Don’t Hang Your Bike Up Just Because It’s Fall

24 Sep

Let me depart from my usual product reviews for today so I can extol the virtues of year-round cycling. A few months ago every bike shop in the Upper Midwest was as busy as a Chicago “slip and fall” attorney the day after an ice storm. Back in the spring the bike trails were full of new cyclists on shiny bikes. By the middle of summer some of those bikes had been abandoned and some the of new cyclists became former cyclists. However, a lot of those newbies persevered, lost weight, gained muscle and are now in great shape. Unfortunately, at the first sign of cool weather many of these folks will hang their bike up for the next six months, gain back all the weight they lost and then start all over again next spring. Folks, it doesn’t have to be that way! There is absolutely no reason you can’t ride your bike outside all year long!

Ride your bicycle all year long

Improve Your Mood: Cycle All Year Long!

I live between Chicago and Milwaukee and during an average winter the temperature rarely drops below -10 degrees Fahrenheit (the record is -27 F). When people ask how I can possibly enjoy riding in such temperatures I tell them two things: First, some crazy folks up in Minnesota ride in temperatures below -40 degrees (or worse), so -10 degrees is actually not too bad. Second, the hardest part of riding in the winter is the first 500 feet after you leave your house.

Riding in the fall and winter does require an extra layer of clothing (or two), and because the days are shorter you will probably need a headlight and taillight as well. However, the advantages of cycling year-round far outweigh the disadvantages. First, you won’t gain back the weight you lost during the summer. Second, spending time outdoors will definitely improve your mood. Third, next spring you won’t have to reintroduce your butt to your bike saddle—they will already be old friends and get along well. Fourth, you will impress all your wimpy friends who spend winter inside and exercise with their training wheels, in mean, on their trainers. And last, you will never have to worry about overcrowding on the off-road trails.

If you are interested in becoming a year-round cyclist I would suggest you check-out some of the product reviews I’ve done for Spring and Fall Cycling, Winter Cycling, and Cycling In The Rain. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.


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29 responses to “Don’t Hang Your Bike Up Just Because It’s Fall

  1. billgncs

    September 24, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    trails less crowded, brisk air makes you feel alive, what’s not to love?

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 24, 2012 at 1:41 PM

      The best part: Those guys in the funny looking club jerseys will be in their basement on their trainers all winter.

  2. Joboo

    September 24, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    Right On!!!!
    Always a good idea to remind people the fall is some of the best riding you’ll do/have all year!!
    Then there are the crazy people (myself included), that’ll pedal right on through the cold months!! Hey, I live in northern Mn. during the “dark times” pedaling keeps me from killing people!!! ;)
    Pedal On!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Joboo, you are correct (again). If I couldn’t get out on my bike all winter I am certain I would die — but I’d be taking a few people with me. :)

  3. xcountrypearl

    September 24, 2012 at 12:06 PM

    Fall and winter: Too dark, too many hills, too much snow, shoulders used for snow plowing, icy roads, slushy roads and horrible drivers and temperatures to -20oC. Brrrrrr. I’ld rather ski. :)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 24, 2012 at 1:43 PM

      I used to do cross country skiing in the winter — but I think cycling on a Fat Bike is so much more fun.

  4. tri-grandma-try

    September 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    I always love an excuse to buy more cycling clothes… :-)) Layer up!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 24, 2012 at 1:44 PM

      It’s sad, but winter cycling clothes do cost a lot — but they are worth every penny!

      • Joboo

        September 24, 2012 at 3:23 PM

        This has been a point of contention between my much better 1/2 and I!!! The price of cold weather gear, and the new 45NRTH Wolvhammers is my next battle. :)
        I always hear, “it costs that much!!” I cleaned her reply up….. a lot!! ;) lol
        The I dicovered
        Lou is the Man!! Who makes awesome cold weather gear for almost ever cold weather activity, at a very very resonable price for made by hand clothes!
        I got his newest jacket last fall/early winter and for $120 bucks I think I got on hell of a good deal.
        Check out Foxwear, and two big thumbs up for the little guy!!!


      • All Seasons Cyclist

        September 24, 2012 at 3:28 PM

        Joboo, I’ve been to that Web site before (I think I saw it on your blog). Anyway, their clothing looks great and the prices look even better.

      • caribou05

        September 30, 2012 at 6:42 PM

        I disagree on the costs of clothing! Maybe it’s because I don’t use cycle-specific winter gear and just mix-match my hiking/skiing stuff once the weather gets cold. Now, if you don’t have a good winter coat for exercise, then a new one will set you back a little.

        Separately, I think I bike the least in the summer. It’s hot, too many people, and too many tourists on the trails (unless its raining!) Thank God for the cooler weather! Haven’t missed a day of commuting since I turned my AC off!

  5. bmhonline

    September 24, 2012 at 5:41 PM

    Other positives from cycling all year round I find are that you develop a stronger immune system and feel the cold less during the colder months (which is great for the winter fuel bills). A lot of people who complain about the winter weather here in the UK are the ones that stay indoors, looking out and convincing themselves that every grey day is a wet day… which really isn’t the case! I also find it helps combat my hayfever because I become accustomed to the changes in pollen gradually each day and each week, rather than inundating myself at the first sign of sunny weather.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 24, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      I agree entirely! Getting our in the cold builds the immune system (and does a pretty good job of improving mental health as well).

  6. Cherry

    September 24, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Happy to say “I ain’t packing up my bike ’til I see those darn white stuff falling from the sky!!” That’s the only hinder in my mind about winter …. not the cold, but the snow!!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 24, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      Cherry, the snow is where all the great fun is at! Cycling when you can actually see the pavement is so “Old School.”

      • Cherry

        September 24, 2012 at 6:06 PM

        haha that’s a laugh :D

  7. Jean

    September 25, 2012 at 6:38 PM

    Thinkin’ about tire studs. We’ll see. I rode 80% of time last winter in temp. as low as -25 degrees F here in Calgary whenever there wasn’t much ice/snow. It’s a feat for me. My partner got and used his stud tires as soon as snow flew. We do have a hardy core of all winter cyclists here…and we’re north of Chicago by several hundred miles.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 25, 2012 at 7:48 PM

      Jean — snow studs are great! If you get them make sure you go ahead and stainless steel studs — the are a bit more expensive, but the regular steel studs rust rather quickly. I’ve never been to Calgary, but the photos I’ve seen are awesome!

  8. Kanerva

    September 27, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    It’s all about the gear!

    Snow and ice are the real killers here (Finland), short days, maximum 6 hours daylight, not necessarily sunlight mind you! So many people ride year round that bike paths get as much attention as regular streets (ploughed, gravel) and there is also a kilometres competition for the winter riders.

    I’ve just started added extra layers to my gear and started wearing a buff under my helmet (highly recommended for cold mornings!).

    Last year the south didn’t get snow until the new year, and it was maybe mid April before the paths started being snow free (gravel takes a while longer to be cleared away!). We get plenty of snow practice.

    Interesting blog by the way, now to do a little more exploring :)

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM

      We also had a major lack of good snow last winter — it really killed those of us who bought shiny new Fat Bikes last fall and seldom got to play with them in deep snow. Let’s pray for better luck this year!

      • Kanerva

        September 28, 2012 at 7:27 AM

        I saw your Fat Bike. Very, very nice. I have an old Jamis for winter riding. Solid, and nice to ride!

  9. ultraswimfast

    September 27, 2012 at 9:01 AM

    As an Alaskan who went to school in Evanston, I agree with your comment regarding no bad weather, just bad clothing. I’m also impressed with your ability to bike year round!

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      September 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM

      I would LOVE to take my Surly Pugsley Necromancer up to Alaska for a few weeks during the winter!

  10. under the skies of arkansas

    September 30, 2012 at 4:58 AM

    i find i have to steer the bike with the front forks instead of leaning in the winter

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 1, 2012 at 12:09 AM

      Yep – leaning into a turn in the winter can leave you eating a bit of snow and ice.

  11. simonnurse

    October 4, 2012 at 4:25 AM

    I’m a year round cyclist too, though in a wet and windy Wales, we can’t match those sub-zero temperatures! My favourite time of year involves a little snow (by your standards at least), empty roads and a solitary, slippery ride. Now that snow is a more regular feature in these parts (3 years on the trot) I’ll have to get some ice tyres to cap off the experience fully.

    • All Seasons Cyclist

      October 4, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Steel studded snow tires really make a difference on the snow and ice. The only danger is that sometimes you can get going so fast that you forget it still takes longer to stop on the ice.

  12. rockstarobert

    October 9, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    Reblogged this on theboymeetsgirl.


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