Biking and walking are affordable forms of transportation that save individuals and cities money compared to the immense expense of cars and auto infrastructure. But what happens when the weather turns cold and snowy? Is that the time of year when you store your bike and take on the expense of driving everywhere? For many Strong Citizens, the answer is "No."
The three stories below show how easy and stress-free winter biking and walking can be, as long as you use the right tools and employ the right mindset. After you read them, we challenge you to get outside and bike or walk to work. Then tell us how it went in the comments.
by Jason Schaefer
Jason is a year-round biker from Grand Forks, North Dakota who wants to squash the notion that people don't bike during the winter:
I happen to be a person and I also happen to bike in the winter. I’ve been doing it for over 10 years and love it. While certainly not for everyone, a growing number of people in winter cities are bike commuting year-round. Improved gear and equipment are making it easier. Increased investments in bicycle infrastructure will further lower the barriers to entry...
In this article, Jason offers his four biggest tips for safe and enjoyable winter biking, and makes the argument that investments in bike infrastructure are worthwhile, even in northern cities. Read the article.
by Jason Schaefer
If you're still incredulous that winter biking is possible, here are three short interviews with winter cyclists in North Dakota, who talk about the challenges and benefits of winter biking and share their tips for getting the job done safely and warmly:
Sara is an avid bicyclist. She takes a utilitarian approach with her winter biking setup using an old beat up mountain bike that she lovingly describes as a POS. She has a studded tire on the front wheel and has the bike outfitted with fenders and lights - which she says are key...
Bret finds bicycling to be a very efficient mode of travel. His home in the historic Near Southside Neighborhood, near downtown Grand Forks is two miles from the University of North Dakota where he and his wife, Carenlee, are professors. Often, by the time Carenlee has warmed up the car, driven to campus, found a parking spot and walked to her office; Bret has already arrived with his bike parked next to the building...
by Rachel Quednau
It's easy to revert to driving the routes you typically walk when the weather turns cold. But this article explains why walking can actually be better and, more importantly, safer than driving on icy roads.
While all of my friends were struggling to dig their cars out of the snow, I was enjoying a brisk walk in a warm pair of boots. The sun was shining. There were plenty of people out (shoveling!). I was unhindered only by the occasional unplowed sidewalk.
I often hear the argument that walking is all well and good when the weather’s nice, but as soon as the snow hits, you really need a car to get around. [...] I actually find that it is often much easier to get around on foot in the winter than it would be in a car. For one thing, I don’t have to begin my journey with an extensive dig-out operation involving shovels and ice picks. I just bundle up and walk outside...
(Top photo by Don Harder)