Cycling in the freezer

Every time I descend into my unheated basement to do laundry, I note the presence of my shiny hybrid bike over in the corner. Partly on the basis of a tumble early in the season, I have generally been of the opinion that winter cycling in Ottawa is simply too treacherous. Even on bright sunny days, cycling through Centretown is a big pain, likely to involve dangerous confrontations with drivers largely unaware of cyclists near them. In the winter, when bike paths go unplowed and unused, such interactions would necessarily be more frequent, as well as more perilous.

That said, there are some who brave the elements and endure as cycle commuters throughout the bitter winter. While I doubt I will ever acquire their level of commitment, I would consider getting studded tyres and other winter gear if it seemed highly likely that I was going to spend more than a few winters in these conditions.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “Cycling in the freezer”

  1. Winter Tips For Summer Bicycle Trips: Part 1
    by Andrew Posner, Rhode Island, USA on 01.23.08

    When winter closes in, all but the most ardent of cyclists pack their wheels away, and await the return of warmer days. Of course, winter is no reason to stop cycling for fun or recreation: we’ve provided tips on winter riding here, here and here. But even if you do continue riding, winter is an excellent time to start planning a summer bicycle trip. Given my own experience planning for, and undertaking, extended trips by bicycle, I thought I would offer a two-part series on how to plan for that trip you’ve always wanted to take.

  2. Don’t give up! Get a $55 studded front tire from MEC and get out there. Take the lane if it’s narrow. Yes, it needs more care, and some slow practice on rutted snow, but it is really easy. I feel more secure on my bike than walking on icy bumps.


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