Winter cycling is a regular part of many Canadian’s lives. Commuting and even training through the snow, slush and icy-bits makes us stronger and more confident cyclists when the summer comes around. That being said, as with everything, there are always some minor bumps along the way.
Friends and colleagues in awe when they see you cycling in weather below 10 degrees
“You BIKED today??” or “You’re still biking in this weather??”
Regardless of how many years you’ve known them or how many days they’ve seen you come in to work with a helmet, people are still shocked to see that you’ve taken to the barren winter streets and subjected yourself to the elements. Their admiration(?) is nice, but once you’ve heard it more than three times it gets a bit repetitive. Yes, I am still biking. No, it’s really not that bad.
Drivers get mad at you for biking
Bike lanes become much more appealing to park and drive in when there’s a slight dusting of snow modestly obscuring the lines. Drivers, happy that they have time off of dealing with most cyclists, are often offended that you chose to continue to ride throughout the winter season.
Everything is salt-stained
Think the roads are dry enough to wear regular pants? Think again. Even with a full fender set-up, somehow the the salty road gunk mixture ends up flicking all over your person (and bag or panniers). Having to put on an extra layer of pants, or changing clothes at work everyday can be the cherry on top of an annoying commute.
Bike lanes don’t get cleared
Some cities, like Montreal, have put time and money into clearing bike lanes efficiently. Other cities, such as Toronto, don’t prioritize clearing bike lanes. This results in you having to ride a very skinny line of the bike lane that was cleared by cars who were driving too far to the right. You’re constantly aware that if you have to swerve slightly you’ll end up in a snowbank.
Unavoidable hidden ice throughout the cold winter months is always a possibility, but you don’t live in fear. You bike with conviction and take corners cautiously yet confiden-OH MY GOD I ALMOST JUST DIED ON THAT ICE PATCH, I’M GETTING STUDDED TIRES!
You’re either over-dressed or under-dressed
There’s nothing like the feeling of being sweaty on some parts of your body, but cold on others. It hard to go through a full workday or even ride without the weather changing enough that you’re either over-dressed or under-dressed on the way home. Often feet and hands are freezing but your core is overheating. Even with a comprehensive winter gear collection, you somehow end up getting home drenched in sweat or thawing your feet in hot water. You vow to dress better next time and end up over-compensating in the other direction.