Now that the first pitch has been tossed, 30DaysofBiking is well under way, liberal solicitors are blanketing south Minneapolis neighborhoods, and pastry shops are jumping the gun by serving rhubarb treats it is time to do a review of the winter biking season.
1. The Bike. This year I dedicated the Breezer as a winter biking only bike. This decision worked out well. Last weekend I simply took the bike (studded tires and all) and placed it in the basement till it snows again. However, due to climate change the snow is not like the snow of yore. Several times I had a presbyterian of a time navigating the wet chunky snow. Despite low pressure tires with studs I could barely remain upright. So I may be in the fat tire bike market.
I am having a difficult time even thinking about purchasing a fat tire bike. Why? Shortly after moving to Minneapolis the kiddos and I were walking around the lake when some jackass on a fat tire bike came rumbling through. The dude was drunk and zigzagging all over the path and cursing at everyone within 10 feet of him. That was the first time I had ever seen a fat tire bike, never mind someone riding one. So forever in my mind, even though since that experience I've met many kind hearted compassionate souls who ride fat tire bikes, every time I see someone on a fat tire bike I have a difficult time not saying, "shut up jack ass."
2. Gear. Three big advances this year.
1. An Endura jacket (one with a built in light on the back). This jacket was (and is) amazing. One person told me that it was so bright I looked like I was on fire. Yeah, it's bright. And it is Scottish made so the zipper is on the opposite side.
2. A Buff. I was skeptical of anything called a buff, but this sleeve shirt looking thing is quite amazing as well. Thanks to the good folk over at The Road Less Pedaled for this recommendation. Then finally 3. A fleece lined beanie. Again I was skeptical of anything that resembles a condom but I was quite surprised. A gentleman over at The Hub recommended a beanie + a ear band + the Buff as three layers for winter biking. Yeah, it worked amazing. Because I had three layers I could adjust due to the temperature/wind.
3. The 46th St. Station. I was surprised how much I used this station this winter. Several times I biked over to the station then put my bike either on the bus or the light rail to get me to where I needed to go.