It’s freezing outside, so naturally I’d like to talk about bikes :). We have reasons to celebrate the humble bicycle, what with our massive new, secure bike parking space … which now has a name! More on that later.
You may be forgiven for not immediately thinking about cycling in this midst of this cold snap. We’d like to assure you that winter cycling can be amazing, invigorating, plus heart-healthy and climate-friendly … provided we all take a few steps (or pedals):
- check the weather before you go so you can prepare appropriately. If it’s a blizzard, you may choose an alternate form of transportation
- layer your clothes, and be ready to shed a layer or open a zip to vent. You can actually get too sweaty, even in the cold. A shell plus a liner is more flexible than a thicker jacket
- choose your fabrics wisely (and dryly). Wool or synthetics are better than cotton to wick away sweat
- wet day? add a rain jacket and rain pants
- protect the frostbite zones like your hands and face, particularly your fingers, nose, ears. Upside of masks? They don’t just prevent the spread of COVID-19, they also keep your face warm
- wear mitts or special handle-bar mitts when really cold, though gloves are fine for moderate cold
- wear a thin hat that fits under your helmet. Balaclavas or gaiters work too
- wear winter boots beat the chill and the slush
- use lots of lights and reflectors, and wear bright colours. You want motorists to see you, especially on dark days. An easy 2-for-1 special is to wear a bright helmet and mitts … drivers will see you and notice your hand signals.
As for the new name for this sweet bike parking spot, we turned to you, our lovely readers and members of the BUG (Bicycle User Group). We had lots of suggestions: Biker’s Paradise, Healthcare Heroes Hall, Cyclepath Lodge, BS@UHN (Bike Storage at UHN), Bike to the Future, and of course, Bikey McBikeface. But the top 3 choices, according to your votes, went to:
- Bike Palace
- Pedal Park
and in first place, by a narrow margin, the new name is …
- Bike Vault
That title says it all … it’s safe, secure, indoors, and a place to put your bike, of course.
To help you use it now, our friends at Cycle Toronto have lots more advice for cycling in winter. I particularly like this video that shows the pros and cons that all bike commuters face: do you dress for the destination (work clothes), or dress for the journey (athletic clothes)? A lot depends on your circumstances and whether you have a place to shower and change.
If you’d rather wait till spring to take out the bike, there’s always the simplicity of going for a walk. Whether brisk or dawdling, here’s the best winter walking tip from our penguin friends (no, really, penguins know what they’re doing).
Keep your knees loose. Extend your arms to the side for balance. Take smaller steps. Wear good gloves or mitts and don’t put hands in your pockets … pockets are hand traps, preventing them for helping you balance or catch your fall. The best thing to keep in your pocket is your phone (keeps the zombies away). Eyes on the prize, and enjoy moving it, whatever way you fancy.