There is a panoply of excuses we can choose from when wimping out of cold weather riding. Some of them have more validity than others—but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be overcome. I’d like to address a couple of physical limitations that can be good reasons to bow out of a cold ride, but that don’t necessarily need to stop you, especially in their milder forms.
Asthma and Raynauds are two such ailments that affect many cyclists, but become even more of an issue in the cold.Tweet
To paraphrase a famous Army cadence:
“I wanna be an Blackburn ranger / I wanna live the life of adventure”
Sponsorships for the non-racers out there can be rare. Blackburn is stepping up into that gap and offering support to the adventures out there with the Ranger brand ambassador program.
The main criteria for Ranger-hood is a commitment to ride either the Pacific Coast bicycle route or the Great Divide mountain bike route. Of course, Rangers will be responsible to share their adventures via the various social media platforms. In return Blackburn will outfit Rangers with Blackburn gear (including prototypes!) and a small travel stipend to help defray the cost of your adventurous undertaking.
Also in the perks category: Ranger Camp at the Whiskey Off-Road in Prescott, Arizona, paid for by Blackburn. I don’t know about you, but I’d be down with missing out on some spring showers to hang out in Arizona April 25-27. The application process involves submitting a short essay, a few photographs and uploading a short video to YouTube. Best get busy!Tweet
We’ve already covered a lot about proper cold weather riding gear (like jackets and footwear) for the high latitude areas where the dropping mercury effects our kit choices. But what about when your face starts leaking on those frigid morning commutes?
No worries friends, I got your back. What I’ve begun to understand is that there is a constant battle to arrive at your destination without strange excrement frozen to your face.Tweet
The Arrowhead Ultra 135, the coldest bike race in the Lower 48, begins one week from today in International Falls, Minnesota. Traversing the 135-mile Arrowhead Trail, it promises promises near-Arctic conditions and nearly always delivers. To finish, let alone win, is a triumph of man and machine over nature. Salsa Cycles‘ Mike “Kid” Riemer has put together this wonderful tribute to an event that is close to his heart.Tweet
Jeff Commissaris is an author, musician and world traveler who has ridden his touring bike all over the world. He sent us this excerpt from his book “Travel on Two Wheels” documenting his adventures through the United States and Europe.
I handed the officer my passport, where he took it back to the police car for computer examination. A few minutes later, the officers came back and they told me that I could not ride on the highway anymore and I had to take a detour. I would have not ridden on the road if it had not been the only choice available and the one that the nice Swedish couple had recommended to me. From head to toe, I was drenched with a thick rain.
“Where are you riding to?,” one of them asked.
“Paris,” I told him.
They pointed me to a trail just off the highway that seemed to just run around in circles. “You can ride there,” they told me. “This might take you to Paris.”
They handed me back my passport after making it clear that I couldn’t ride on this particular road anymore and drove off. An hour later, I realized that the trail was definitely not going to take me to Paris and I was more or less riding around in circles. Also, the weather situation showed no signs of turning for the better, still. The highway seemed like the only way to get there, but it wasn’t an option anymore.
I took shelter in an abandoned barn for a few minutes. There was a huge hole in the top of the roof, and all around me the skies were grey, lighting streaked in the distance.
An hour or so later, the sun finally decided to peak out fromt eh clouds a bit. I started riding through the farmland into the city area. The small villages in northern France were like ghost towns; I rode past empty parks and houses stood still with often times no trace of life whatsoever. It was like time was at a stand still. One could only assume that the people were indoors spending time with their families on this dreary Sunday day.
I stopped at a boulangeries (French pastry shop) and got some bread. I started talking to the store owner and he told me that he was also a lawyer but had opened the store so that he could “create jobs for his family.” After buying a few pieces of bread, he added a few extras and said,” These are for you my friend. I wish you safe travels and welcome to France!”
It wasn’t too long until I ran into a German guy who was bicycle touring for a week through the French country side. He was taking a week vacation off his job to fullfill his dream of cycling France. He was upbeat, and he spoke English well—much better than my lack of German. I made an executive decision and decided to purchase a train ticket to make it to Parist and bypass some of the bad weather.
So the German guy and I rode about five miles into the central area of Donkurque together, passing by parks and businesses that the locals would call “home.” That’s one of the great things about cycle touring—you can meet up with another bicyclist and immediately make a connection based on the simple passion of biking. We both enjoyed our ride together, and after the ride he headed off towards the direction of the campsite he was staying at that night.
I opted for the five-star stay underneath a bridge along the river. I woke up around nine o’ clock, bought some local food and was well on my way to Paris.
So maybe riding around in the winter doesn’t appeal to you, or you find yourself with a limited amount of time each day to ride or you want to put in some focused training to gear up for a big ride in addition to an outdoor training regimen. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided that getting on the trainer is a good idea. I can sympathize.
Here I’ve outlined some things that help me get on the trainer, maybe they’ll help you too.Tweet
At the Women’s Cycling Forum that was part of the National Bike Summit last March, many of us were introduced to a founder of a movement that is helping to fill a crucial gap in cycling: Veronica O. Davis of Black Women Bike. Davis and two friends started the group as a local organization in Washington, D.C., and are building the foundation to take it to the national level. Davis’ efforts are a natural outgrowth of her professional life in civil engineering, which she believes involves “using transportation as a tool to positively affect people’s lives.”Tweet
As we continue to work our way up the body, I’m going to cover the ins and outs of keeping your torso toasty.
You knew that already didn’t you?
I’ll cover two different systems that work well for me into the low twenties.Tweet
To celebrate the beauty and spirit of bicycle travel, the Adventure Cycling Association invites you to submit your best bicycle-touring videos to the second annual Bicycle Travel Video Contest on Vimeo. Submissions are welcome from now through June 30.Tweet
In this installment of our cold weather riding series I’ll be moving up the body to talk about keeping one’s legs warm and comfortable as the mercury falls. The legs are an often-overlooked aspect of cool weather cycling considering they are our primary source of power. Keeping your knees warm is paramount to preventing unnecessary wear and tear of the joint, while keeping your muscles warm will help to prevent strains and pulled muscles, as well as torn ligaments. Sure, you can allow your legs to be chilly without your entire body feeling terribly cold, but it is far from a good idea.Tweet
Since bicycles began, people have been modifying them, improving them or just making them more interesting. After all, the “safety bicycle” we know of today was quite an oddity when it first took to the streets.
In its December 27, 1948 issue, Life Magazine featured a collection of curious contraptions built by the Chicago chapter of the National Bicycle Dealers’ Association. See the gallery here.
If you’re like me, you probably have a pile of old bike jerseys in your closet that you don’t know what to do with. Some don’t fit, some are ugly, some just smell…
Anyway, BaileyWorks had a customer ask about building around one of his old jerseys and it came out so well that they’re offering the service to everyone. They even used the jersey’s back pockets as exterior pockets on the bag!
Here’s one they did with Independent Fabrication.
In this installment of winter riding and how to enjoy it, or at least survive, I’m focusing on the all-important toes and feet. Keeping this area of the body warm and dry when the temperature drops below freezing can be a struggle. With the proper footwear though, a trail ride or commute to work can be as easy as slipping on a pair of socks.
As with any cold weather riding gear, the layers used should first block the wind, then provide warmth, while managing perspiration. The climate you live in will dictate the footwear and layers used, but here in the north a full range of options is beneficial for the fall and winter months and the huge weather changes experienced from day to day, or even from morning to night. Where you ride is also a factor, but I use the same footwear for both commuting and mountain biking.Tweet
What began as a spontaneous idea soon became a trip into the unknown. A grand journey of trusting your given abilities, both physically and mentally. The final Episode ties the knot around the adventure and most important: The story of Erik and Recep riding the shit out of their bikes to Istanbul.Tweet
Cycling is about tradition, not sponsorships. Let’s not screw that up.
Learn more at superissimo.com.Tweet
When the temperature drops and daylight wanes, many riders confine themselves to an indoor trainer or hang up their bikes altogether for the winter months. True, winter riding presents unique challenges, but it also reaps great rewards. Aside from the physical benefits of riding all year long, winter riding opens up a world of opportunities for adventure, fun, and natural beauty.Tweet
François Roland and Antoine Hotermans built this bike-be-que for catering bike events, alleycats and the like in Brussels, Belgium.
See more via CycleEXIF.Tweet
A short film by Chris McCoy and Adam NeustadterTweet
Episode 2 of the documentary film about two riders’ trek along the Transcontinental race from London to Istanbul. After realizing riding at race pace wasn’t much fun, the pair decide to take their time and enjoy themselves.Tweet