Cold Weather Doesn't Stop Midwest Bike Commuters

Now that we’ve made it through our first hard freeze, first sleet, first snow, and (for some folks in our region) first ice of the winter, I thought it would be interesting to check in with some of our bicycle commuters, and see if they’re still riding.

Encouragingly, most still are, to one degree or another. Here’s a quick sampling of recent ride reports:

  • Lawrence, KS — Andrew Hartsock: “I sometimes quite enjoy riding among the flakes (of snow, that is). Snow muffles sound and frequently keeps some drivers inside, making wintery rides the most peaceful of the year. Outfitted properly — with layers on me and fat, knobby (if not spiked) tires on the bike, along with fenders — I hardly notice the elements, and the crunching of snow under the tires of approaching cars gives me plenty of notice of impending doom.”
  • Mission, KS — David Veatch, after nearly two months off due to a broken bike and a slow-arriving replacement, is bicycle commuting again on his brand new Kona Dew Drop: “I’d almost forgotten about cold and persistent headwinds…” Dave’s also working on Balancing Speed and Duration.
  • Overland Park, KS — Warren T is still riding, even taking “the long way”, despite the cold: “I guess the cut off is going to have to be lower than 20°…”
  • Colorado Springs, CO — Jeff Kerkove provides detailed lists of his winter weather riding gear, from 10°F to 40+°F. His advice: “Think layers. It’s all about layers.”
  • Denver, CO — Michael Driscoll provides some pictures from his rural and suburban commute.
  • Clarksville, IA — Jeremy Bidwell says studded tires would be nice: “Took about an hour for the 14 mile commute this AM. Nerve racking ride with blowing wind, icy roads, and occasional stupid drivers. But you’ll have that. I love this stuff!”
  • Iowa City, IA — Bike commuters laugh at the cold: “Biking is a great way to get around in the summer, but come winter a warm car sounds a lot better than a frosty saddle and bitter winds to many people. But not everyone. This year it appears more people are forging ahead on their bikes as temperatures dwindle. Area bike shops agree that more people seem to be braving the cold this season. Many people picked up the bike commuting habit as gas prices surged earlier this year and are persevering as it turns cold.”
  • Lee’s Summit, MO — Shamus learned that wet roads and trails can be treacherous: “I found this out by accident coming around the curve going under State Line road. The front tire slipped out just enough to get my attention, and startle me. From that point on, I rode with a little more reserve, managing to make it to work without incident.”
  • Springfield, MO — Andy Cline says “Uncomfortable? Who’s Uncomfortable?” He’s still commuting, and he’s not alone: “Two years ago I would have bet you $100 that I’d be the only one. I would have won. Today, I won’t take that bet.”
  • Lincoln, NE — Ben calls himself “Captain Slow”, but he’s still riding: “This morning the ride in was 18 degrees, the snow and ice was still in places where the sun didn’t touch yesterday, but there was nary a tire slip. You know, I got to work with a smile on my face, working with 19 degrees and a nice little head/side wind. This winter stuff ain’t so bad, once you actually get going.” Also, he found some great gloves.
  • Lincoln, NE — Cornbread: “I managed to get 9.95 miles into my ten mile commute on Wednesday morning before going down on the ice. A 40 mph gust of wind hit me and sent me tumblin’.”
  • Omaha, NE — Munsoned has trouble on days with wide temperature swings: “It was 22 in the morning, so I had 3 layers up top and lots of extras to keep warm. Then, when I got out at 3:30, it was fricken 50 degrees. So all my layers had to be either crammed into the handlebar bag, or worn. I got plenty warm on my ride.”
  • Omaha, NE — Scott Redd wonders: “OK, most resourceful, wise, and experienced Omaha cycling community, how does a beginning, but rather dedicated cycling commuter deal with riding on snow and ice covered roads?”

Sometimes I hear people refer to “cycling season” and wonder what they’re talking about. There’s good riding to be had any time of the year, regardless of the weather, and these riders prove it. Winter is no excuse to stop riding!


About The Author

By Randy Rasa, editor/webmaster at Kansas Cyclist, the web’s premier Kansas cycling information site, featuring authoritative guides to Kansas cycling clubs, bike shops, organized bike rides, touring, trails, and much more. [learn more]

Comments are closed.