Bicycling in Glencoe throughout the Year
As much of the world went into lockdown, people started riding bikes to get around and stay active while social distancing throughout the spring and summer months. Now that winter is coming, there is no reason why bike riding should stop! You may ask why do I choose to ride my bike year-round?
I ride my bike in sunshine, snow and everything in between because:
- It’s healthy! I have three children, so we are all super busy and I don’t always find time to work out. If I ride my bike everywhere, I know I am always getting some kind fitness in my day and plenty of fresh air.
- It’s quick and convenient! I don’t need to drive round searching for parking for my car or sitting in long school car lines. I just ride directly to the location and park my bike right outside.
- It’s great for the environment! Riding my bike means there is one less car on the roads, which helps to reduce CO2 emissions.
- It’s fun, whatever the weather! Being the first to ride though fresh snow is just the best feeling ever!
Pre-COVID-19, my children and I would ride to school every day, regardless of the weather. My bike is my main means of local transport and I use it to go to shopping, to the library, the botanical gardens, and anywhere local. Yes, there were the odd days when we needed to use the car or walk- but that’s totally ok!
The trick to enjoying riding in the winter and fall weather is to be prepared. You may have heard that there is no bad weather, just bad clothing! If you are thinking about continuing your new bicycle riding habit into the winter months, it’s best to get equipped and organized now before weather turns! I have some tips for your fall and winter bicycle riding preparation below:
- Have the right clothes for the right weather: My kids use rain covers on their school backpacks that can be pulled down when needed. We wear raincoats and waterproof trousers when needed, and in winter we wear snow jackets & trousers. Reflective gear lights and a helmet are also essential.
- Use ski gloves for winter riding: Wearing ski gloves gives you the warmth, waterproofness and flexibility you need.
- Lower the bike saddle: This helps lower your center of gravity and allows your feet to be flat on the ground, in case of unexpected skidding.
- Lower the air pressure in your tires: Decreasing the air temperature in the winter allows the tire to make a better grip on the road. After deflating, you should not be able to press down with your thumbs and touch the rim. You could also consider winter bicycle tires.
- Use the roads for riding: In and around Glencoe, I tend to stick to the roads in snowy weather as they have normally been ploughed. I avoid the sidewalks as they are too unpredictable and dangerous with snow and ice.
- Establish a “ride order”: I always ride with my youngest child at my side. My older two follow behind in age order, with the oldest bring up the rear. This ride order is how we always ride regardless of weather. It means that it becomes second nature to everyone.
Just give it a try, don’t put those bikes away for winter, use them all year – I’m sure you’ll enjoy it!
Submitted by Glencoe Sustainability Task Force Member Helyn Latham