Report from the cold front: Dispatch 1

It's been a while since my last post due to a Thanksgiving family trip and some other events, but I'm still out here and riding. We have entered the weather of winter and begun the season of many holidays. This will be my first serious winter biking season, so I will be reporting on my experience and what I am learning along the way.

I'm not alone out here. Throughout my regular rides, to work, errands, and adventures, there are plenty of bike riders still out and about by bike as transport. The brave frost bikers are out due to necessity or desire or both. So keep an eye out for us if you are sharing the street, and please don't bury our locking locations in snow banks.

Snow makes things interesting on a bike, but it's about the same, relatively, as snow with cars. As always, regardless of season, I find it necessary to watch my tire paths for all sort of "wheel-throwing" obstacles. Overall Elgin, does a good job with snow removal for the streets and it makes it pretty easy to keep riding.

Things freeze on bikes. We store our bikes inside our house (on a pretty extensive set of rubber backed mats). Getting the bikes clean and dry is important for the life and health of the bike. It's also nice to not have a wet or frozen on the first touch of the bike in the morning. My biggest challenge so far in this department is a brake line that has started freezing (in the lock position). I am doing research on how to clear the moisture from the line, but in the mean time it makes for some tough pedaling when it decides to freeze until I pull over and reset the brake.

Wear more clothes and keep pedaling. There have been some pretty cold days already and there are more in just the next few. The very act of pedaling a bike helps keep my core and leg temperatures pretty warm, but I am finding ways to cover every bit of skin and usually with lots of layers. At a minimum, I try to have one good layer for insulation and then a good layer of wind protection. Occasionally, some clothing integrates these functions, but the colder it gets the more layers I like. Combined they make it far more comfortable to be out and riding.

Until my next post, here is a resource from some more experienced winter bike riders in Chicagoland, Bike Winter.
Biking home the 8 ft tree from Windy Hill Christmas Tree Farm at Ziegler's Ace.

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