Winter cycling tips for Santa Cruz, California

Last Saturday, I was just riding along in beautiful 68 degree sunny weather on Brommer Street in Santa Cruz when I shot a photo of Jamie Bianchini towing his son Luca in a bike trailer. I uploaded the photo to Google Plus. Google then applied “autoawesome” to the image to overlay animated snow flakes over Jamie, his bike, and the passing Honda.

Snow on Brommer Street Santa Cruz California

You now have photographic proof of my winter cycling expertise.

It was about 35 degrees F / 2 degrees C with frost on car windshields when I left the house Saturday morning, and my friends in Santa Clara County tell me there was substantial ice on the road up Mount Hamilton. By noon, though, things had warmed up to a balmy 70 degrees along the coast. This might surprise you, but winter is surf season in California and sure enough we had plenty of surfers at Pleasure Point in Capitola over the weekend.

Because the day starts chilly but quickly warms to reasonable temperatures, removing your jacket is an important cycling skill. Here’s how I do it.

Remember: always wear a helmet for safety when riding alongside traffic with your hands bound up in your jacket.

Jamie, by the way, spent eight years riding a bike around the world. Unlike your usual dull everyday “I biked around the world” story (who hasn’t done this, right?), Jamie did something different: he used a tandem bike and let people ride along as hitch hikers. One of these hitch hikers eventually became his wife. You can read his story at Peace Pedalers.

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