10 January 2013

When Is It Too Cold To Ride?

Isn't it too cold for you to ride?

How many times have you heard that?  It seems that even in the mildest of winters--like the one we had last year--someone asks that question whenever I'm on my bike, or look as if I've been on it.

What I find interesting is that some of the cities with the largest contingents of year-round cyclists--and the best infrastructures for cycling--experience more intense cold and get much more snow than New York ever has. Such a city is Montreal, where a cyclist took a video of the winter commute I posted last week. 

Other such cities include Oulu, Finland and Umea (Sorry, I couldn't get the little circle over the "a" !) in Sweden, where the weather doesn't seem to deter these cyclists:

From Copenhagenize

Don't you just love the light in that photo?  '

We haven't had any snow in these parts, so I have to content myself with views like these when I start my commute home:


  1. I agree with you, other places in the World have it much worse! So far this year I don't think it has been too cold to ride. It's been pretty darn cold on some days, especially at night, but if you bundle up and dress right, you're feeling good!

  2. I think I'm good down to -2F; the lowest North Texas temperature since 1900. Below that, I suspect I'd consider taking a vacation day and relaxing in front of the fireplace.

  3. Ezra, Steve and Dan--One morning, I rode to work when the temperature was -8F. To my knowledge,that is the coldest commute I've ever taken.

    That morning, I had two shots of brandy before I got on the bike, and I also added some to my Thermos of coffee.

    I don't know whether I'd do it today. It was about thirty years ago, long before I started taking estrogen and a testosterone blocker. I think I could endure more cold in those days than I can now.

    I have respect for anyone who rides to work when he or she could have chosen not to do so.