Last year I talked about the pros and cons of biking and walking to work, and solutions I’ve found to some of the cons.
This year has been an interesting experience yet again with the weather patterns being cooler for the most part.
One question I’ve been asked is whether I bike in the winter. Last year, no. I got cold air asthma at 4 celsius. I keep a puffer on hand now as a result. This year I’ve been biking down to -1 celsius, so I’m wanting to see how far I can go. Breathing aside, I don’t have disc brakes, so that’s not good during a snowy or slushy day. Hopefully this winter has enough dry road days near the freezing mark so I can extend my biking season.
What are my takeaways from this year?
- Cold mornings, warm afternoons. I found my rain jacket makes a good wind breaker, and fleece sport sweaters are a great and light insulator underneath the rain jacket.
- Cold morning? Keep your ear canals protected from the wind (I use my jacket hood underneath my helmet). Keeps them from hurting later.
- Bicycle mirrors – Best.Thing.Ever. Especially in traffic. Like in cars, mirrors make biking safer and a better experience in traffic. Both bikes now have them.
- Getting back on the saddle after the winter – take it easy, and be slow until you rebuild all the muscles. It’s frustrating when you’ve built up muscles and were used to going quicker. It doesn’t take much time to get it back.
- I actually biked the last week of February this year, it was so warm! That’s never happened before in my lifetime here in Ontario.
- Shed locks. Look up videos about breaking locks on YouTube. You’ll be a little shocked at how many locks give the appearance of security, but don’t delivery at all. I purchased a Stanley lock for the shed based on its ability to pass the hacker’s tests. The other reality is, if someone wants to get past a lock, they eventually will. My lock would provide too many challenges for the average thief.
- Foot injuries suck – I have gone over on my ankles so many times that it can happen that much easier these days. Last winter I went over on my right ankle twice. Once caused ankle grief, the other time my knee suffered. This makes walking to work not so much fun.
- Winter boots does not equal great on ice. My wife purchased me crampon type attachments for the icy days (which there were many). They are a permanent item in my backpack.
- Lighting – I made the switch to turning on my lights during cloudy days or dusk/dawn time much like cars to be seen better. I’ve noticed other bikers in town doing the same. Also, the minimum requirements for lighting in Ontario really need to be changed. Some lighting is completely useless and I fear for bikers who use them and trust that they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. Helmet headlights aren’t great for visibility by others, especially if you’re turning your head a lot.
- Temptations – Ebike conversion for one of my bikes. I’m really thinking more about this. Some people argue against, but I look at it as an overall experience. I bike much more now than before. This may convince me to bike even more.
- Seat post shocks – Having biked with the Verve 3 for a year, the seat post shock is a wonderful feature with a hardtail bicycle. I’m considering getting one for the Allant as a result.
- Straight handle bars vs. Swept back bars – Both are nice, but I have to admit the swept back talks more to my soul (as in old skool) than the straight bars do. It’s also a comfortable natural grip position. Not the greatest for mirror mounting though.
- Best fall / spring jacket? I received a rough weather Canadian coast guard jacket from my father-in-law, and it’s the best thing for cold, windy and wet weather I’ve ever used! This jacket has extended my biking season!
That’s all for now. I will see how close to the end of December I get with biking this winter season, and will report back.