Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Winter cold no obstacle to bike commuting

Image of Madison bike commuter Kathy RasmussenAs the winter (hopefully) winds down, there have been several inspiring recent stories from newspapers in northern states about hardy, year-round bike commuters.

From the Hartford Courant, 02.27.07:

Pioneers Commute By Bike
Piles of frozen snow stick out into Franklin Avenue like deadly icebergs, but Kevin Sullivan pedals on. He's got to get to work.

Sullivan is one of a handful who have said to hell with his car in favor of year-round biking to the office--and part of a national movement proving this is actually possible.

Even stodgy Hartford is now adding bike lanes when it repaves streets. Soon distinctive red bike racks will be installed downtown. Republican City Councilman Robert Painter says there's a plan for a bike path along the Park River and talk of another under the elevated I-84 that snakes through the city. (Read more.)
The article includes a quote from Connecticut native Chris Balish, author of the helpful guide, How to Live Well Without Owning a Car: Save Money, Breathe Easier, and Get More Mileage Out of Life.

The Monroe News (Michigan) 02.26.07:
She puts her mettle to the bicycle pedal in any weather

When winter strikes with a vengeance, Melissa Phelps doesn't worry about gas-line freeze-up, dead batteries or scraping windshields.

She doesn't have a car. Instead, she uses alternative fuel: Muscle power. She gets around on her 10-speed Free Spirit bicycle, even on inclement days.

"I use it to go wherever I need to," she says. "But, sometimes, I get a ride." The weather doesn't seem to break her bicycling habit.

Last week, with the temperature at 11, the wind chill in single digits, and mounds of snow still burying curbs, she was bundled up in a brown, hooded winter parka and gingerly walking her bike along the shoulder of busy Cole Rd. as cars whizzed by. (Read more.)
From the Wisconsin State Journal, 02.24.07:
Bicyclists wheel through winter

Everything feels stale. The snowbanks and naked trees seem to be permanent fixtures lining the streets of Madison. Days are getting longer, but winter goes on.

Kathy Rasmussen has found a solution--bicycle commuting. This Madison resident had long enjoyed her 30-minute ride to work during the warm weather months when she decided two years ago, with some inspiration from the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, to continue the habit year-round.

A casual biker who enjoys "occasional little jaunts in the country," Rasmussen, 39, said winter biking in Madison is very doable. She feels safe with her reflective safety vest and "clunky old mountain bike," and as a winter biker, she is far from alone. (Read more.)
This article includes some helpful tips for cold weather bicycling from the inimitable folks at Icebike.

Image: Wisconsin State Journal. Madison cyclists Kathy Rasmussen.
See: Cold weather doesn't stop bike commuters
See: In Chicago winter, hardy cyclists keep riding
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site

2 comments:

Jamie said...

Great post, Paul. It's nice to see articles from other places about bike commuting in the winter. I get tired of folks at work giving me the "I could never do that" excuse and my having to defend myself because others are too lazy or embarrassed to try it. Now I have more ammo.

This post is getting mentioned on my bike commuting blog right now!

Paul Dorn said...

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Biker Bulletin e-newsletter today included a link to this related article from the Ottawa Citizen: Some cyclists don't give up when winter comes. The article indicates there are 1,500 year round cyclists at the University of Ottawa alone!