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Did You Know?

Roughly every three days, one person biking or walking is killed by someone driving a car in the Chicago region.

Winter Schminter

From our Advocacy Director, Sherry Daun: I felt betrayed by Mother Nature when this early cold snap settled upon the Chicagoland region.  I wanted more of the crisp coolness of autumn before transitioning into the freezing temperatures of winter.  Alas, I had to deal with the chilly hand I was dealt.  I cracked open my arsenal of leg warmers, mittens and wool for the commute to and from work.  I biked past pedestrians walking quickly, and mobs of people huddled while waiting for their bus.   My mind was dark with the thought of the long winter ahead of all of us.

Then I realized something strangely uplifting:  this is it – this is ‘normal’ Winter Weather.  Sure, there will be sloppy, slushy days during and after a snowstorm, and there also will be a stretch of single-digit temperature days, when hands and feet refuse to stay warm.  But truthfully, this week’s weather represents the bulk of winter biking.  For those who think biking through the winter is a Herculean (or crazy) adventure to undertake — if you stayed in the saddle this week, then you can probably make it through winter. 

There are people who love to ride on snowy roads and trails, but I am not one of them.  I don’t like the possibility of falling, nor the fear that an out-of-control-car could careen into me.  However, I usually still ride in even the snowiest of weather because biking is still my best option.  Snow tangles the roads for both cars and buses, and while on my bike I can generate my own heat and make steady progress towards my destination.  But on most winter days the roads are clear and the temperatures are reasonable.  

To learn more about winter biking, check out www.bikewinter.org.  There are two upcoming workshops to help teach the tricks to riding in the winter coming up.  Winter Bicycling Tricks & Tips takes place at 750 S Halsted this Sunday Nov. 23 at 3-5:00pm, and BikeWinter Basics  happens next Wednesday at West Town Bikes 2418 W North Ave from 7-10:00pm.   This type of workshop was very valuable to me back when I was a “newbie” to biking during the winter.  Check them out if you want to try to brave the winter on two wheels.