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Location: 40 dgrs. 48' 26.34" N, 96 dgrs. 40' 05.96" W, United States

Liberal bicycle commuter, political junkie, policy junkie, free thinker, I've got too many titles. All in all I'll leave it with a quote from the late Senator Paul Wellstone of Minn. "Politics is not about big money and power games, it's about the improvment of peoples lives."


December 01, 2005

Winter Bicycle Commuting

Recently I've gotten a bit of email or comments about winter bicycle commuting, how, why and so on. I'll give a little run down on my bike and what I wear to stay warm and why I do it. First and foremost THIS DOES NOT REQUIRE A TON OF MONEY as some will lead you to believe.

Let's start with my bikes. I have a couple bikes one is a mountain bike that I built up in 1998, at the time it was a very very expensive bike. Today it probably is not worth shit because it is "outdated." My other bike is a commuter bike built by Sacha White in Portland, again very expensive but I love bikes so hey deal with it. You absolutely do not need to have a high dollar bike to commute in the summer or winter. if it has 2 wheels and is mechanically sound it will work. My mountain bike I use for snow and ice and just general riding besides that. The commuter bike is more of a road bike and has racks so it works good anytime with the exception of snow and ice (skinny tires.) Again, I can not stress enough you do not need an expensive bike to commute.

Secondly and probably most importantly what to wear in the winter to stay warm. First, generally you will get too hot and not cold as one may think. Here is a run down of what I would wear if say it was 10 below zero.

-7 year old hiking boots (expensive when I bought them but now there are many that are far cheaper and would work fine.)

-Thick socks from Shopko (discount store probably 5 bucks.)

-Winter riding tights (bought in Moab, like 60 bucks a little pricey but they have lasted 7 years.)

-Baggy cargo shorts over the tights (I don't care for the whole spandex look so I break it up with the baggies. (wife bought those at Target for like 14 bucks.)

-cheap fleece turtle neck

-cheap zip up vest

-Bemiji State College sweat shirt (pretty heavy, it's a nice sweat shirt)

-Cheap fleece zip up jacket

-baklava (baklava... a hood of sorts that you pull on over your head and the bottom drops down over your neck and tucks underneath your jacket when zipped up)

-Thin fleece gloves (cheap, discount store)

Heavy gloves over the fleece ones (cheap again)

Here's the deal the only parts of your body that are ever going to get cold are your fingers, feet, and neck. If one pays attention to those areas and adapts a bit figures out what he or she needs to do to compensate a bit you will be commuting without being cold. Now I will not pretend to say that after riding 5 or 6 miles in 10 below weather you could not give yourself a hand job and not feel a bit of the cold but all in all you hand will be for the most part not little bricks of ice.

It's about adaptation people, yes it is a bit inconvenient to commute in the winter but enjoy it that is half the battle. I commute because whether we like it or not every one of us are for the most part not very independent. For me by pedaling year-round I am able to break free of the norm, I'm able to exert a bit of independence in our cushy society. I love bicycles, I love the way they look, sound and ride so that is also a big motivator for me. I don't care if it is cold out I'm going for a bike ride. Remember, any bike ride is a good bike ride.

Remember folks when your bitching about high gas prices, the oil companies fucking us, urban sprawl and so forth just think to yourself "hey I'm part of the problem If I hopped on my bike to go and get that loaf of bread and gallon of milk 1 mile away I'd be giving the big finger to the status quo."

If you have any questions at all on anything I did not cover email me I would be glad to answer them. I've been doing this for years and have it down to an exact science. Rarely do I ever get cold riding in the winter and if I do it is because I mis-judged the temp. and did not dress right.


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