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Friday Fun: Cycling in the Snow
Follow their lead and don't let the winter blues keep you from getting on your bike! Photo by Colville-Andersen.

Follow their lead and don't let the winter blues keep you from getting on your bike! Photo by Colville-Andersen.

Bikers in snowy cities across the Northern Hemisphere are embracing the winter and turning their cycles into snowmobiles.

Here are some tips if you plan to keep biking despite the weather:

  • Clean your bike thoroughly, especially if the roads are coated with salt
  • Use a splash guard to avoid being covered in dirt
  • Use studded tires
  • Wear the right stuff, like long underwear and bicycling glasses, not goggles, says bike expert Todd Downs. “When the weather was bad enough for ski goggles, I wasn’t going fast enough to keep them from fogging,” he explains.
  • Stay visible with front and back headlights for short winter days

See our previous post with more information on winterizing your bike. And for additional tips, check out this article from Bangor Daily News in Maine, home to many cold weather biking experts.

When cars crawl through slick streets, biking can be a more attractive travel option. Bikers in this video filmed by Netherlands-based blogger Alicia are shown moving faster than the other vehicles on the road. One cyclist is even able to manage holding an umbrella to avoid the falling snow, while still outpacing the rest of traffic.

Many bikers are still charging despite winter weather. Image is a screen shot of a video by Alicia.

A screenshot from a video shows many bikers are still charging ahead, despite winter weather. Video by Alicia.

What happens to bikesharing systems in icy conditions? Some will stick around through the winter; others will discontinue operations until the spring. Dr. Gridlock, a Washingt0n Post transportation writer, noted that the Washington, D.C. area bike share system, Capital Bikeshare, experienced very high rates of ridership on the blustery day of December 14, a day with a low temperature of 26 degrees Fahrenheit. This is an increase of nearly 100 percent since October 13. To encourage cycling through the season, Capital Bikeshare is awarding a free three-year membership to a brave rider who takes the most trips between January 1 and February 28.

So, what have your winter weather commutes been like? Or for those in warmer climates, how do you battle tricky weather like monsoons or windy days?

Amsterdam bicyclists tote their shopping bags on two wheels. Photo by Bauke Karel.

Amsterdam bicyclists tote their shopping bags on two wheels. Photo by Bauke Karel.

As long as you're bundled up, like this family in Amsterdamn, carting kids is a breeze. Photo by Bauke Karel.

As long as you're bundled up, like this family in Amsterdamn, carting kids is a breeze. Photo by Bauke Karel.

Follow the example of these guys in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. and don't let the snow interrupt your exercise routine. Photo by M.V. Jantzen.

Follow the example of these guys in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. and don't let the snow interrupt your exercise routine. Photo by M.V. Jantzen.

During a heavy blizzard, cars are nowhere to be seen; but cyclists and emergency vehicles stay the course. Photo by The Q.

During a heavy blizzard, cars are nowhere to be seen, but cyclists and emergency vehicles stay the course. Photo by The Q.

A Chicago man carries a heavy load through city streets. Photo by John W. Iwanski.

A Chicago man doesn't let the cold deter him from bearing a heavy load...or wearing cut-off shorts! Photo by John W. Iwanski.

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