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
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
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.
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.
Learn Stuff – Winter Commuting »
Handbook – 2010 Light Finder »
3. Advocacy Update – Upcoming
National Bike Summit »
Supercommuter - Jason Lummis, Pinckney, MI »
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
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.
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
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.
you would like to nominate a Super Commuter, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
©2010 Planet Bike.