The Chainlink

There's just a touch of chill in the air, but the days are much shorter and fall and winter are on their way.  What do you most look forward to about cold-weather biking? 

Me, it's the amazing feeling of hot coffee on a cold ride.  I have a coffee-cup-holder mounted on my handlebars, and for my 5 mile ride to work, I have hot Alterra coffee ready to go.  Stopping at lights and having a swig of it makes my day.  And drivers and other cyclists often comment to admire this cup-holder, which my girlfriend got me at K-Mart two or three years ago.

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I prefer cool old hippie yoga, but I dig. . . namaste

Juan said:

Getting out of a blazingly hot yoga class to face the brutal cold only to find it refreshing.

I avoid riding when the streets are too wet.  If it's "slushy" that's one thing, but if it's ice-slick streets, then it's about safety and I retreat to public transportation. But if it's just slush, it's all about gear: good waterproof pants/jacket/shoes, right tires, face coverage, and going SLOW.  Drivers don't expect cyclists in the winter, so they're much more likely to pull right turns in front of you without even looking. My 20 minute ride to work in the summer is 30 in the winter for this reason.  BUT RIDE anyway!

Domenica Cresap said:

I would like to try cold weather riding.  Once the snow falls, do you still ride?  If so, how do you ride with the slush in the way?

True, except for the snow piled around parking meters.

uic said:

easier to park

Absolutely.  Though I once almost killed a tourist on the LFBP: I was headed north into a good 20 mph NE wind, he was a Japanese guy taking pictures of the lovely lakefront.  There was no one else there, about 300 meters north of Olive Park, a bit south of Chicago Avenue, and I am actually admiring this guy for taking pictures and all into the wind, and as I get about 10 feet away from him, he turns into my path without looking south and I nearly plow into him.  I had to skew towards the water and I yelled at him, and his apologies in Japanese were so contrite (my Japanese is basically zero, but I recognized the sound patters and emphasis from many Kurasawa movies) that I said "Domo arigato" and rode off.

Adam Kitzmann said:

No crowds. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad more and more people are on bikes, but it's nice to be able to open it up once in a while on a chilly fall/winter day with no one else in sight. 

YES.  Waiting for the bus or the El in the cold is somehow existentially different from being just as cold on a bike. And then you warm up, and all is good.  Or better.  Or not as bad, which in a Chicago winter, can be just as rewarding.

Melissa said:

I look forward to victory over the otherwise inevitable Chicago winter blues.  I think that biking through the winter is the best prevention.  You don't feel cooped up as long as you can still move about town freely. 

My beard becomes a snotsicle during winter rides, but yes, beards help.

AM said:

Beards!

Fran

backwards: YES, all-year-round Chicago cyclists deserve their/our sense of superiorty.

What, you never feel cold, EVAH?  You lie.  If you're nice and toast in miles 3-5 of your ride, you have to be cold in miles 1-3.  Gotta dress for the late ride, not the start. 

And YES, drivers are always shocked in a priceless way.

Bill

Fran Kondorf said:

The looks on driver's faces. Priceless.

The fact that I never feel cold, evah.

And, yeah- a wee bit of the smugness of saying that I'm a year-round cyclist. In Chicago.

C'mon, some of those hipster asses are kinda cute.  But, yeah, pants oughta fit.  But once you put your mini-U-lock in the back pocket of you tight-ass jeans, the ass-crack will appear even if your pants fit.

jen said:

Less hipster asscracks ! Get some Damn pants that fit !

No, LESS HIPSTER ASSCRACKS is a great band name.  Hipster Asscracks is just reality.

Fran Kondorf said:

Good band name, that.

jen said:

 hipster asscracks !
Thanks for reminding me to prep my winter bike as well as prep my wife for my winter beard.

I get the streets to myself, I love the routine of getting myself ready to ride in crappy weather.  I love being able to tell people I biked to work in 3 degree temps. 

Riding home in the dark on an empty LFT with a full moon over the lake feeling like I'm out on a relaxing midnight ride, then getting home and realizing it's only 5:30 pm.

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