This is my fourth year riding a bike in the winter.
It’s particularly challenging because I live in Canada, where it happens to be cold for a significant part of the year. And it snows. A lot!
According to Weather Spark, the cold season in my area starts on December 3 and lasts for nearly 14 weeks. That’s just over three months where the average daily high temperature is below 2°C.
I used to think that people who cycled in the winter had fallen off their bike one too many times. Imagine my surprise at discovering how a couple of practical tips made winter cycling practical, fun and nearly pleasant.
The most important tip came from my cat.
Although covered by warm fur, my cat hates the cold. She’s magnetically attracted to any heat source, sticking her face as close as possible to maximize the pleasure. I’m told that part of the reason for this behaviour is due to the large number of heat receptors on a cat’s face.
Similarly, I found that by keeping my face warm, I could fool my entire body into thinking I was still indoors!
My single best investment in winter biking was a simple balaclava. It’s thin, breathable, and fits nicely under a helmet. For about $20, It’s by far the best motivator for a cold weather transition from sofa to bicycle. At the same time, it adds a little ninja fashion to the biking wardrobe while creating a little more hesitation in the mind of an aggressive car driver who may be thinking of burying you in the next snowbank.
I’ll share some more insights about my winter biking experiences in the weeks to come.. but now it’s time to don my balaclava and enjoy the snow while looking over my handlebars. I’m hoping these tips will encourage you to join me in being bold in the cold!