Commuting - What is your favorite and least favorite season for commuting?
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I live in Wisconsin and commute everyday, so weather is a big factor in the pleasure and safety of my commute. That is, I don't choose certain days to take the car instead of bike. I bike no matter what the weather. Instead of choosing to take the car or the bike, I chose which bike to take. If it is snowing, it is a fat-knobby-tired mountain bike. If the weather is nice, it is a zippy lightweight. If it is slushy, it is a reconditioned junker.
My favorite season is fall because the air is crisp, the colors are beautiful,the roads are generally dry, and the days are still generally long.
My least favorite is spring because it rains so frequently and the rains are cold, and the shadow of winter darkness still has me riding in night-like conditions.
I also like winter because the weather is predictable. I would rather be in snow that in rain. Biking in snow is an absolute scream. I like biking up to cars that are stuck and helping people out. Once the snow gets as high as the crank-case, then it gets too difficult to bike effectively, but it is still fun.
12-05-00, 12:54 PM
what up. I like to bike in any season, even though I like the spring or fall the best. I like it when the temperature is about 74F. If I had to say which season I hate biking during that would be the windy season or any very windy day for that matter. It sucks when your work input does equal to even half of your work output. Windy conditions are notorius for this case. Snow, rain, sleet, etc I don not mind given the adequate protection, but wind is another story. I bike anyway. I am like mike. I do not decide whether to take the car or bike, but which bike to take. I would not call my precipatation bike a "reconditioned junker". I prefer to use the bicycle correct term "beater". ha, ha, ha. And yes I have a bike for each situation(not wind). Be nice if I had a wind-proof rolla'
[Edited by bicyclepriest on 12-05-2000 at 01:58 PM]
12-05-00, 01:58 PM
Mike, I too commute every day, no matter what the weather. My commute is 17 miles each way, and is maybe 70% pavement, 30% graded, gravel top levee road. (Sometimes, on the way home, I cheat... and take a short cut that drops my ride to 13.3 miles.)
I ride different bikes for different conditions... "Good" weather sees me on Specialized hybrid, fitted with street tires, mudguards, lights, and a rear rack. It is a beautiful bike, styled like the old 1950's bikes that American paperboys rode. It is also much too heavy.
I also have an alloy Trek 7900 hybrid that I call my Rain Bike. I've had it all over Europe and even north Africa, and I dearly love the beat-up old thing. When it finally falls apart, I shall miss it. Rain Bike wears assorted used & abused components, and some better accomodations for wet weather... deeper mudguards, a rack trunk, Slimed tubes in semi-knobby tires, and some serious lighting.
Finally, I've a road bike, a Trek 1220, that I ride on weekends.
I love spring and autumn for rides. When I was growing up in Paris, we knew that spring had arrived because the rain was warmer... but springtime rides, rain or not, along our grand boulevards was a feast for the senses.
Here in Georgia, my adopted home, they're short, fairly dry seasons. Spring is marked by honeysuckle and magnolia blossoms that make the very air intoxicating, and autumn gives me crisp, dry air and a thick carpet of crunchy leaves to ride upon.
Summer seems to last about ten months, and afternoon rides home can be deadly in 105 deg (F) and 120 deg heat index. I regularly turn the garden hose on myself when I arrive at home. Winter is not too bad... this morning's commute was at 19 deg, but that is unusual... Typically, morning rides are 30 deg, afternoons at 50 - 55 deg. Snow? I'm told we get a dusting perhaps twice a decade. Plus, the levee trail is DESERTED this time of year... no joggers, dog walkers, or strollers... I have my own private highway.
A bad ride on a bike still beats a comfy commute in a car!
12-05-00, 07:10 PM
I prefer winter commuting to any other time of the year. Where I live it never gets cold in winter, and best of all there are NO TOURISTS!!! Least favourite season: Summer. Too damn hot and humid, and too many tourists in cars looking everywhere except where they are going. Having said that, I commute in all weather regardless of any of the above factors.
I didn't expect to get such different perspectives as we have so far on this thread, but it is interesting to read what it is like for commuters in warmer climates.
Yes, WIND is a big factor for all of us. The wind in my town is very predictable. It is almost always from the south and the flags are standing straight out just about every day of the year. The power company is just starting to put up windmill generators - finally.
With my commute, I have to go head-straight into the wind going to work, but I get to fly home with the strong wind behind me.
It is also interesting to hear that other commuters have different bikes for different weather as I do.
Perhaps the most weather specific bike I have is the 1963 (?) girls Meteor Flite I use when it is icy and slushy. It cost me $5.00. I repainted it and prepared it for winter rides by clear coating EVERYTHING and waxing EVERYTHING and using extra grease and heavy lubricants on the chain. I like this bike because the coaster brake works even when the rims are full of ice (don't try that with hand-brakes). Also, the drop-style girls frame is safer for my "center of gravity" if I have to hop onto my feet to avoid a spill or in case I do take a tumble.\
Anyway, this is interesting. Keep the replies coming.
12-18-00, 05:24 PM
it's gotta be fall. september, october, november. the weather is perfect - cool and crisp - but it gets chilly enough to keep the less dedicated away from the bikepath (more room for me, plus a reduced chance of collisions with peds or recreational cyclists).
in my neck of the woods winter is rainy and headwinds can be intense, but it's not all bad. summer is gorgeous but i often feel like a slug in the heat if i stop moving. plus i'm much more sweaty once i arrive at work (yes, i clean up and change no matter what the season). i guess i like spring too... especially when it reminds me of fall. or right after the change from winter when you can start to smell the dirt and grass - which for me is one of the pleasures of cycling.
[Edited by junebride on 12-18-2000 at 06:32 PM]
01-07-01, 11:43 PM
I like the winter time, since most people are gone on holidays. The amount of traffic diminishes as Christmas, or New Year's approaches. It's like riding on the weekends. The sun is shining and there's lots of room to ride. Usually people shuttling their kids to school, and getting to work, sometimes in a frenzy--which is okay..I just have to be more aware of the traffic than usual.
We really don't have seasons in Southern California. I think our season are Green and Brown. ;-) Green during the Spring, when it rains, and brown, during the summer time, when we the land becomes fairly dry. However, I really like official US holidays, when people just kick back at home. :-)
Jean Beetham Smith
01-08-01, 06:42 PM
My favorite temp is around 55 to 60. That applies to everything in general, not just biking. Dry pavement is nice, so are dry trails. Yes, I'm a wuss. Spring and Fall usually give me the best days, although Summer usually has less wind, on the hot, muggy days. I do enjoy riding on the nice winter days. I ride most days year round, and when I ride I ride my hybrid bike. That insures that I actually clean it & take care of it when I get home!
I have osteoporosis (good excuse, huh) so I don't ride when as my mother said, "it's slick as a cat's butt out." I do ride in sloppy stuff, and if snow is just starting and the pavement was clear. Of course, all of my favorite moments riding have been in some of my least favorite weather. Maybe that's why I ride most days.
01-10-01, 07:30 PM
It's gotta be Fall and Spring for me, too. The temperatures are moderate and the days are long enough that I don't have to ride in the dark.
Here in central Virginia (USA), it gets pretty hot and humid in the summer. Since I commute in street clothes (except the shirt), I really don't like to get too sweaty. In the winter, it's dark going and returning, but sometimes I get to see a really nice sunrise. Also, about half my ride is on gravel roads, and in the winter the dust from passing cars seems worse. Probably because the air is cold and dry. On the other hand, my ride goes past a roadside store that cooks breakfast. When there's a nip in the air, the bacon and eggs sure smell good.
03-03-01, 11:16 PM
I also live in Georgia, USA. I like it cooler. Anything above freezing and below 80. Main thing about summer, though, is not temperature. In Atlanta, it's smog. I pay close attention to the ozone concentrations when it starts to heat up. But it's hard to find an excuse to get me off my bike.
03-04-01, 05:54 AM
I love September best, but thats usually when I take a holiday.
People who dont ride think that our weather is too bad for cycling, but it isnt really a big factor here in the SE of England; it's usually a bit cool and damp, or a bit warm and damp. Its nice when we get a few weeks of hot dry stuff in June and I can bike to work in shorts and T shirt. Thats when people ask, isnt it too hot to ride? AAAAAGH!!!
The bike rack at work seems to reflect this, there is little variation in regular bike use with the seasons.
My commuting bike is set up for wet conditions all year round, and I also use it for fun at the weekends. I like the fact that its not to precious, so I can abuse it a bit, and try out rides I would avoid on a nice shiny ultra-light.
03-10-01, 04:12 PM
I used to ride in London where cycling was pretty much the same all seasons (too much traffic and rain) although the Summer was generally better (less traffic in August, less rain and longer days - in London in the winter, it is dark early at 4-5 pm).
I now live in NM although I haven't been riding seriously here for that long. I generally prefer to ride from Feb - Oct. Coming from Continental Europe, I find the weather here generally a lot wilder (i.e. when there is find, there is a lot of it, when it rains, it is pouring rain, etc) than the mild (but humid) climate of continental Europe.
I find myself carrying a spare shirt in the Summer (because of the sweat) and waterproof pans most seasons (in winter it sometimes snow, in the summer it rains heavily 1/2 h per day).
I have a good all purpose touring bike (Bianchi Volpe) that I generally use and a cheap MTB that is more appropriate to ride in extreme weather condition (lower center of gravity, thick knobby tires, etc).
None of my bikes have mud guards which is a slight nuisance when it rains but over here (NM) it dries really quickly. In London, the main problem with rain was keeping my shoe dry. I remember putting plastic bags over them with little success (we European do not have duck tape that is ideal for this kind of things).
Oh, my God. The sun is finally shining in the northern midwest.
I bicycled straight through the winter and only used the car to get to work five times in the past nine months (because I had to haul stuff or transport other people).
BUT, I have to admit that this was a long and dreary winter. I don't remember such a long stretch of grey skies months on end. I have been bearing with it, but this is the sixth month of winter (if snow marks the beginning and rain marks the end of winter).
Everybody is crabby and blue around here. I gotta get out and finally absorb some vitamin D rich sunlight through my eyeballs.
04-04-01, 03:18 PM
You would get so much Vitamin D down here in Atlanta it would make your eyeballs pop out!
After reading these posts, I got to thinking about comments people make to us cyclists about the weather: "Isn't it too cold to ride," "Isn't it too hot to ride," "Isn't it too this, or too that?" I have come to the conclusion that it's never "too anything" for cyclists to ride, while it's always "too something" for non-cyclists to. I guess that's the
gulf that separates us. "I bet you didn't ride in today," I often hear. "Sure I did," is usually the reply. How many
times must this take place before folks realize what my answer will be?
I think if I had more guts, I would say to them on heavy traffic mornings, "I bet you didn't drive in this morning,"
which would draw a blank look of confusion, as if to ask, "What else?" Or I could ask them, "Did you drive the car in today?", for which they would search for some answer, such as, "My car isn't being repaired." Funny that to them, my cycling is an unusual option, while their driving has no other option, and they persist in this mindset
despite all evidence to the contrary, as if they expect me to eventually grow out of it and rejoin the ranks of normal people.
I suspect it may always be that way. Oh, well!
04-08-10, 01:57 PM
I'm digging the commute right now.
The only thing that will make it better is that in about 2-3 weeks it will be just nearing sunrise as I leave for work. It's so much nicer in the sun.
I commute all year round. My favorite season to ride is Spring. Because after riding in Dec. Jan. and Feb. (the worst month of all) once March comes I look forward to shedding the winter gear and riding in cool weather in the morning and shorts and sandals in the aftn. I've ridden in Lightning storms, altho I'd re-consider again. But that's about all that would stop from from riding. The one thing I look for when I check with the Weather Channel in the morning is the wind. Nice weather isn't so bad. In the winter I'll sometimes leave 15 mins early to make up time. But outside of lightning, thanks to the tips I get from you folks. I feel that I can ride in anything that my region can throw at me. My record low is -14 and my record high is, who cares !
EKW in DC
04-08-10, 03:52 PM
I'm a year round commuter. Only thing that kept me from riding was excessive snow and ice over the winter this year. Plan on avoiding that next winter by having studs handy.
My least favorite time of year for riding/commuting is summer, BY FAR! I am not a fan of heat, especially when commuting, even though I have a shower I can use here at work. Summer mornings can be OK, but the afternoons/evenings are almost universally dreadful, hot, humid affairs.
The other three seasons are all fine by me. I prefer late fall/early spring/mild winter days. i.e., morning temps in the upper 30s-40s and afternoons in the 50s to low 60s. In DC, that kind of weather can be had on any given day from October through April, with ideal conditions probably in November and late Feb-early Mar.
While I am generally speaking a fan of more people riding their bikes and using the MUPs, etc., it is nice in the winter to pretty much have the MUP to myself, since there are so many fewer bikes, joggers, walkers out and about.
04-08-10, 05:55 PM
Favorite -- springtime. The weather's getting warmer, so I can rediscover what it's like to ride without layering up.
Least favorite -- springtime. The pollen is killing me, and the fair-weather "commuters" have let their riding skills go to crap.
I can see the pros and cons of everything. ;)
04-08-10, 07:30 PM
Looking forward to taking the fenders off one bike in July. But really, it's all good.
Fall is my fav for sure. the "dog days" of summer are the worst for me, my commute becomes a mad rush to get home into some AC
04-08-10, 09:16 PM
I actually love any season when I can ride with just shorts and a shirt. Any temp from about 75* up is good for me. I quite like riding in the summer as well, though if I had to ride more than my 45 minutes or so I might enjoy it less.
Winter is good because I get to ride in the dark at least one way. I'd prefer for it either to be dark or full sun midday, and about 80 degrees would be perfect in either case.
04-08-10, 09:19 PM
I'm gonna have to say fall is number 1. It seems to have the most dry days with temps from 60-70 f.
04-08-10, 09:33 PM
Since I am coming up on one year of commuting, I feel I can chime in here. My favorites:
1) Fall (everything's perfect, right!)
2) Spring (Nice to see everything bloom and the days getting longer - so far the winds have been annoying just a bit)
3) Winter (pretty much no rain, which is a plus - but somewhat of hassle getting dressed, and I don't like the darkness)
4) Summer (the only season where I have to ride in a completely different set of clothes and change in the office- major pain)
04-08-10, 09:43 PM
Least favorite: Winter. It's bitter cold, really windy, there's usually snow and ice around, and getting to and from work is just a slog. It's universally dark either when I leave home or leave work, if not both.
Favorite: Either Spring or Fall. The weather is warm enough I don't need much in the way of extra clothing, it's not terribly hot, and there's plenty of daylight. Yeah, there's some rain, but rain is no big deal.
04-08-10, 09:50 PM
My favorite season, that would be the dead of winter when it's dark on the commute home, and in a hard down pour. Very, very few cyclists to contend with, plus I get to use my high powered lighting system during that time of year.
My least favorite season is spring, too bright on the commute home to use the high powered lighting, and just cold enough to not be able to use the summer gear, but warm enough to make the winter gear a bit uncomfortable.
04-08-10, 09:51 PM
My favourite riding season is summer. I love the heat and humidity as well as the quick warm rains. Spring and fall are tied for second because they tend to be mirror images of each other weather wise.
I dislike winter riding very much. I hate the cold. I hate wearing layers and layers of clothing. I hate ice. I hate snow. Don't get me started on slush and windchill. I hate 4 pm sunsets. I hate planning my rides to avoid snow choked MUPS and streets. Hate it. Hate it all.
04-08-10, 10:29 PM
November rocks. it's cold enough (in Boston) that most bike commuters are off the road and things aren't crowded, but the snow hasn't started to pile up and invade the bike lanes yet. Definitely my favorite.
04-08-10, 11:46 PM
Winter is my least favourite. The cold obviously. When it gets below -15C, I start grumbling. The ride can take 10-15mins longer in mid-winter conditions, so I have to leave earlier. Not a morning person at all. Putting on all those layers and taking them off at work gets annoying as the winter drags on.
Summer, late summer is my favourite. I live on the shores of the inland sea, Lake Superior. Nice temperatures. We rarely get humid weather round these parts. I'm the most physically fit July and August and usually try and do my commute as a Time Trial a couple of times during the week.
04-09-10, 12:44 AM
Fall. Especially from the second week in October until the first snow. Perfect weather, "Nose Tackle Weather" my Dad put it... keeps a fat man cool while doing hard work. Climb any hill without thinking about it, and bomb along the straights at ludicrous speed. I love winter, too, but when the temp drops below 15º, it's too hard to get enough breath. My lungs ache, and I need to take breathers before tackling hills.
Spring is depressing, it's just mud and wet and no leaves on the trees and bleak. Summer is fun when it's mellow, but I sweat like a hog, and run out of steam on steep climbs too early when the mercury creeps above 85º.
Favorite season? I ride all year round from Wilmington into Boston. Spring and fall are nice. Some days in New England you can get three seasons in one day. Last year, wet snow for the am commute, rain at lunch and 50 F and sunny for the ride home, I love my goretex. Winter is sometimes challenging, with dark morning and evening commutes. For those riders who don't like winter, I suggest studded tires and wool. Early spring is nice, I like it when I blow by the roadies in matching kit and they can't keep up, me in my baggies and fenders and rack.
Summer is the worst and I've already ended my season, but that was so I could turn my commuter back into a MTB and enjoy the last remnants of the season... everything else I love!
04-09-10, 12:27 PM
I commute year round and find that each season has its pluses and minuses, but I'd have to say late spring and early fall are my favorite times. September, May, and October are just great. Warm but not too hot, no thunderstorms, plenty of daylight, snow in the mountains. Summer isn't bad, but we have thunderstorms in the afternoons at least 3 times/week plus there are a lot of tourists crowding the MUP.
Summer is both my favorite and least favorite. It can typically be 105F with about 15%RH at 6pm during July and August. Blast furnace hot on the way home, especially when the winds kick up.
But the summer mornings are paradise: cool and calm.
04-09-10, 12:41 PM
Spring and Fall, always a nice cool breeze in the air, although that sometimes means headwinds. In the Colorado mountains the day can change very quickly, so you learn to adapt to riding in all kinds of weather. I did have an extended break from riding this winter due to the ice, it seemed to stick around for quite a while this year.
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