The Key to Winter Cycling

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Sunday, January 10, 2010
By Yokota Fritz

The key to riding a bicycle in winter, Yvonne Bambrick confides, is tissues.

"Some people do the, what do they call it, snot rockets. Yuck." She digs into her purse in the front basket of her bicycle to reveal a pale blue silk pouch, brimming with Kleenex. "Do you want one?"

More in the Toronto Star: Hard-core cyclists do not fear winter.

While most of you in the USA and Canada are freezing your keisters off, it's a balmy 70 degrees in Santa Cruz this weekend. ~~ Love, Fritz.

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i disagree. I think the key to biking in the winter is a handy-dandy snot rag, or hanky. I'm a messenger and i always keep a hanky on hand in my front coat pocket and a back-up rag in my bag. the extra (clean) cloth doubles as a scarf if i find the wind sneaking down my shirt front. kleenex and other soft facial tissues use old growth forests for their products and are an entirely unsustainable way of clearing the gunk out of your trunk. use hankies! designer colors and designs also available!
I think of all the dioxins and bleaching agents used to make those tissues and revel in snot rockets -- though I *try* to do it out where no body can see me. I figure I've saved at least a box per season.
I also think I do a more thorough sinus-cleansing launching things, and that this is extremely beneficial to the immune system.
As I've blogged, though, I have learned to grab a bandana or tissue and blow long & hard. If I do that before the ride, things go better...
I'm not a tissue person either -- a rag or, failing that, a snot rocket all the way for me.

I used to think snot rockets should be done discretely, but in the Bay Area where I ride now this is impossible -- there is always somebody in the vicinity!
"blah blah blah...70 degrees...blah blah blah"

I hate you
Say what you want about the environmental impact of tissues vs. hankies, and I'll agree. The truth, though, is that hankies are just functionally better. Much less prone to "blow-through" and allow better airflow than paper. I've been using them all year around for a couple of years now.
I think the key to winter cycling is to just do it! It is not as cold, treacherous, or difficult as most people think.

Oh, I am a big fan of the snot rocket too!
@mildstallion: It was downright chilly this morning for me in California this morning at 45°! Brrrr!

@Cafn8: And the snot rocket as the best airflow of all :-)

@BikeBike: Indeed!
The key to winter cycling is to protect your extremities.
Until last year I had been having great difficulty with keeping my fingers warm when outside temperatures dropped below 0-Celcius.
I got my wife to help design the BarBra TM It covers the whole handlebar area and protects my hands from wind chill. This allows me to wear lighter gloves and have better control over gear changers and brakes.
For more information go to
Hi Hamish, and thanks for letting us know about those BarBras -- they're like Mega Pogies! Very cool.
In my opinion the key to cycling in winter is protecting extremities.
Waterproof boots kept my feet warm but I suffered from painfully cold hands when temperatures went below 0 C. until my wife Alexandrina
helped me design the BarBra TM. It is a waterproof cape that covers the entire handlebar area.
It protects my hands from windchill and keeps them warm and dry even in the worst snow storms. It also allows me to wear lighter gloves so I have greater control of the gear changers and brake levers.
For more information go to
This post has been removed by the author.
Sorry for posting twice. This was my first time writing here and I did not know how it works.
I will start using a cloth handkerchief!
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