Photo courtesy of macfred64
In North America, we have a funny tendency to overcomplicate things. Companies search for any opportunity to increase their revenues: they invent new products, improve existing products, and they employ marketing techniques to make you feel like you can’t live without their products.
Last winter I posted an article “Pragmatism Eludes Politicians‘”. But it’s not just politicians who are eluded by pragmatism – it’s our entire society.
Winter bicycling is no exception. Companies face stiff competition – vying for your business to increase their market share – and there is no shortage of bicycle gear for winter riding.
Take for example this image of “winter cycling” provided by the City of Toronto:
Photo courtesy of the City of Toronto
“Pannier with change of clothes”, “reflective tape”, “goggles or sunglasses”. It is somewhat absurd to make winter bicycling look so overly complex. The character in the photo looks like he’s competing in the winter Olympics for ski jumping.
When people ask me for tips on winter bicycling, I have very simple advice: Wear what you would have worn if you were going to walk outside in the winter. If it’s wet, throw on some water-proof pants on top of your regular pants, and that’s it. It’s very simple.
Sure, there is the odd day in a typical Canadian winter when there might be too much snow on the ground to ride comfortably. Most people who ride in the winter are comfortable with taking a few days off a year when the roads haven’t yet been cleared.
Last year in Toronto there was only one or two days when riding was too challenging because of the snow. The year before, maybe 5 or 6.
Aside from snowstorms, riding in the winter is actually very comfortable. The pedaling warms you up quickly, and drivers seem to be extra cautious in colder weather. I actually often prefer riding in cooler weather than in the hot summer.