Tackling the winter weather on two wheels

On Monday, I rode my bike to campus. And then I rode it home. Now, for some of you, this might not seem like a big deal, but for those of you in the Boston area, you know that Monday was an absolute absurd weather situation. It was around 50 degrees, and raining. No, not raining, it was practically a monsoon. So severe, in fact, that there was an urban flood warning for Suffolk county.

My bike is hot pink and sparkly. While I look totally awesome riding in the sunshine, I am not fully equipped to ride in all weather. Two of my roommates are big into biking, and they have special shoes and gloves and pants and things like that. Which is cool, for them, but I like my florescent Tigers, thank you.

But with so many students in Boston, I am sure I am not the only one suiting up in terrible weather to get to school. And yesterday, while wet, wasn’t the worst of it. Snow, sleet, freezing rain (Universal Hub explains the difference if you’re not sure), and the lovely “wintry mix” Bostonites (Bostoners? Massholes?) know so well are all very dangerous and terrible for bikers.

Boston Biker has some tips for us on how to survive winter riding. The first part may be a little advanced for the casual cyclist (my bike moves by my two legs and a little magic as far as I’m concerned) but there are some handling tips that are essential, such as going slow, riding straight, and the “sit and work it” technique for tackling hills.

Jon Terbush, from the Directory of Boston blog, had this to say in a recent post about biking in the winter:

Riding a bike in a snowstorm is something like trying to cross the length of a large gymnasium by hopping from one basketball to another, in parts on only one foot, and at all times with a stack of three hard piled eggs—piled one on top of the other—balanced atop your head; at no point do you feel safe, instead enduring a constant fear that you are about to eat it big time, and, embarrassingly, in front of a lot of people. Remaining upright on only two thin, slick tires is something of a Sisyphean task.  At least Sisyphus didn’t have maniacal drivers zipping along behind him, set to run him down each time he stumbled and fell.

Bikers aren’t the only ones who have trouble in winter weather. Runners are also at a disadvantage when the days get shorter. But apparently, New Balance has stepped up to the challenge of the snow. According to a post on Universal Hub, New Balance has pledged to “to provide funding to support snow removal efforts along the 17-plus mile Charles River path spanning from the Museum of Science area in Cambridge to the Galen Street Bridge in Watertown.”

Watch out for cyclists! (via my friend Eric’s tumblr)


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