It’s winter bike commuting, not the Olympics


The Detroit News recently had a Tom Greenwood column on winter commuting.

As the Free Press did this spring, the media made the mistake of asking an advanced cyclist about commuting when they should have asked someone a little more entry-level. Rather than make winter commuting approachable, they made it overly technical, very expensive, and time consuming.

The “first thing” is to get carbide studded tires? If the roads are so slick and icy that you might fall, most people will drive or take the bus. Besides those tires are very expensive which only deters newcomers.

Gore-Tex? No, not necessary. Most cyclists aren’t going to commute long distances and can wear cotton and a windbreaker/winter coat. Even blue jeans aren’t a bad choice on dry days.

Shoe covers? Why not just have flat pedals and wear normal winter boots. You don’t need to use cycling shoes. You don’t need to be clipped into pedals. It’s not a race.

In the end, it’s unclear whether this article is about winter bike commuting or selling bike-specific clothing and accessories.

Is it even remotely reasonable to expect those riding to the corner store or to the local coffee shop to switch into an expensive winter cycling-specific outfit? No, just jump on your bike (any bike) and ride.

This photo from Copenhagen is a nice contrast. That looks normal. We’re guessing she’s not running carbide studded tires. That doesn’t look like Gore-Text. Those fancy red boots don’t have shoe covers. Biking mittens? They look like winter gloves to me. Simple and effective.

And she’s not riding on the sidewalk.

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