Friday, January 4, 2013

A Return to Winter Bicycling

The thought of waiting to ride our new wheels until the snow disappears seemed absurd to me when I was having the Dreamcycle rebuilt. We live  a mile high in the Rocky Mountains, so it can stay icy well into spring, and snow during the month of June isn't alarming to anyone other than tourists. 

After reading about studded snow tires and feeling pretty overwhelmed by choices (Riding in snow? Packed snow? Ice? Plowed winter streets? Snowy ruts? Snow covered ice? I couldn't find an all-of-the-above option.), I decided to take the leap and put a whole lot of trust in our local bike shop. I mean, it just makes sense to use what other locals like to use in the winter, right? After listening to Pete (the extremely patient and knowledgable local bike shop owner) explain the different options for studded snow tires, I agreed to get some Kenda Klondike XT snow tires on the new ride, and asked him to please order them before I changed my mind.

Riding in winter isn't new to me, so I've found myself somewhat surprised to be having this "Should I ride in winter?!" battle with myself. But of course, there is a big difference between me winter riding now versus when I was in my 20s:

I'm no longer riding solo.

What am I thinking? Putting this adorable precious child on the back of my bike in 20ยบ F temps in the heart of winter? A snapshot of my inner dialogue:
  • Teach your kid that weather doesn't have to determine our outdoor fun.
  • Teach your kid that bicycling is safe (when done correctly).
  • Teach your kid that we don't have to drive everywhere just because it's winter or we have a lot to bring along with us.
  • Be honest about what's important to you as an individual, and a mother.
On the flip side, I'm telling myself:
  • Don't wreck, or you'll never get her on the bike again.
  • Don't let her get cold and uncomfortable, or you'll never get her on the bike again.
  • Don't wreck, or you'll never get her on the bike again.
  • Is this safe? Why are you doing this? No really, why is bicycling so important?!
  • Don't wreck, or you'll never get her on the bike again.
You get the point. But seriously, I wouldn't be riding in the winter if I didn't feel like this was a safe choice for me and my kid. And I've been thinking and rethinking how to keep us both safe and comfortable, but especially how to keep my small passenger safe and comfortable during her first serious encounters with winter bicycling.

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