by Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director, Share the Road Cycling Coalition
Two years ago I started cycling in the winter. It was’t really a conscious decision, I just didn’t stop cycling when the temperature dropped and the snow started to fall. Riding a bike is my favourite way to get around, and it was exciting to keep doing it as the season changed.
Now, moving from Ottawa to Hamilton certainly helped. The temperature drop felt a lot less drastic and the amount of snow falling felt more manageable than what I was used to in Ottawa. Probably most importantly, I now had access to bike share and didn’t have to worry about finding and maintaining a winter bike. The growing number of separated bike lanes that are cleared of snow are also a huge factor. I wouldn’t get far without them.
It seemed like the conditions in Hamilton were right for me to keep cycling into the winter, so I did! This winter I added a warmer helmet and my snowboarding gloves into the mix and I am absolutely loving it.
I am lucky to live in a city with an extensive bike share system and to have access to a network of cycling friends & colleagues at the ready to provide winter cycling tips and answer my questions. If that is not the case for you, there are some resources and events that might be helpful that I’ve outlined below.
You can also feel free to connect with me directly via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on Instagram (@strcycling) and I’ll try my best to connect you with the answers you are looking for.
Winter cycling tips
The team at EnviroCentre in Ottawa has put together a helpful website of tips and videos for starting to cycle in the winter. My favourite tip? Cycle on days when the weather is nice! They also have helpful tips for winter cycling as a family.
Cycle Toronto has also prepared a list of winter cycling tips, which you can view on their website here.
Winter Bike Day celebrations
Events celebrating winter cycling will be taking place around the world on Friday, February 14th. You can check out this website to see what is being planned in your community and sign up to join: https://www.winterbiketoworkday.org/
Some communities are hosting group rides, which can be a really helpful way to get started with winter cycling. Other communities are offering celebrations with complimentary treats, drinks and prizes for people who try winter cycling. I know that the treats from Donut Monster are going to be what gets me out the door that morning here in Hamilton.
If you feel like giving winter cycling a try, this might be the week to do it!
For more winter cycling inspiration, check out the following Instagram accounts:
@winterbikeptbo ; @cycletoronto ; @everyoneridesinitiative ; @biketoworkottawa ; @winterbiketoworkday ; @wintercyclingfederation
Happy (winter) cycling!