Anyhow, for those of you brave ones who want to try winter cycling, I highly recommend it! And in the snow, you’ll see how much faster (even when you are taking it slow) you are than the other cars. And the freedom! The perspective from a bike! It’s amazing coasting down silent streets on your two wheels, feeling the flakes fall against your cheeks. And no, not knocking the sweet romance of having some cute fella hold my hand and drink hot cocoa, this is just another way to look at the world…so here are a few tips:
* Don’t bundle up TOO much – you will break a murderous sweat if you go out as if you would on a walk in the snow. While the anti-preppy in me hates them, the sensible cyclist in me recommends a fleece vest – it keeps you warm but, to be blunt, keeps air to those pits so you don’t arrive at work all steeenky. Wet weather? Use your best judgement. Me? I just change my clothes when I get to work, and my fleece is dry by the time I need to go home. I refuse to spend a gazillion dollars on specialty bike clothes just to get around town and to/from work. On my booty? Yoga pants with a flowy skirt over it – two layers on the booty is recommended to avoid icy bum cubes 🙂
* No crappy shoes when you are pedaling in this kind of weather – not only do you want a good hold on your pedals, you want to be able to put your foot down, as well as dismount, without sliding all over hell and back. So, while it’s not exactly aerodynamic, when the weather sucks, I wear my green Docs, as pictured at the top of this post. I know, you’re overwhelmed with lust, but I love them. They’re going on 20 years old, people. Who the hell has shoes for 20 years. Nothing permeates these girls. Okay, they’re boy shoes, size 7, but the DM folks only rarely made Docs to fit a woman’s foot (I have women’s black Doc boots and my ex at age 18 said they looked fake because they were more shapely and for once I didn’t have canoe-sized feet in them. What-ever. Dumbass.). Anyhow, they work for riding. And no, I don’t use clips on my bike – they make me feel trapped. And, I’m one of the few cyclists who’s not acting like I’m training for the Tour de France when I’m riding to work. (insert snarky smile here).
* Wear your damn helmet. I don’t care how smooshed you think your hair will look. It fucking hurts to fall, and even worse on the ice. Yep, I know from personal experience from black ice – and nope, not from the road – it was from my employer’s lot where they’d missed a major spot, and it took several cyclists out (I recup’d fairly quickly but another coworker had broken bones, imagine a broken head, ewwww). Anyhow, and it also keeps the snow away, oh joy! If you’re weenie and need to keep every ounce of your head dry, you can wear a cap, but I would rather have my scalp breathe a little and not have ‘sweaty head’ when I get to work. Also, to keep those ears from becoming solid blocks of ice, I recommend a knit headband – not stretchy cotton, but something like chenille. I know, it makes my already oversized head look like the helmet is balancing for dear life but it’s just an optical illusion. And my ears stay toasty 🙂
And the other “little things” – 1) Good fenders that go as far down as possible to avoid skunk stripe. 2) A big plastic bag for your actual bag to go in. Or spend a hundred bucks on a fancy pannier. (you can just about guess what my pick is). 3) A small bag or shower cap for your bike seat Or you can spend twenty bucks on a ‘bike saddle protector’. (again….guess.). 4) A warm place to bring your bike in at night. If it’s wayyy below freezing just bring it in the house. Trust me, when it’s 17 degrees and you’re in a hurry, and realize your brakes are frozen solid after you alight…? Not fun to do the Fred Flintstone style of braking. 5) A bus ticket. If you are too freaked out or in a dangerous situation, have an extra bus ticket so you can pop your bike on and get the rest of the way to work/home/wherever. No shame.