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December 19, 2005

Winter Transportation

I'm very close to being ready to write an article about bicycles as winter transportation. I planned on doing it before, but it just wasn't winter yet and frankly, I had only ridden through one winter before. So I didn't really think that was enough real experience. I had to feel my toes getting cold and the windchill factor on my exposed skin to remember what it was like last winter. Now I remember. Ah yes, tonight was cold riding home. I was fine, but my toes got a little too cold and I experienced a little pain. My face was cold and I kept trying to cover my nose and keep my glasses from fogging up. I was sweating because I was working so hard riding up the hill to my house, but still freezing in other areas. The sides of the roads are covered in one-to-two inches of half-frozen slush so it makes riding adventurous. With my mountain bike it's fine, and I realized I'm gaining a lot of off-road bike handling skills riding there! I really wish they'd plow all the way to the curb!
Well, that's my rant about winter biking for the day. It was fine. It's times like tonight though that really define the rules of winter commuting by bicycle. It shows what is needed and how to handle it. My hands were toasty warm by the way in my leather choppers. I wish I could find my good ski mask though. But all-in-all, the verdict is in...The bicycle is a viable mode of transportation in the winter. I'm doing it. I'll most likely keep doing it.

Posted by carl1236 at December 19, 2005 10:12 PM | Winter-Biking


Wow riding a bike in the winter! I hope you find your warm ski mask soon. As for your toes maybe wool socks or those electric socks might help. I’ve seen polar fleece socks; I don’t know how good they are for keeping your toes warm while riding your bike.
I’ve rode bike in warm weather before when I was younger, and I can say I really enjoyed it a great deal. One time I was riding from Texas to Florida on bike, but when I hit Louisiana and those killer mosquitoes I was ready to sell the bike and take a bus the rest of the way. I had a few times riding that were a bit hazardous. Hitting road debris, heavy traffic mixed with storm gutters, drivers pulling out in front of me or turning right in front of me, and the worst when my brakes got wet and I was going down a steep slope.
People just don’t seem to see a person riding a bike. So make sure you wear clothes that make you highly visible. I have found for myself that the neon green shows up best in all conditions and it catches peoples eye.
Enjoy the ride.

Posted by: Gen at December 20, 2005 6:28 PM

Nice tips Gen! I know I wasn't wearing wool socks, but just plain cotton ones. That probably had a lot to do with it, along with it being 8 below or something like that. There is an old winter camping phrase that says, "Cotton Kills." And the reason is that it holds moisture in. This is good in the summer for cooling, but in the winter it's not so good. Wool breathes and draws the moisture away from our bodies. Anyway, I never thought about electric socks but now I'm going to go out and get a pair and try them!

Neon green? Haha, maybe. I am wearing a bright yellow jacket right now. Being seen is a real problem you're right. Especially in the winter here where it's dark after work and I spend a lot of time riding in the dark. I have to add more reflectors to my bike also.

Let it shine! ;-)

Posted by: John at December 20, 2005 10:57 PM