Tag Archive for: bicycling in maine

biking snowy streets

Navigating Snowy Streets

When I began commuting to work by bike 15 years ago in Maine, I didn’t intend to ride through the winter. It wasn’t until about mid-February of that year that I realized: Hey! I’m still riding! Maybe I really will go all winter. And I did!

Not that it’s always easy. There’s a lot to get used to. Dressing for the weather takes practice, and a lot of experimentation.

One bad experience early on found me not well prepared for single-digit temperatures. My commute is five miles one way. About a mile down the road, both the bike cables and my body started to freeze. I turned around. By the time I got back home, I stumbled shivering through the door and onto the couch, where my wonderful wife brought blankets and served me hot tea until I got warm again. Then I drove the car to work. Oh well.

My colleague Josh Stevens in Michigan wrote a great column last November which covers the basics of winter commuting very well, especially clothing, lights, and tires, so I need not re-invent those wheels here. You may also be interested in an article I wrote here a few years ago about Staying Safe in the Snow, in response to concerns I heard from my co-workers during a particularly snowy month.

For this post, I want to share some miscellaneous thoughts about navigating in snowy weather. It was prompted by this scene I captured last December while biking to a holiday choral event, a day or so after a snowstorm: