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.