The last couple of years I’ve touted this event. Last year was the special pandemic edition called winterbikealoopza, since it was understood that many people were working from home. With the pandemic still dragging on and things nowhere near normal yet, the organizers are apparently leaving it up to us to do it ourselves this year.
It’s sad there’s no worldwide event this year, but it’s understandable. What I enjoyed about it was the sense of world-wide solidarity. I loved reading posts from those trash-talking Canadians, and that so many cities in Finland, and Scandinavia in general, had large groups of cyclists committed. Many countries the world over participated, from Turkey to Japan. There were few from warmer climates, though, where cycling in winter is nothing special, and nothing really out of Amsterdam or Copenhagen, where winter bike to work day may be everyday. To get you in the mood for getting out there, I’ve included below what organizers wrote for last year’s event.
“Happy WinterBikeALoopza: Winter Bike to Work Day COVID19 Edition! ….where the internet points don’t really matter, the website can barely handle it and sharing YOUR story is what counts. Normally, around this time, HQ would do a little cheeky trash talking on here to stoke the competitive streak and drive cities to the top. But know what? That doesn’t feel right. Not this year. It’s been a rough year. Instead, can we tell you a not-so-secret secret? What if we told you we all knew – waaaay back in January – that this event was going to suffer? This year, many of our friends and collaborators – the organizations and individuals that make this special on the ground – badly wished they could be holding events like usual this year, but we knew they couldn’t and they knew it. What if we told you this year’s whole plan – the loops, the weekend of mapping, the request for live video tours and even more loops – was all just a plan to be ready for a real comeback – a new starting point for something special next year? What if we told you that our real plan all along was ..ahem.. cough.. wink… to be ready for winter bike parades in neighbourhoods all over the planet next February? What if we told you we’re setting the stage for a global-but-local celebration of keeping the bike boom going forever? In 2013, the moment this whole thing started, we knew there would be no possible way we’d ever get even half the people who regularly ride a bike to work or school – not even just one little city somewhere up in the twilight of Scandinavia let alone some medium size community in northern Japan – to ever sign up en masse for this event…and that we never cared? We all know that isn’t the point. There is no “drive to work day” and Copenhagen and Amsterdam never show up for this event for a very good reason: some things are just too normal. So what if we told you that the whole purpose of this event has always been to take one day make be sure YOU get seen and give us all a reason to connect. …to make sure people start realizing that riding all year IS possible, IS amazing, IS being done en masse somewhere, and that it can be anywhere if we try. What if we told you, the reason we do this every year, and especially this year, and is why everyone keeps coming back, is that we want to make things easier for the next person? For the next year. Every year, but especially next year. We’re doing it for that family that needs us to keep telling the story so that someone’s mayor, someone’s councillor, someone’s president, someone’s minister starts to get it and starts building more networks of bike lanes that are open and usable all the time. This has always been about our connection to nature and to each other. What really matters is for you to tell the story of winter cycling and how this can be normal. This past year, more than ever, has taught us all that the whole car culture trap we have gotten ourselves into isn’t good for us or real, that we need resilient transport systems, and that we need good health, physical and mental, more than anything else. Luckily all of that is starting to fade. The whole world is starting to remember that the outdoors is our friend, and that there is a better way. Peace and love, WBTWDHQ”
We haven’t had it too hard this winter, yet. And anyway, it’s all relative. Remember, there is no bad weather, just bad clothing. Winter cycling events are coming up. Don’t forget the Cycleworks/Mooses Tooth Fatbike Frozen Ididaride January 29th in Pioneers Park. Also, there’s The Frosty Bike Ride February 5, leaving from Van Dorn Park. Here I’m reposting some resources I shared last year about riding in the cold:
https://havefunbiking.com/cold-weather-riding-tricks/ addresses riding in temperatures around 0 degrees. Goggles are important, as is staying dry. Gloves and maybe pogies are essential, and warmish feet. Winter boots with flat pedals are OK. Don’t leave skin exposed, and seal up places air can seep in. Another link with useful tips is https://www.active.com/cycling/articles/winter-cycling-how-cold-is-too-cold. This one talks about wind chill, dressing in layers because several lighter will keep you more comfortable than one heavier layer, and exercising in the cold. About goggles, press them over the top of your mask. Like a COVID mask, If you let it ride up you can still get foggy goggles. https://www.active.com/cycling/articles/why-i-bike-in-cold-weather-and-how-you-can-too?page=2 goes through what some people wear, take, and do on longer rides at relatively cold temperatures, probably in the 20s, but not below zero. To read how those who actually do endurance races in temperatures far below 0 prepare, and why they do them, read about the Arrowhead 135. https://gritandgearonline.com/arrowhead-135-sveta-vold/ or https://surlybikes.com/blog/the_arrowhead_135_a_rookies_guide are two such accounts. If you have dialed in the right gear and tires, the biggest obstacle is between your own ears.