Winter weather no obstacle for some with the right gear
Cyclists all over the county have had trouble during the recent extended winter storms. Over 52 percent of students ride their bikes to school. Even in winter, this commute is important to many on the CU campus, and it has been a troublesome one in past weeks.
The only cyclist to ride the Nederland bus in recent low temperatures was stranded before he even left his driveway. Ryan Cheney, a Full Cycle employee, hopped on his bike for the commute to Boulder, only to find two popped tires. The weather stopped his ride.
Winter difficulties include terrible road conditions and chilling temperatures. However, setbacks have not stopped the Boulder residents who depend on biking for transportation.
“Boulder does a lot for bikers, plowing roads and keeping them in good condition,” said Peter Roper, transportation program manager for CU.
Other people have similar stories and advice to surviving winter-weather commutes.
“Fenders are a 100 percent trick,” Roper said.
Installed as a tire cover, fenders are a shield to protect the rider from the sludge on messy, snow-laden roads. Additional accessories for bike winterization are platform pedals and studded tires.
“Platform pedals allow you to ride in warm boots,” Cheney said.
Experts say dressing in layers is key. The layer next to skin should wick sweat. Over this, a layer of insulation, sealed with a wind-blocking piece of clothing, is necessary in winter months.
It is possible to stay warm and comfortable, but some people do not understand the need to bike in the winter.
“Winter riding is just not fun,” said Alex Frigon, a sophomore chemical engineering major.
Frigon, an avid biker during the periods when the roads are in good condition, does not ride much in the winter. The cold weather and maintaining his bike from salt and dirt deter him from commuting by bike.
To prevent the build-up of salt and dirt, a rag and small bottle of lubricant can take care of the the sand, mud and salt accumulation before it damages a bike.
The Web site Icebike calls itself home of the “Winter Cyclist And Other Crazy People.” The site provides safety tips for winter riding. It also has personal accounts of winter riders.
“The Web site has more info than just the obvious ‘be careful!’ and gives instructions on how to handle your bike on ice and snow,” said Tracy Calvin, transportation outreach coordinator for CU.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kathleen Straney at Kathleen.Straney@thecampuspress.com.