It doesn’t have to be snowing to be a winter bicyclist in Minnesota. Altho, the few of us who do ride four seasons, this time of year is considered to be all about the ride in snow. Most bike riders this winter are kind of wondering if we are ever going to get the white stuff. For me, one less day of snow and cold is one day less of winter so really all I have been doing is bike riding with extra cloths on. Not much skill involved in dressing myself. Or maybe there is a knack, I don’t know. The worst weather may yet to come, but there is no denying that winter bike riding has been freakishly dry and warm with record-breaking statistics for least amount of snow and highest temperatures. Dare to say Global Warming induced by industrialization is evidence enough for me. That being the case, it just another reason for leaving the car at home and bike riding all four seasons.
If looking like a cross between Will Steger and Jacques Cousteau is not your ideal, then find your own icon. Maybe Lance Armstrong and Carrot Top is more your speed. Whatever. Dress like your mother would dress you and remember temperature control is always about keeping the moisture away from your body in these cold days we bike ride.
So, Mr. Surly bike rider has not had to think too hard about getting into gear as most days in November and December were very predictable. Mid January the temperatures have bottomed out at about 10 degrees F. Not cold enough by any measure from the norm. The gear pictured here is nothing exceptional and it was mostly for the wind chill making it feel below zero. By the afternoon no need for goggles or face mask. Which comes to the question, why are not more people winter bike riders? I think the answer lays between the perception that bike riding is a three season sport and recreation activity, bike shops don’t dispel this attitude. It’s not like there isn’t a bunch of winter apparel, studded tires or Pugsleys stocked at bike stores, but winter bike riders, at least the ones I see, don’t even buy into specialized gear. This stuff is all overpriced or user specific. What I mean by that is that on any given day I might have two or three articles of “street” cloths that are interchangeable and cross over to other activity. I might walk or chop wood in these cloths or shovel snow. Thinking last year! Ordinary people who bike ride don’t buy basic gear to bike ride in the winter from bike shops. Ski goggles, face mask, heavy socks, poly underwear and insulated boots can either be bought at discount online, think Sierra Trading Post or at a local Dick’s, SportMart, Fleet Farm or L & M Fleet. For every 10 winter bike riders that are keeping warm and dry with cross over gear there is less than 1 duded up bike shop specific winter bike rider. Now if bike shops would just get in gear and focus on ordinary needs for transportation, utilizing ordinary clothing and quit making bike riding segmented as a three season activity. Winter bike riding is for ordinary people, lets not forget that it does not take extraordinary powers to pedal a bike, no matter the weather. What have you been waiting for this winter? It hasn’t snowed a bit and what’s your excuse for parking your bike and driving your car?