I’ve found there are a few questions I’m asked over and over again. While it can be tempting to give a curt response, use this opportunity to be a bicycle advocate. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone to give bike commuting a try.
A: I generate a lot of heat pedaling my bike – actually, it’s easy to become overheated in winter clothing! I feel cool for the first five minutes, but then I warm up and am comfortable. You might be surprised by how warm you’ll get from a little exercise.
A: Most days are clear and require nothing more than the sunglasses, gloves, and warm clothes I wear in the winter, regardless. I pull out my warm mittens for freezing temps and reserve the use of my ski goggles for when it’s snowing.
A: Nope, I use the same bike year round. It gets a thorough cleaning and any required maintenance in the spring. I’ve had tires dry rot, but the bike itself has held up well.
A: Ice can be dangerous whether biking, walking, or driving. Luckily, icy conditions aren’t the norm. When it is icy, I give myself extra time so that I can go at a pace I feel comfortable with. In particular, I avoid making sharp turns on ice or snow and I find no shame in dismounting and walking over a slippery patch of ice.
A: Get in the saddle and go. Don’t dress too warmly, take your time, and have fun.
Note: I’ve received a lot of advice (usually unsolicited) about biking in the winter. Generally this advice is focused on things I need and mostly makes a simple thing seem both complicated, as well as overwhelming. All you need is a bike.
Thoughtful responses can go far in demystifying riding a bike in the winter and to help others see that it’s not for some extreme sect of cyclists.