Back when I made my personal commitment to commute by bike throughout the winter, getting through January was my biggest fear. Early nightfall, wind, snow, ice, below freezing temperatures…January has it all. Looking back though, it wasn’t all that bad! There were a few times when the conditions were miserable, but I think they would have been just as bad in a car.
There were definitely some lessons learned this winter. There were some things that I did pretty good with, and some other things that I plan to do differently next year.
I did a pretty good job at keeping enough gear at home, with me, and at work. I almost always had the proper gear available for changing conditions. I never had to back out of a bicycle commute because I was unprepared.
Having an adequate night light was wonderful! Again I’d like to thank Jeff F for the Nite Rider. Being seen in traffic, and being able to look ahead for ice was a life saver!
Next year I plan to get studded tires before winter starts. By the time I really convinced myself that I needed them, it was getting too late. I didn’t feel like laying down the cash, since I knew it was only a few more weeks until warmer weather. There were plenty of times I could’ve used studded tires the last two months, and they would’ve added tremendously to my safety. Just last week, I had to get off my bike on one section of the Mills Park bike path to cross a sheet of ice. I still almost fell down using my bike to stabilize me while walking!
I’ll probably get some Pogies next year. I didn’t suffer from cold hands really, but I think they’d be a nice option to have. There were times when a thinner glove would’ve been nice.
My feet stayed relatively warm this year. Partly because of my thick Smartwool socks and higher quality shoes, but I don’t think I spent as long in the cold this year. Most of my rides were of shorter duration. Because of the nicer weather last year, I was able to do longer road rides. I think the longer periods in the cold were the main culprit for my cold feet last year.
- Sheldon Brown has passed away. If you’ve ever used an internet search engine to find info on how to fix your bike, you’ve most likely read one of Sheldon Brown’s helpful articles.
- The Sarge alerted me to this bit of news: Cannondale has been bought by Dorel, the owner of Pacific Cycles. Pacific Cycles is the company that supplies most if not all of the bicycles to WalMart. Cannondale has always been a little on the edge with their innovations, never afraid to try something radically different. I’m not sure I like this move though. I’d hate to see a Cannondale at a Big Box store. It’d break my heart. Having said that, I did see some Cannondale road bikes at CostCo a few years ago! The article doesn’t really lay out any plans, so we’ll just have to see what becomes of this company.
- Cycling Carson City’s Jeff P will be attending the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Portland, Oregon. I’m not sure if he’s going to do any blogging from the road, or just save the news for when he returns. I saw the list of exhibitors, and it looks like this will be a very exciting show!
- The West Side of Carson still has a LOT of snow. I was hoping to be road riding by Tuesday this week, but there’s still too much snow, ice, and slush to make a road bike safe or worth the effort. Hopefully the warmer temperatures will dry things up for Wednesday!
- If you’re reading through the comments, and you start reading something that seems to be a bit off-the-wall, magniloquent, or a bit confusing, you are most likely in the middle of a Monty Python skit. Thank you Brian and “xd”!