Saturday, January 26, 2019

Bike Blog Love - 7th Edition

It's that time of year when snowy, icy roads and paths keep my cycling to a minimum. But of course cycling is never far from my thoughts and is a perfect time to share my annual homage to bicycle bloggers. So, without further adieu, enjoy my collection - all new to me in 2018.

Florida by Bicycle
I identify with this couple, and while not yet retired myself, they downsized and moved to a simpler living situation and have learned that owning two bikes each is all they really need. Written from a female perspective, she's relearning to bike tour and camp all over again while setting off on solo journeys. Oddly, readers are unable to post comments. I would love to tell her how much I enjoy following along!

a new recyclist
An Australian cyclist who enjoys restoring vintage bikes. Blog posts are few and far between, but entirely worth the wait.

Bobbins, Bikes and Blades
Another Australian and avid cyclist, who also loves to sew and play accordion.

The Simplicity of Vintage Cycles
Follow this blog for classy restorations of beautiful vintage bikes.

Brenda and her husband are avid adventurers (admirably in their later years) who love to cycle camp in England. Brenda recently got an e-bike that has added dimension - and the ability to keep up with her husband - while maintaining distance to their sojourns.

Bicycle Kitty rides a pink bike! She loves group rides, distance, and stops for coffee. She lives near - if not in - Portland, Oregon. Check out her account of 2018 flat tires.

A busker who lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and commutes year-round. An infrequent blogger but, wow - what a collection of bikes!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Winter Cycling, a Challenge in Itself

There are different realms within winter cycling, whether it's challenging yourself to ride on snowy or only dry roads, ride at least once per month, or to be able to withstand a certain temperature. Throw in commuter cycling versus pleasure cycling and "winter cycling" covers a broad spectrum. Riding in 30 degrees in Washington DC could be very difficult for some while hearty Swedes might consider similar temperature as balmy spring riding weather. We all have different tolerances. Distances, temperatures, and lifestyles are a significant factor in whether winter cycling is doable.

Until recently I've been a fair weather winter transportation cyclist, riding only when dry roads prevail. However, something has undoubtedly changed and I've made a personal breakthrough. It wasn't one big decision, but rather a metamorphosis over the span of a couple months.

In November cold descended early upon Vermont. I struggled to complete the Coffeeneuring Challenge and pedaled on weekends in 20 degree cold aided by a thermos filled with a hot beverage.  Miraculously, I kept warm.

In December cold days prevailed, but I refused to give up weekend pleasure rides and kept at it, dressed warmly, and actually enjoyed sunshine and lake views. It was a revelation that cycling along the waterfront meant peaceful meanderings. Gone were the summer and fall crowds. Hello quiet sunsets and awesome clear air!

On New Year's Day I set out again, breathing in cool air and after stopping for a blazing sunset, popped on my lights and rode home through quiet neighborhoods.

And then, just last weekend during a cold snap I waited until mid-afternoon to get outside. The temperature had risen to 13 degrees. It would've been my first ski of the season on powder snow, and yet because it was faster to dress for bike rides, rather than switching sports and driving 2 miles to a nearby country club, I chose to spin wheels. The Burlington Greenway was sketchy, with packed snow and ice in places, but I prevailed. My feet grew chilled after a while; the remedy was jogging a bit, but that's probably my limit for pleasure rides.

Monday I rode to work in zero degrees or slightly below, depending on which weather source was accurate! I rode on snow covered paths then resorted to snow packed, gritty sidewalks with occasional bare spots. This would normally be beyond my comfort zone, but conditions were rideable and I didn't freak out, but instead slowed to a manageable speed. The downside of those conditions was that I had to clean a dirty drive train.

I don't know if I'll continue riding on weekends. I've pushed my limits - something I never expected - and broken a barrier, so only time will tell whether I will keep it up.