Frigid

The coldest weather I’ve ever biked was 20° below zero F (about -30°C) in Champaign, Illinois.

I had just moved to Champaign from Fort Worth, Texas, so this was pretty cold for me. It was only a couple of miles from work, but cold is cold so I thought I’d drive to work. My Corolla turned over but didn’t start. The Grand Am (my mother’s car that I was borrowing) gave no signs of life at all.

So I hopped on my Centurion and biked to work. And it really wasn’t that bad.

It was a pleasant 50° F / 10°C when I left the house this morning near Santa Cruz, California. I’m not sure I’d like your weather in the Midwest today. Ross also kind of brags about his winter bike ride in Sacramento.


Bicycling through the snow. Photo (CC-BY-NC-ND) by Ork de Rooij .


Bicycling through the snow

Mebbe if you’re in the upper Midwest with those frigid temps, you’ll want this hipster neck warmer for $105. My personal favorite to keep neck and face warm was the Seirus Ultraclava. Fleece lined, comfortable, and the breathing holes mean my glasses don’t fog up, and neoprene lining means it doesn’t get all soaked and nasty from breath condensation.

Carlton: “It’s hard not to be a smug cyclist when you can ride up ice.More.

From Minneapolis: It’s a blizzard. Grab your bike.

Bikeshares and winter hibernation.

Canada’s first and North America’s largest public bike program is not the only system that is shutting up shop for the winter months. Bike systems in Denver, the Twin Cities, Nashville, and Washington state are shutting down until springtime. Bike maintenance, rider safety concerns, and expected low winter ridership are amongst the reasons systems will be shut over the next few months.

Bike To Work Vancouver tweets, ” A 3% reduction in car traffic can result in a 30% reduction in traffic congestion.” Does somebody know where to find a cite for that stat?

Planetizen: Bike lanes increase road capacity. Empirically so!

UC Berkeley bicycle crackdown has students

Anti-cyclist road rage Down Under.

Urban St Louis: Why doesn’t someone tell you to drive less?

When you become a new parent you are told many things. “By far the biggest killer of children is car crashes” isn’t one of them.

Children in St. Louis are much more likely to die or be injured in a car crash than by illness or any other means. The overwhelming threat to the safety of our children is not a gun shot, not a mugging, not an accident in the home and not Whooping Cough.

I realize there’s no money to be made from telling someone to drive less, but what would it take to have people better understand the one thing they could easily do less of that would make their children more safe?

Streetsblog, rear view cameras, and SUV safety.

Urbanophile on on civic leadership, city planning and inflexible thinking:

While they were well-intentioned, smart, good at business, good at their technical specialty, and excellent at things like fund raising and building community support for initiatives, they simply weren’t up on the latest and greatest thinking in the urbanism space. They weren’t bad leaders or bad people at all – they just had gaps in their knowledge and thinking about cities.

Via Rebuilding Place and BFTROU.

“Bicycle Thieves” movie review.

Bikes, bridges, and opportunity.

Another fun winter cycling goodie from Carlton: Spike to School Day.

8 Comments

  • December 13, 2010 - 9:38 pm | Permalink

    One of those things that, looking back, I feel deeply silly about is that I never biked in the rain or snow when I lived in Champaign-Urbana. I didn’t realize it was possible or that a few small pieces of added gear would make it comfortable and easy and fairly safe.

  • December 13, 2010 - 9:50 pm | Permalink

    My most miserable ride ever was in C-U. We moved into a house waaay out in the country that gave me a 20+ mile commute. Picture one of those Illinois blizzards with extreme windchill, and then me on a bike on the open prairie. Then picture me 7 miles into the ride giving up, turning around, and calling my wife for a ride home in the heated car.

  • Siouxgeonz
    December 13, 2010 - 10:15 pm | Permalink

    What? What? No link to the CUMTD murder of the snowman? (Okay, it’s not cycling…) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQ2aAmMRjxc (apparently it made the chicago trib website but it’s downtown champaign…)

  • December 13, 2010 - 10:22 pm | Permalink

    And the driver LOST HIS JOB over that incident? Is that for real??

  • Brent
    December 13, 2010 - 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Wow, that is cold. Here on the eastern part of VA it only gets flirts with 0. The wind can be a killer but nothing like what the Northeast or Midwest experience.
    I have a balaclava from Mountain Hardware and love it except it does all the things like fog my glasses, get clammy, etc. that Richard said the Seirus one doesn’t. Thanks for telling about that new balaclava!

  • December 13, 2010 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh that was the all time record low for C-U on January 19 1994. The average low for January in C-U is 16 degrees F.

  • Anonymous
    December 14, 2010 - 11:36 pm | Permalink

    In the past, I always skipped winter riding. Last year, however, I decided to give it a shot, and I ended up liking it a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather ride in 110° any day of the week, but it still wasn’t as horrible as I’d imagined. My coldest ride was somewhere in the single digits, with windchill below zero. My rides usually last for 10-15 miles, due to numerous reasons:

    – I’m f’ing cold!
    – the air is more dense, and takes more energy to move through
    – my body is in overdrive warming itself and the air I breathe
    – my CamelBak’s water tube usually freezes

    The worst part is stopping indoors (like the time I stopped by the bike shop to pick up a spare tube and talked for 15 minutes) because the heat, mixed with your warm riding clothes, will make you sweat. When you head back out, you pretty much freeze to death.

    Car exhaust also lingers longer, so stopping at red lights sucks even more than usual. I also make it a habit to tell my wife I’m going out, and to stay by her phone in case I call. Riding below zero is bad enough, but stopping to change a flat will just about do you in.

  • epon
    December 15, 2010 - 5:41 pm | Permalink
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