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modernjess 01-29-14 04:07 PM

Why would you bike commute in the winter?
I know why and I therefore I do. These days is seems so do a lot of others around here. Like this gal.

Winter sucks but winter always returns so I'd rather be riding. Just thought I'd share.

RPK79 01-29-14 04:09 PM

If your last name is Velo do you really have a choice?

OneGoodLeg 01-29-14 04:34 PM

It confuses me when people refer to bicycling as having "seasons". Some of us have winter commuter bikes, used only for that purpose. If you had a bike(s) that setup for a particular season(s), wouldn't that make that season bicycle season?

There are some winter days, when it's not too cold, there are no clouds in the sky, the suns shining brightly in a bright blue sky and the roads are clear and I'm making good times. Those are some of my favorite days of the year. There was a day a week or so ago that it was in the -8ish range, but met the rest of the conditions I posted, I thought to myself, "If it was about 10 degrees warmer, this would be a great day for a long ride.

Mostly, I like the sound of people screaming "idiot" at me as they pass me driving 55+mph on an untreated road in 2" of snow. Sign says, 55, I must drive at least 56. -sorry mini rant.

fietsbob 01-29-14 04:37 PM

Because I live someplace near the Pacific Ocean, not MN

Isaiahc72 01-29-14 04:39 PM

Riding in the cold, rain, sleet, whatever. It builds character

MEversbergII 01-29-14 07:04 PM


Also, too awesome her last name is Velo.


NOS88 01-29-14 07:12 PM

Because I can. Instead of buying cross-country skis or snowshoes, I put my money into a winter commuter. Why not?

Motolegs 01-29-14 07:30 PM

It's a mini adventure. A wake up call to the senses. I'll take it any day over a console mounted computer in a car. Riding a bike into work in the Winter, your senses are alive. It's a great feeling.

mtbikerinpa 01-29-14 07:48 PM

The last 2 jobs I had to commute by bike due to costs of fuel/car even though I had a couple cars, though after a while it became a badge of honor.
"You BIKED? Still?"
"Isn't it cold?"
"Wear a coat, ride harder..."

Now I stay outside all day for my current job(car lot tech) but I still use whatever excuse to ride errands instead of driving them. It makes the winter more natural than trying to hide from it.

SnowJob 01-29-14 09:08 PM

Wow, Jana is famous!

Alls I know is that if those pictures were of me I'd have snot all over my face.

Buglady 01-30-14 01:23 AM

I bike commute in winter because it's faster and warmer than the bus. Not quite as warm and almost as fast as driving (not that I have a car anyway), and not counting parking and scraping ice off the windshield and all that jazz.

I bike commute in winter because I'm usually in a better mood when I get to work. Sometimes I get to see things like a bunch of kids playing with a remote controlled toy snowmobile. I had no idea such a thing even existed! (Then I got distracted, misjudged some ice, and bit it, but luckily nobody saw me, as they were all looking at the toy!)

I bike commute in winter because I've got to do *something* halfway impressive and/or bad-ass to salve my ego and keep myself going when the demons pipe up about failure. Hey, demons, I rode my bike in a freaking snowstorm today, go away, I'm tougher than you! Seems to work so far.

Buglady 01-30-14 01:25 AM

Re: the lady in the article - awesome! And one of those bikes is in my garage, wearing Ice Spiker tires, ready for my partner to trundle off to get groceries.

Doppiadi 01-30-14 02:22 AM

It's all about having the right equipment and realize there is really no reason why you shouldn't. After all if I do enjoy spending all day on ski slopes in freezy temperatures, I can definitely enjoy my biking, right?! What annoys me more than cold and snow (that's honestly rare here) it's heavy rain, and now we are having days and days of continuous rain..

kookaburra1701 01-30-14 04:00 AM


Originally Posted by SnowJob (Post 16451927)
Wow, Jana is famous!

Alls I know is that if those pictures were of me I'd have snot all over my face.

My face would be tomato red. She's ridiculously photogenic for the conditions.

rhm 01-30-14 07:23 AM

I commute because I want to get to work. I commute in the winter because I want to get to work in the winter. I commute by bike because it's the best way to get to the station.

Just for the sake of argument... I don't have a car, but of course I could get one. I can afford it, and I'm a good driver (though not enthusiastic about it). Other than the cost of buying, maintaining and insuring a car, I'd be spending about $50 in gas per month. Parking a car at the train station would cost $102 per month. Parking a bike (in a locker) at the train station costs $7.50 per month. It doesn't make sense financially.

Driving a car to the station might save me a little time. A car definitely goes faster than a bike. But the car route to the station is quite a bit longer than the route the bike takes, and then there's a comparatively long walk from the parking garage to the train platform; all told, I imagine driving a car to the station would shorten my two hour commute by about five minutes. But it might not. It doesn't make sense by that logic either.

Aside from that, I don't want to drive a car. I want to ride my bike.

ItsJustMe 01-30-14 07:42 AM

Why would I not? Riding is always more fun than driving, regardless of weather.

This year I did change my tune a bit - I have driven on days when there is fresh snowfall that has not been plowed on the back roads yet - this is because on two occasions early in the year I was thrown across the lane due to hitting ruts in the snow and I realized that if there had been a car there, I would have been hit. Not worth it.

I also decided to just drive on the few days a year when it's below zero F. I just wind up getting too cold in the toes, and though I have things I could do to fix that, on NORMAL years that only takes me out of the saddle for 3 or 4 days and it's just not worth fussing with.

This year of course is different - those two changes have meant that I haven't ridden for 2 weeks in a row now, 3 weeks total for the winter.

ThermionicScott 01-30-14 10:03 AM

Great article, and she has an awesome attitude. :thumb:

Jim from Boston 01-30-14 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by Buglady (Post 16452407)
..I bike commute in winter because I've got to do *something* halfway impressive and/or bad-ass to salve my ego and keep myself going when the demons pipe up about failure. Hey, demons, I rode my bike in a freaking snowstorm today, go away, I'm tougher than you! Seems to work so far.

See Veolminati:The Rules


Originally Posted by Velominati, Keepers of the Cog
Rule #9
If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
Fair-weather riding is a luxury reserved for Sunday afternoons and wide boulevards. Those who ride in foul weather – be it cold, wet, or inordinately hot – are members of a special club of riders who, on the morning of a big ride, pull back the curtain to check the weather and, upon seeing rain falling from the skies, allow a wry smile to spread across their face. This is a rider who loves the work.

noglider 01-30-14 11:39 AM


Originally Posted by rhm (Post 16452674)
Aside from that, I don't want to drive a car. I want to ride my bike.

This isn't really an aside. It's really the driving point, isn't it?

Jim from Boston 01-30-14 12:01 PM

Why would you bike commute in the winter?

I only have the time and inclination to obtain my excercise on my daily bike commute since it fits so well into my day, and I enjoy cycling. More specifically for winter commuting:
  1. Maintain a base level of fitness over the winter
  2. Meet the challenges of winter cycling, in particular acquiring and/or innovating my winter equipment, and seeing how well it prepares me to take on further challenges
  3. Increase my tolerance for the cold weather
  4. Answer that perennial question, “You didn’t ride your bike today, did you?.” :D

cogdriven 01-30-14 01:40 PM

I love getting asked, "Ride your bike today"?
Friends who would never ride themselves will always ask. You can see in their faces that they want me to say yes. It's almost as if a part of them is thinking, "If he can do it, maybe I could - or at least some of the time."
I feel like I'm letting them down if I can't say I did.

Jana is my hero. My commute is also 12 miles, and in a part of Vermont where it doesn't get quite as cold as Minneapolis, but I have only figured out how to stay warm enough down to about 15 degrees.

tjspiel 01-30-14 03:14 PM

Why I ride in the winter: The real truth.

Back in 2004 or so I was a periodic bike commuter but mostly took the bus. That year the new light rail line opened and all the bus routes were going to change. Though I was all for the introduction of light rail service, the downside for me is that there would no longer be a bus that took me directly downtown, it would take me to the train station instead.

So rather than wait for a bus, ride that to a station, and then wait for a train I decided just to ride my bike to the train station. This worked well and I enjoyed it. As the cold weather came that Fall I knew I'd have to figure out the new bus schedule but I kept putting it off.

Well, it's been almost 10 years and I still don't know which bus will take me to the station. In that time I figured out I could ride the entire distance by bike pretty easily and get there faster (at least for 3/4 of the year) than if I take the train.

So the reason I commute in the winter comes down to the fact that I was too lazy to look up a bus schedule.

CXT 01-30-14 09:02 PM

Riding in the winter if my favorite time to commute. It sucks because the commute is longer due to the studded tires and extra weight of all the cold weather gear, but its ridiculously peaceful riding in the winter. The trails are completely empty. No runners. No walkers. No dogs. No people with headphones on that can't hear you screaming "On Your Left." With everything covered in snow, it's like biking through a post card scene after the zombie apocalypse.

wipekitty 01-30-14 11:11 PM

Commuting in the winter (and generally, making an effort to be outdoors more) helps me avoid the seasonal affective disorder and cabin fever that others complain about. I like to exercise, but I hate gyms; I also dislike driving in the snow, scraping snow, and dealing with starting a car in cold temperatures. Learning to adapt to interesting weather conditions is fun, and I find a sense of accomplishment when I come up with a new solution that works.

I also enjoy walking into the office looking like I just returned from a trip to space.

Jim from Boston 01-31-14 05:30 AM


Originally Posted by wipekitty (Post 16455510)
...I also enjoy walking into the office looking like I just returned from a trip to space.

+1; me too. I previously posted to this thread, “Does Commuting Make You “Happy”?


Originally Posted by Jim from Boston (Post 15252137)
I would add “heroic’ to happy. When I’m carefully dressing in layers for my winter commute, making sure everything is in place and adjusted, I envision an astronaut preparing for a mission. When I arrive, all pumped up from the ride, and I walk down the hall swathed in my winter gear, helmet on my head, I think about the scene from the movie, “The Right Stuff.” where the astronauts stride down a corridor in their space suits to the Hallelujah Chorus.

See this movie trailer, at 2:58:

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