Monday, November 24, 2008

Off-Season Bicycling

Are you noticing fewer cyclists on the road, now that the weather is cooler and the days shorter? (And now that gas isn't $4/gallon?) I suspect a majority of the fair-weather riders have hung it up until the glorious days of late spring are once again upon us. And that's their choice.

Dana Lucas had an awesome letter in the Idaho Statesman yesterday:

This summer, I saw a lot of bicycles on the Greenbelt. Way to go, Boiseans! You reduced smog, got some exercise, and most importantly, saved gas money and thumbed your noses at rapacious oil companies. The best way to tell them that you're unhappy with being overcharged for gasoline is to stop using it.

However, now that fall has arrived and it's getting colder outside, the number of bicycle commuters is declining rapidly. This is alarming - increasing winter gasoline will likely halt the slide of gasoline prices, which will make it very difficult for a lot of us to heat our homes this winter. I would like to see oil company executives to get hit in the wallet this winter, not us.

To this end, I urge all of you to continue biking this winter! Gloves, a windbreaker, a hat, bike lights and a helmet can all be had for the price of a couple of gallons of gas, and will enable you to extend your biking season considerably. (Be safe - leave your cell phone and iPod in your backpack, and follow traffic safety rules.) Protect your community and your wallets, Boise, and keep pedaling!

The only thing I would add is - when the temperatures are below freezing, watch for all forms of slippery stuff on the roadway surface. Cyclists are more vulnerable to of hazards than the people who are stuck in their steel cocoons ("cages," as bikers like to call 'em). Small price to pay. But those hazards can be dealt with as long as there is awareness and proper caution.


Anonymous said...

There are definitely fewer of us out there right now.

Good to see the encouragement to continue cycling, but I think that the letter writer's estimate of the cost of the needed equipment is a bit low. Even so, any investment in cycling equipment would quickly pay for itself.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we need community-education classes available to teach people how to bike in the winter. It's so easy, but I think most people think it's crazy and/or difficult.

db said...

Ssssshhhhhh, I'm enjoying my "alone time".

Anonymous said...

In a society that values comfort and convenience it shouldn't surprise us that an activity which seems to lack in both is only practiced by a few.

Bikeboy said...

bob t - maybe the letter was written back when gas was still $4.

Michael Carpenter said...

This is the latest into the winter that I've ever commuted by bike and at least one other cyclist is also going year-round. (It remains to be seen if I'll make it much longer.)

It is hard to gauge -- yes, there are fewer of us out there in the dark, but I see at least one other bike every morning and every evening.

Clancy said...

They are mostly gone on my route. I think it is the cold that gets most of them rather than the dark.

Danielo- There was a class last week at the Collister library. I guess it was put on by the Treasure Valley Cycling Assoc. I found out too late and had other things to do.

As for year around cycling, my motto is "No Excuses".

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