Winter Bike Riding is…
…a drag. That is the first word that comes to my mind and I have a feeling that it is a sentiment that is shared by many people. We all have our reasons: it is cold, it is rainy, it gets dark too early and it goes on and on. There is just something about the winter months that make you hang up your helmet, happily grab your keys and enjoy the toasty seat warmer on your drive to work.
This fall I bought and put together my first commuter bike and only rode it to work once before daylight savings ended. I keep thinking once it is spring I will start riding again. Lately though I have really missed riding and have begun questioning if all the excuses I have come up with to avoid the commute are valid. Here are the results of my internal argument to ride (weather or not).
Excuse: It is too cold. Well this one works for the Northeastern and north Midwestern states (links to snow storm news). Here in the Pacific Northwest the climate is mild. The winter months are actually quite pleasant and though the sky is perpetually grey the temperature averages 45 degrees. Last Monday it was 62 degrees a record high for this time of year!
Excuse: It is rainy. I played youth soccer growing up and spent countless hours running around a muddy field (without a raincoat!) chasing a soccer ball with a big smile on my face. So what makes the rain such a deterrent to ride now? It may be annoying to arrive at work wet but that’s why they make raincoats. Furthermore that’s why we make waterproof panniers to hold dry clothes to change into upon arrival at work. If I am not riding because of the rain then I probably shouldn’t represent a company that makes waterproof bike accessories.
Excuse: It gets dark too early. This is the true excuse that stops me from riding into work. My route to work involves roads, skinny shoulders and a trail known to be home to a few coyotes. Riding solo in the dark could be potentially dangerous. Though you can buy bright headlights, taillights and dress in reflective clothing (and put some high-vis panniers on your bike!) as a new commuter, I am not comfortable riding in the dark with cars zooming by.
So maybe bike commuting isn’t the best idea in winter when the sunsets at 4 p.m. but I still have the plenty of other opportunities to ride. There are actually events all over the country that were created to celebrate the “joys” of winter riding. Winter riding is what you make it, so why not make it fun?
Here are some fun winter events going on around the country:
- Chilly Hilly– Seattle, WA
- Worst ride of the year– Portland, OR
- Fatbike Frozen Forty– Minneaplois, MN
- Bikecicle 2015– Grand Forks, ND
- International Winter Bike to Work day– Everywhere!