How I Accidentally Became a 12 Month Bike Commuter

Perhaps I am bit cold today.

February 15, 2018 marks one year of more or less continual zipping around town on my bike. In Ontario.

Let’s rewind a bit. I didn’t plan on biking all year round. It sort of just happened. Last winter I was hobbled by sciatica. It felt like someone was either stabbing me in the left calf or twisting a knife in my left calf, pretty much 24 hours a day. The pain wasn’t too bad if I was walking or sitting but standing still was agony. Sitting felt pretty good so alas, last February, the roads were clear and the temperature okay (for February) and me and my layers hopped on the winter bike and away we went to work.

I also hate having to fork over a day’s pay for damn bus pass.

My ride is super easy. It’s about 3.5 km each way. The only annoying part is endless construction including the bridge to Hull. The already narrow Chaudiere (AKA death bridge) has lane reduction (probably) until the end of time so I ride on the sidewalk. I have to hop off the bike quite often because there are patches of the sidewalk where neither Ontario nor Quebec want to take responsibility for plowing so it gets messy. And nobody appears to be in a big hurry to fix the lights either.

It turned out my rides were pretty easy, not painful and not cold. So I kept going. There were a few bumps in the road for sure. One day, last March, the forecast was for less than 1 cm of snow and alas when it was time to go home at 3pm, there was over 7 cm of snow on the ground. The main roads were clear, I just had to hop off the bike on a path that was covered in snowdrifts and walk about 200 metres and then hop back on the bike. I learned that hopping on and off a heavy studded tire bike is a bit of a workout especially when you are bundled up in many layers.

Freezing rain keeps me off the road because I am, contrary to popular belief, not insane.

So riding in -38C windchill (the coldest temp so far for 2017-2018) was not cold at all because my biking gear is not actually designed for biking and I arrived at work soaked looking very much as if I just biked in +38C weather.

I spent way too much money on bike repairs (for winter and regular bike) in 2017. I hope that doesn’t happen again. Very disappointed in my 2016 Trek bicycle. Broke down constantly and, no surprise, it always seemed to be items not covered by the warranty. I do not recommend Trek at all.

So what I learned was that biking in winter is not an all or nothing thing. There are times when I take the bus cause there is too much snow, ice, laziness in the forecast. Another thing is that biking in winter is kind of fun. I enjoy being out in the crisp air and sunshine and just like in the summer, you are closer to nature and see stuff you wouldn’t normally on the bus or in a car.

And my quads are getting nice and toned. Apparently biking all year round makes you a bit vain.

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