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Snow Daze on 2 Wheels

by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

It snowed a few inches over the weekend. Temps stayed below freezing for 3 days, giving us a short window of Winter play. My cross-country skis still live with family in MN, so I spent much of the weekend hiking with the dogs and, more noteworthy, on my bicycle.

Yep. I did what I thought I wouldn’t/couldn’t do and rode my bike in 20-something temps – with even a bit of windchill. I dressed well in layers and covered my face. Mittens are always much warmer than gloves but I was able to navigate gears and brakes surprisingly well. I did it – I rode on paved and dirt roads as well as on snowy fields at the farm near me. My Border Collie, Ayla, ran along with me and we stopped to scratch the heads of the cows and mules – well, I scratched, she stared. The sheep are more wary of BC ways, and stayed out of reach.

Why is this worth writing about? Because I have proven to myself that choosing bicycle over car is possible even in colder weather. This is a big deal to me since I’ve been trying to do a green commute more often. If you’ve been feeling wimpy about your green commute in the cold, please be encouraged by my experience. Although I love Winter, I’m always worried about staying warm and was really reluctant to try below freezing bicycle ride. But it worked –

I found there are two useful strategies (besides dressing right):

1. Ride fast to increase body heat.

2. Ride more slowly to decrease the windchill effects on extremities.

#1 works best if you are stopping only when you reach your destination and can go indoors before cooling down and riding slowly works best for pleasure rides where you’ll be taking breaks..

I also discovered that riding on top of snow with knobby tires is a blast.

Bon Iver!

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3 Responses to “Snow Daze on 2 Wheels”

  1. Greg Says:

    Way to go Tracey! Welcome to the club!


  2. The Tao of Change » Blog Archive » Eco Road Warriors Says:

    […] Giles is a green Architect and a national leader in co-housing and sustainable design. He works downtown and before he teamed up with Ginger on this double-seater, he used to do a solo bicycle ride to work almost every day. I even remember when he added goggles and a rain/wind shield to his gear for the wet/cold weather – in fact, he is the one who inspired me to move beyond my own fair-weather riding habits last Winter (see this post). […]

  3. Dave Navarro Says:

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

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