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!
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.