Saturday, 12 December 2009

My First Winter Ride

Last night I rode a bicycle in the winter for the first time. We went up the street to visit friends and while in the summer the distance is a pleasant walk, that would not be the case at this time of year. It is also much too close to drive. The bicycle was the obvious choice.
We left the house around 730 pm so there was very little traffic, a bonus for a maiden voyage.
Winnipeg has had very little snow this year -so far. We have snow all around us, but the streets here are still fairly clear. It was cold when we did have snow so it stayed as powder and did not melt into ice.
I couldn't find my windpants so I put leggings under my jeans, wore a breathable winter jacket, my big winter boots and a pair of fleece mitts inside my shearling-lined leather mitts. The helmet cover kept my head mostly warm, tho' the pesky leak around temples would have been problematic on a longer ride. I was comfortably warm and well padded for a fall (which was my biggest concern). I had headlights and a flashing tail light but the batteries were getting weak in the headlight so they died in the cold. The tail light shorted out. I borrowed a flashing leg band from the Geek and rode behind her, as her lights were working well. Those pesky light problems were solved today.
I'm happy to say the the streets were not the least bit slippery and I didn't come close to falling. There is no chance that I will let my guard down though.
The winter bike is much lighter than Eselin, and therefore feels much different to ride. Eselin is so long and very sturdy that you don't feel any bumps. This bike responds very quickly and I could probably catch myself more easily should the wheels slip.
As I was pedalling along, I kept likening this bike to a rabbit, so I think it will have to have a name that implies bunny-like properties. Undoubtedly something will come to mind.
Now that I have tried this, I'll probably ride more. It will definitely make my life easier if I don't have to rely totally on public transit, which is how I generally get around in the winter.

7 comments:

Carinthia said...

I can't imagine riding in the snow but I can imagine it would be a LOT nicer than riding on ice! Did you fit studded tyres to your winter ride?

Something about the handlebars and that particular photo brings 'rabbit' to mind for me too :-). A very perky bike!

Sox said...

No, I don't have studs on the tires. In a normal winter, it isn't terribly icy here, just snow packed. Of course, I haven't done enough winter riding to decide for sure.

Richard said...

I've discovered dry chemical heating pads last year. They do wonders tucked under ear covers on a cold ride. :)

HAL said...

How have you been doing with the recent temperature drop and snow? One of the things I noticed with my motorcycle tires was the loss of traction due to the rubber hardening up - do you notice the same thing on your bike?

Sox said...

So far my first ride has been my only ride. I think the cold temperatures may be preferable to the 'warmish' weather we have had lately where everything is now all mushy. I'll have to see.

spiderleggreen said...

I've always wondered if there was anybody riding bikes, up there in Winnie. Interesting, about the lack of ice, due to the fact that it doesn't get warm enough to melt. We're not so lucky! Our Christmas blizzard had rain in the middle, so some places are hard and slippery.

As for winter bikes, I'm liking my heavy, Dutch bike. It has greater stability and handles those bumps much better. Frankie's(the bike) lights are hub generated, so batteries aren't a concern. But I do have and an extra headlight and tail light, plus have used many other battery lights in the past. Enough to know that there are some lights that just won't work in cold temps and some that will.

As for keeping warm, you will find on longer rides that you can have too much clothing in the wrong places. The top of the head is one of them. I wear a good head band so my ears stay warm, and try to put as little as I can on top. That way when I warm up, the extra heat has somewhere to go. Sweat is not your friend, because it'll conduct cold air into your body, real fast.

Good luck and welcome to the winter biking community!

Dottie said...

How did I miss this post? That is an awesome picture. The white bike looks classy in the snow.