Winter Cycle Commuting | It Might Be Grim, But It’s Not All Bad

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Hannah peers into the driving rain of the daily commute and sees sunshine and spring at the other end.

The worse the weather the better. Giant puddles, torrents from the sky and the valley sides. I’ll even go for a bit of snow, sleet if I have to. What I need are traffic-slowing conditions. Leaves on the line. The kind of bad weather that makes driving (more) unpleasant, that blocks roads and railways, and leads to transport disruption. These are the perfect conditions for a bike commute.

commuting by bike in winter
If you’re lucky, your commute might be this nice.

The rest of this article is for subscribers only.

Chipps is firmly of the view that he wants nice weather only, please. What do you think? Is Hannah right? Or completely crackers?


Comments (9)

    I was just thinking of this on the way to work. I looked out the window in the morning to see not quite torrential rain lit up by the streetlights in complete darkness, and asked myself if it was really worth it. Ten minutes into the commute, warmed up and wet thorough, it was obvious that it is. It’s the freedom from timetables and the stress of ‘will I make it?’ that decides it for me. And the wonder of blasting through puddles at 30 km/h by the virtue of the simple act of rotating my feet around.

    Then I got a flat.

    I´ve been a bit like that since I was a kid. Loved to go out to run naked in the rain when it was really pouring. And when it was the record breaking rainfall a couple years ago, I just had to go out for a ride. Never been quite that wet…

    Same goes for commuting. The worse the weather, the more you have the bike ways all to yourself 🙂
    I have done the 12 km each way commute in -32 C with more than 20 cm snowfall a few times ….

    Do not have a shower at work, but there is the cabin for pressure washing bikes, so if it is really dirty I just hose down the bike and my rain gear.

    37 years cycle commuting. just love it.

    Never understood the rain stops play mentality as there is so much good kit out there. Jury is out on the increased chance of death by car driver. On the one hand they are cocooned in warmth and even more grumpy than normal plus they can’t see out of the fogged up tank they are driving but on the other I have the wattage of a small sun flashing in their face…
    Only thing that stops me cycle commuting every day of the working year is having to taxi kids around – something that could be solved by child friendly cycle infrastructure or simply moving to Holland

    I don’t mind the weather it’s idiots driving thru puddles and drown you. !.

    I love commuting in bad weather. Well, since I discovered waterproof shorts/trousers/gloves/socks. A dry bum on arrival at work is a glorious thing, even with a shower at the end of the journey. I try, where possible to take a dry set of socks, gloves and t-shirt for the journey home if it’s particularly grim.

    I used to ride 13 miles each way when I worked in London. The nerve wracking experience of the Hammersmith Gyratory and Kensington High St were book-ended by the rewards of cycling through Richmond and Hyde Parks each day.
    Beautiful crisp winter mornings, seeing and hearing the deer calling. An extra lap of Richmond Park to make the evening commute home really count in the summer.
    And then one year we got proper snow all the way into town, and I got to ride to work on my brand new 29er.
    I can’t remember any of my train or car commutes ever having me grinning from ear to ear all day, or wishing the day away thinking about how I could extend my route home that evening.
    Glory days!

    I have a hundred different options for my commute to work, 2.7 miles, across the forest. A quarter mile of tarmac, the rest is fire track and singletrack. The ride home can be anything between 2.7 and 10 miles rain or shine.

    for me i do not like rideing in the rain i like to keep the bike clean .

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