by Sean Carter, Bike Bike Inc. owner and Bankview resident
First off, let me confess that I ride my bike all year ‘round, including winter, and have come to love the frigid season. Cycling in winter is fun and you generally keep really warm due to the extra effort required to pedal in snow and ice, you have the pathways almost to yourself, and motorists are often going slower than in summer due to winter road conditions.
If you already have a bike you use for commuting or running errands, you can do a few things to that bike to get it ready for winter. The most important thing you need on your bike is a set of full fenders. Full fenders will keep you dry and keep the nasty road salt off your bike too. For icy conditions, consider a set of studded tires to prevent/slow down wipe-outs. And make sure you have lights if you’re going to be out at night.
Your Routes: Here is Calgary we are blessed with a great pathway system – and in winter, the pathway is cleared of snow regularly making it the ideal choice for getting to downtown. (The pathways are almost always cleared before the roads, but shhhhhhhhh – don’t tell motorists!) If the pathways are not part of your cycle route, consider using the following strategies.
– Turn on your lights during the day so cars can see you easier.
– Take your space on the road by riding in the right-most tire rut.
– Take quieter side streets so you can be separated from heavier trafficked roads.
– Simply slow down and take it a little more easy, especially if you are sharing road space with cars. Ice can be hiding under the snow or that “brown snow” or “brown sugar” can send you to the ground in a heartbeat.
Finally, have fun out there and remember that not only are you having a blast in the snow, you are getting fitter, saving money, and making your community more livable – all by simply riding your bike.
Oh ya, did you hear about that city in the prairies that now has a permanent downtown cycletrack network? Pretty cool, eh?
Bike Bike is a local Bankview business located at 1501 17 Ave SW.