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Winter biking, easier than you think

Posted Jan 22 2009 5:17pm
Image of bike lane on a foggy morning in Davis, California
From the Daily Camera (Boulder, CO), 01.18.09 :
Winter Biking: It's easier than you think
For most of us who ride our bikes to commute, it's no problem in the spring, summer and fall, when temperatures are balmy and the sun shines. When the thermometer drops and the daylight is abbreviated, though, many of us put the bike away and turn to the auto. But with a little planning and precaution, biking during the colder months can be rewarding, invigorating and can even help save a little money.

No question, there are days when snow and ice make biking a challenge. But here in Colorado, our 300 days of annual sunshine usually result in clear roads most of the time. In fact, many commuters find that biking gets them to their destination faster than driving, especially in slow winter traffic. While winter riding requires more fluid and attentive riding, you don't have to be a professional cyclist to handle winter conditions. There are a few things to be aware of, though, especially with Boulder's new Winter Bike to Work Day quickly approaching on Jan. 21. ( Read more .)
With an historic inauguration now behind us, and Groundhog Day on the near horizon, cyclists in the frigid north can be hopeful for the arrival of warmer weather.

In the meantime, winter still presents challenges to bicycle commuters. This inspiring article by the executive director of Community Cycles in Boulder offers great encouragement, with advice on clothing, equipment, and travel routes. The author also correctly advises greater caution bicycling in winter. Bicycle commuting is very enjoyable all year round, in all seasons, provided adequate preparation. Winter cycling presents a number of challenging conditions, such as the low-visibility foggy streets in the picture above, a typical winter riding challenge in California's Central Valley.

Beyond cold, winter cycling means lower visibility, with dimmer light and shorter days. Get a headlight , rear lights , and high visibility clothing . Think about reflectivizing to your bicycle , or even adding a personal laser bike lane . Street surfaces are also more hazardous during cold weather. When riding, anticipate slower braking, slicker street surfaces, and slower turns. Be more attentive for broken pavement and potholes, and metal surfaces are slippery when wet.

Days are slowly getting longer, winter is slowly winding down. Keep hope alive! Keep pedaling.

Image: Paul Dorn. Winter fog in Davis, CA.
Visit: Sluggish economy has more metro Detroiters biking to work in winter , Detroit Free Press
Visit: Bike commuters brave the elements to stay in shape , Dallas News
Visit: Riding bikes in St. Louis cold is crazy , St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit: Arctic blast will send temperatures below zero , Charleston Gazette (WV)
Visit: Winter bike trail fashions , Dr2Chase Blog
Visit: Bike commuters laugh at the cold , Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Cold weather no barrier to bicycle commuting , Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Brr: Tips for cold weather cycling , Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Stay flexible during winter cycling , Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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