but id never make it trying to ride on route 65
i agree, not getting sweaty is the best part. riding through a layer of freshly fallen snow can also be kind of magical, especially when the snow is still falling… until it gets too deep, then it’s something different which is a ton of work – which is not necessarily bad but cancels out the “no sweat” part.
i disagree about cars giving more room though, at least when there’s a strip of snow/slush down the centerline, cars are reluctant to cross it but have no qualms about passing you at speed with inches to spare
I find it quiet and peaceful riding through the snow at night.
@erok – don’t have to worry about sunscreen running down your face
I reconsider this sometimes in the winter. There is still a lot of sunlight during the day. I shave my head, and I learned to respect the winter sun after getting the top of my head, face, and ears sunburned while snowboarding on a warm snowy day after taking off my hat. At least my head was nice and warm after that. Luckily, I do tend to wear a helmet, so it’s not as big of a concern, but sometimes I’ll toss a little sunscreen on my face when I’m going on longer daytime rides in the winter.
something about the lack of leaves and the cold and everything gives the world a vast emptiness which makes you feel like you have a lot more room, and all of the world is there just for you. it really opens up. i don’t quite have the words to do justice to that feeling, but it is magical, and it almost makes up for my extreme hatred of the cold and lack of sunlight.
During the summer the bike racks I use are always full, in the winter I have the whole rack to myself.
Gotta love just chilling OUTSIDE after a ride to cool down versus running INSIDE to camp in front of an air conditioner.
Your water is always cold.
If, as I sometimes did, you ride around in sub-freezing temperatures with a CamelBak backpack, your water reservoir may be wonderfully cold (heated by your back) but the drinking tube gets to be too cold, and frozen over…
Because your bike is all set to go on a day like today! Thermometer in the back yard stands at 60 at the moment. Wheee!
@ salty Get your kicks…
Some of us really know how to have fun!
Cold water? I’ve had my water bottle freeze.
I’m pretty sure I’m more visible in the winter dark than in the summer light. And perhaps I grab drivers’ attention a bit more since they aren’t expecting to see a bicyclist.
Tip (This advice applies to hiking more than cycling): when it gets *really* cold, put your water bottle upside-down. The water might freeze on top but not the bottom, leaving the mouthpiece drinkable. Also, add a dash of salt to your water. It lowers the freezing temperature and helps with your hydration.
@DM – I find it hard to pedal in my sleeping bag. Do you thing a snugglie would work?
@Vannevar – Yes, I think the time is ripe!
If they can do it in Colorado, we can do it in Pittsburgh.
It’s all in preparation. Well, 95% prep. About 5% is overcoming “Am I really going to go out on a bicycle in this weather?”
Conquer the issues of fingers, ears, toes on self; fenders, lights, mudflaps on bike; and securement of luggage; and you’re ready. It’s ours to show everyone else how.
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