1. Learn Stuff – Riding By a Woods on a Snowy Eve

We all know the benefits and joys of commuting by bike. It’s particularly pleasant on a lovely bluebird spring day. But how good can it really be in the dark, snow-choked days of February when a cyclist has to share the road with Jack Frost and Dinosaur-sized snowplows? The truth is, it can be really enjoyable and comfortable if you give it a little thought and preparation.

The amount of information relating to winter-specific cycling gear can be overwhelming. In fact, we could write a book on the subject so we’re going to share our thoughts on the hardest part about commuting by bicycle when the mercury plummets – the prevention of black toes.

They say if you layer properly and keep the core of your body warm, you’ll help keep your extremities warm. Still, you will have those dangerously cold days when your eyelids freeze shut and the icicles dangling from nose could be compared to those on the eaves of the church up the street. So whether you’re the commuter who’s setup with the latest gear or the one in the bulky winter parka, there is a solution for everyone. Companies like Lake, Pearl Izumi, Northwave, and Sidi offer full-coverage winter cycling shoes which are the preferred method if you ride clipless pedals. However, they will only help, not prevent, you from an uncomfortable toe freeze-thaw. If you do decide to go the route of a winter cycling boot, it is wise to size up a half or full size so that you leave enough room for different combinations of wool socks and even chemical feet warmers. You can get wool socks at any department store but we really like the variety offered by Smartwool.

Winter-specific cycling boots do help to keep your toes warm but they risk burning a hole through your wallet and range anywhere from $150 to $275. Therefore, if you have flat pedals, the sturdy pair of hiking boots you have in your closet will work well. If you feel that a flat pedal doesn’t reap the benefit of a full 360-degree pedal rotation you can always get toe straps. Power Grips makes a reasonably priced and sturdy pedal strap that will allow you to use hiking boots. If you’re still debating cycling boots vs. hiking boots you can read “The Shoes Ruse” on Rivendell’s website.

Ultimately, you have to figure out what works best for you and factor in things like the length of your commute and temperature. Keeping a ride journal allows you to reflect on the gear you used in particular weather conditions as well as what worked and what didn’t.

Do not be intimidated by commuting in the winter. With the proper foot gear you can ride comfortably on the coldest days. Following these tips will push you through the winter and before you know it the warm sun will be shining and you’ll be itching for a cool late fall day.

1. Learn Stuff – Winter Commuting »

2. Accessory Handbook – 2010 Light Finder »

3. Advocacy Update – Upcoming National Bike Summit »

4. Supercommuter - Jason Lummis, Pinckney, MI »

 

 

25 to advocacy

blaze 2w

2. Accessory Handbook – 2010 Light Finder


Sometimes you need a light to see the lay of the land and sometimes you need a light to be seen. Use our 2010 Light Finder to pick a light and we'll show you the view.

summit

3. Advocacy Update – Upcoming National Bike Summit

Planet Bike is proud to hail from Madison, WI. The people of Wisconsin have a reputation for being mild-mannered Midwestern dairy farmers with a penchant for cheese hats, beer and brats. It’s all true. But we are also a bicycling powerhouse. A new study by the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison found that bicycling contributes $1.5 billion to Wisconsin's economy every year. This is more than deer hunting ($926 million) and snowmobiling (just under $250 million) combined. This comes to over 13,000 bike-related Wisconsin jobs, from tourism to manufacturing. For more details, click here.

As a state, we’ll be practicing our commitment to bicycling at the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC, March 9-11. While Wisconsin ranks 20th in population, we rank 5th in the number of delegates we send to the Summit each year. Planet Bike is again sponsoring the Summit, where over 700 grassroots bike advocates and bicycle industry leaders will map our national agenda and meet with members of Congress. Our meetings with House and Senate members will touch on the jobs bill (to designate money for sustainable transportation, which includes walking and biking), Complete Streets legislation, and the Active Community Transportation Act (to provide 40 communities with $50 million each to invest in walking and biking).

The Summit will also include a day of seminars and workshops. Planet Bike’s Director of Advocacy Jay Ferm will moderate a panel discussion titled “Broadening the Movement: Lessons Learned Reaching Out to Communities of Color.” We’re bringing together advocates from around the U.S. to discuss why communities of color are underrepresented in the bike movement, as both riders and advocates.

We know many of our customers share our belief that bikes are one of the solutions to the problems of our times. Many thanks to all of you for helping us do this work. It wouldn’t happen without you. To learn more about our advocacy work, click here.

billy knudson

4. Supercommuter - Jason Lummis, Pinckney, MI


A super commuter rides through every season, in all types of weather, day and night. Choosing the simplicity, health and pleasure of bicycling, a super commuter simply prefers to ride a bike to the grocery store, to work, to a concert or the cafe. Planet Bike’s winter Super Commuter is thirty-nine year old Jason Lummis who embodies the very essence of a super commuter.

A long time resident of Pinckney, MI, Jason commutes year round to his job at Great Lakes Cycling and Fitness in neighboring Ann Arbor. He averages 45 miles round trip, half of those miles being ridden after work in the darkness of night. The rolling hills and modest plowing of the rural roads make for an interesting winter commute. The scenery can’t be beat though as Jason travels past the Pinckney State Recreation Area daily.

Jason was hooked on two wheel riding at a young age. In his teen years, he latched onto a bmx bike and an 80cc dirt bike. He eventually fell for mountain biking, becoming an avid racer in the Midwest. Jason routinely finishes on the podium in cross country and 100 mile ultra-endurance races throughout the Great Lakes region.

A good portion of Jason’s life revolves around bikes. He works in a bike shop, rides 10,000 miles a year, and races on the weekends. When he is not working or riding, he is still promoting cycling. He’s an IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) member who helps maintain local mountain bike trails in the Ann Arbor area. Jason also manages the Bells Beer/Quiring Cycles mountain bike team, one of the fastest (and friendliest) mountain bike teams in the Midwest.

According to Jason, the toughest part about such a long daily commute is “the extra time I spend away from my family.” Jason counters this extra time by substituting his commute as race training. This savvy substitution allows Jason, his wife, three year old son and two dogs the time they need to go camping, hiking, or canoeing in the beautiful Michigan wilderness.

With such a long commute, Jason has dialed in the equipment it takes to be comfortable in all conditions. His custom Quiring Cycles steel 29er is the perfect rig for the job. Jason prefers the simplicity and low maintenance of a single speed drivetrain for the winter and a 1 x 9 for the summer. He also makes note of clothing choices for different conditions in a journal so he’s always sure to be properly dressed.

If you would like to nominate a Super Commuter, please contact us at info@planetbike.com.