Posted by: emilybybike | February 7, 2011

The Challenge of Winter

It’s February now. February 7th to be exact and the amount I’ve been able to go by bike this winter has been disappointing. Maybe I need more motivation, maybe I need to be more tough, but it has not proven to be the most commuter-friendly of winters.

I was back on the bike today at least, bundled up as usual and for the first 10-15 minutes wondering why on earth I was outside freezing and still dodging remnants of our snowstorm from a few weeks back on the path. I guess even the few sunny days in the mid-40s we’ve had recently haven’t been enough to make the path completely ice-free, but at least today it was passable…well…mostly…

Ice and snow still cover parts of the Custis Trail in Arlington

… well mostly…but I didn’t let a little snow and ice turn me back, and luckily aside from a few patches of ice near the edges, the trails were pretty clear. I did notice a drastic reduction in the number of cyclists and joggers out on the trails this morning, however. I guess the weather has forced most people inside until things really start to warm up.

Winter’s a challenge, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s been a lot harder than I anticipated to go by bike this winter. If it’s not freeze-your-nose-off cold out, we’ve got freezing rain, ice or snow blocking the trails and making it unsafe for cycling. And then of course there’s the dark. True, I have my lights, but at the same time, I still don’t like to be out on city streets too long in the dark by myself. It’s not an “I’m scared” issue – I just realize that as a young woman, sometimes, even on a bike with lights, it’s probably not the safest thing to be out alone at night. Riding in the winter also takes more time – when I suit up with all my layers, it will take me 5-10 minutes to get everything on and adjusted properly so I’m ready to ride and stay warm. Not quite the same as throwing on a t-shirt, shorts and rolling out. But no one ever said a challenge would be easy, and it’s definitely been a learning experience in seeing what I’m made of and what it takes to go by bike more often than not. The winter’s been hard, and I’m hoping it gets better, because the one thing that doesn’t change, no matter what the weather, is the smile on my face I get every time I ride my bike!

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