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Winter Cycling

October 12, 2009

Giveaway Winner

And the winner of Mimi Spencer’s 101 Things to Do Before You Diet is… Maggie! Her tip: take some “me time”! Always needed. It’s great to just get away for a little bit each day, even if it’s only 5 minutes. We can all benefit from a little extra time to ourselves to recollect our thoughts.

Winter Cycling

We got our first snowfall of the year on Friday afternoon. It looks as though it’s here to stay- yesterday morning the snow melted quite a bit, but then it began snowing again in the late afternoon. So much for autumn! In the spirit of exercising no matter the weather, on Saturday morning I set out for my first ever experience with winter cycling.

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Just imagine this… with a coat down to my knees, boots reaching up my calves, a scarf covering the lower half of my face, and ski gloves to keep my hands warm. Envision piles of snow around and that’s what Harriette and I looked like over the weekend.

My beautiful bicycle Harriette is useful for winter cycling because of her large cruiser-style tires. I learned this when I hit a couple bumpy ice patches on the road. Ever faithful, she managed to keep me balanced and we only slid once! There was something very invigorating about cycling on the slippery snow. I always assumed that bicycling in the winter would be colder than walking, but if you’re bundled up properly, it’s actually quite warm.

When I first started boot camp, I fell completely in love with it. With the Run a Race this Summer Challenge, I began to really enjoy running immensely. I think that there are a couple of key factors here, and that is the novelty of starting something new, and overcoming the difficulties that are associated with them. When I got on my bike on Saturday, I felt the same way that I did when I started those other challenging exercise regimes. The wind was nasty, the roads were brutal, and winter has altogether arrived far too early for my liking- but something about the extremeness of the sport is very attractive.

(Give me a week and no doubt I’ll be changing my tune).

I have a lot of friends who are seasoned winter cyclists. Seeing them out there in all kinds of conditions is intriguing. The reason why I’m particularly interested in it now is because my work/university schedules are not very accommodating if I walk to and from each of them. If I work in the morning (50 minute walk or 15 minute bike ride), I have to take the bus back to my place so I can make it to school on time for my afternoon classes (the university is about a 15 minute walk from my apartment). I’d rather spend my time exercising for transportation than sitting on a bus, so it makes sense to ride my bike- especially because it takes the same amount of time to bike or to go by bus to my work! Therefore, winter cycling really does seem like the most appealing option.

I know virtually nothing about winter cycling or if there’s any special way to treat your bike. I’m a little concerned because Harriette’s seat and handlebars are leather; will they crack in the cold?

There are a couple websites with useful winter riding tips, but I’d love to hear from any of you! Has anyone tried winter cycling? Is it something you’d ever be interested in? Do you have any pointers to help out a beginner?

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Westwood took this photo when she and I went on an epic snow frolicking adventure on Friday.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

18 comments

  1. That sounds really fun! I’ve never wintercycled much, though the odd day in Boulder when I was late for class across campus. I was usually afraid of falling and dying or something like that. Your bike looks a lot more capable to deal with the conditions, which is very good. Hope the experience goes well!


  2. how cute are you!!

    love,

    A woman who lives where winter means a BITTER COLD spell of the 50’s (translation: Im no help :))


  3. I’ve not tried winter cycling, or summer cycling for that matter, but I do exercise in the winter. The only thing I have to be careful of is breathing hard when it is bitter cold outside. IT tends to bring on a bout of bronchitis with me.


  4. I got a bike for Christmas last year and it’s a mountain bike (good for snow I guess!), but I’ll admit I’m not into winter biking. I am a wimp in the cold weather. I have to bundle up a lot and then if I start to ride I get hot…then I Want to take everything off…I can’t be happy!

    I love the picture of you on your new bike, it looks perfect! I hope you get some good tips )


  5. I do put my bike up in the winter, it’s too dangerous around here when you have to share a road narrowed with snow with other cars. And then the bike paths are nowhere to be found LOL! I will bike into mid to late November. Key is to dress in layers that you can peel off as you go and get warm. Make sure your jackets are short enough that they don’t restrict your pedaling movement, and make sure any long pantlegs are secured so they don’t catch in the chain.


  6. That is a bitchin’ bike.


  7. Lia- “usually afraid of falling or dying or something like that”. *hugs* you are so cute.

    MizFit- grumble. Can I winter with you in Texas please?

    South Beach Steve- definitely need to wrap up warm!

    Gina- I’m a TOTAL wimp the second it gets anything close to cold. Exercise is one of the few things that actually motivates me to want to be out there when it’s minus a zillion degrees!

    Lori- what are these “bike paths” you speak of? 😉 My city is notorious for not being accommodating to bikes. It’s so frustrating. Thanks for the advice!

    Jack Sh*t- why thank you 🙂


  8. It’s still serious summer here in Florida, but that will change, and we will have some freezing weather before it’s summer again.

    I had my cruiser, Desperado, with me when I was in med school in the Northeast, and still ride “him”.

    Regards to Westwood. I don’t know how she hurt her face, but when I was 14, I flipped over on my bike and got cut up pretty badly. It happened right in front of a surgeon’s home and he sewed my up!


  9. I bike year round when I was in college. Where I went to school, it mostly rained in the winter. Since I lived 10 minutes from campus, it was worth my time to bike home even when I only had an hour break between classes. I would go back and forth at least 3 times a day. I was in the best shape of my life (but then I was younger too). I miss those days. But of course, at the time, I kept wishing I had a car.


  10. I’m so excited!! This is awesome 🙂

    I haven’t biked in a while, but I really like it. I don’t have a bike right now. I should get one because I end up driving to a lot of places that are just a bit too far for walking… but would definitely be bikeable.


  11. oh, my…SNOW? October? Snow?

    You look so cute in that picture!

    I don’t know much about winter cycling (or cycling in general), but I know I do miss the fresh air in the wintertime. What a great way to get outside. As long as you’re bundled up!


  12. hey, turned out good!

    and the biggest concern for your bike, probably, is salt. Regular, dedicated cleaning or else your gears will be chop suey in a year or two.


  13. Always finding fun ways to keep it going! 🙂


  14. Dr. J- sort of the same thing happened to her, if you replace “bike” with “dock at a lake” 😉

    Asithi- grass is always greener, right?

    Maggie- I’ll bike if you bike!

    Holly- there’s a reason my city is nicknamed “Winterpeg”… sighs.

    Alana- the other photos, not so much. I need to find a way to send them to you.

    Mark- absolutely!


  15. I have winter cycling experience down to -40 temperatures. If you need advice, including anyone above, feel free to email me!

    drummer_boy550@hotmail.com


  16. Winter cycling not only helps in reducing and maintaining body weight but also builds strength and tone muscles. Winter cycling improves heart health, coordination and cardiovascular fitness. Winter cycling strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of obesity, depression, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
    grayslake chiropractor


  17. When winter arrives, you might think that bicycling season is over. But with a little knowledge and practice, winter riding can be highly rewarding. Dr. Packer: Neck Pain Relief in Chesapeake


  18. Use public transportation in your town and combine it with a bike ride. Drive halfway to work, park and then ride your bike the rest of the way.



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