Cycle Chic or Cycle Crazy

The pleasure in cycling through the city…but in the winter?

Once temperatures went below 5 degrees, I retired my bicycle and it is now at Usic’s shop getting a makeover.  (I can’t wait for its spring reveal!)  But there are many brave souls still riding.  God bless.

With Toronto weather reporting temperatures feeling like -17, wind gusts of 44 km/h, blowing snow, slush, and salt…I couldn’t imagine battling mother nature and insecurely aggressive drivers on a day like today, but check out the folks from Copenhagen’s Cycle Chic!

He's even wearing heavy Sorels!

Single-handed riding with no helmet.

Blinding white outs!

If winter cycling is still an option for you, be sure to check out the how-to article from Sunday’s Toronto Star.  Obviously, one needs much more equipment to be safe in Toronto than Copenhagen.  Ha!  What a contrast.

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About karenoke

One-time karaoke champion blogging about curiosities and cravings for music, food, design, and other sweet pleasures. http://about.me/karenoke
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8 Responses to Cycle Chic or Cycle Crazy

  1. Mikael says:

    “Obviously”? You’re joking, right? I assume you are. On the off-chance you’re not… what about scores of cities all over the world – many without the same infrastructure as Copenhagen – where people just ride bikes in their regular clothes – in snowstorms and rain, etc. Where people haven’t been brainwashed into thinking that urban cycling is an extreme sport? Where traffic is more chaotic that in Toronto? Here’s an article for reference

    • karenoke says:

      Not so obvious, but yes, joking. I’m not an expert when it comes to surveying bicycle apparel, but from what I’ve seen on the streets in Toronto, maybe 1 in 10 winter cyclists actually look like the extreme Toronto Star cyclist. Compared to what Copenhagen cyclists actually wear, the contrast is pretty hilarious.

      The number of cyclists on the streets of Toronto drastically diminish when snow and cold hit the city and because of this, motorists seem to pay even less attention. So what’s the harm in wearing a helmet and extra lights? Even if it’s just to ‘feel’ safer.

      The Toronto Star’s article is a welcome encouragement for us winter cycling wussies. Maybe all that equipment isn’t quite necessary, and yes, it’s endorsement for the sporting goods stores, but with a Mayor that says, “Roads are built for buses, cars, and trucks. My heart bleeds when someone gets killed, but it’s their own fault at the end of the day”, it’s amusing to see the media jab at the issue and support bicycle culture in this way.

      I would love to continue riding my bicycle through the winter and avoid having to take public transportation, but I’m a wimp in the cold and lack confidence on the slippery roads. That’s just me. But I say bravo to the brave!

      Thanks for sharing the Copenhagenize article Mikael.

    • Usic says:

      Heres the thing that most people just don’t realize about Toronto. You may have heard that it isn’t the nicest city to ride your bike in, however did you know there is a war on bicycles in Toronto?

      Recently our new mayor(Rob Ford) had a Canadian “celebrity”(Don Cherry) speak at his inauguration.

      http://www.thestar.com/news/article/902903–don-cherry-rips-left-wing-pinkos-at-council-inaugural

      “I’m wearing pinko for all the pinkos out there that ride bicycles and everything, I thought I’d get it in,”

      That quote came from our city hall.

      In the eye of our mayor, bike riding is for “sissy’s”. There is a great divide between cyclists and people that think bicycles are for little kids.
      You can imagine how people drive by cyclists when they think they are in the way.

      If you ride out to any of the non-residential streets in Toronto, your met with, taxi’s that are constantly trying to squeeze into the far right lane to pick up passengers or, beat the car next to it at the stop lights. Then we have buses and street cars that share the SAME road. The street car tracks occupy the outside lane on 4 lane wide Toronto street. They are the perfect size to gobble up anything that is narrower than a mountain bike tire. On top of that the tracks are laid on a huge concrete slab, which is perfect for knocking your 700c wheel off course if you ride to close. So most cyclists that don’t want to get close-lined by a truck mirror (they park on the street) you have to learn how to jump over the concrete, and over the street car tracks, or your other option is to come to a complete stop, and walk your bike around. With so many cars on the street this isn’t the best option for most. Even on our “bike lanes” Torontoians have stories of cars racing past them at highway speeds.

      Now throw in snow. Do you know what happens when rubber meets snow covered steel? If your timing is poor, it could be the last thing you think about before your brain says good bye and your soul exits your body.

      I think if you can avoid death even wearing a giant pinko suit with a helmet lit up brighter than a runway of an air field, your much smarter than the person who is helmet-less, cold and in a morgue

  2. Dr Paul Martin says:

    If you can walk in the winter weather you can bike in the winter weather… and the clothes are the same for both.

    I *wish* I had the opportunity to ride in the snow.

  3. Winter cycling in Edinburgh, as Paul says “If you can walk in the winter weather you can bike in the winter weather… and the clothes are the same for both.”

  4. BicyclesOnly says:

    Not sure why commenters from warmer climes are talking about “brainwashing.” Snow is one thing, but extreme cold is another.

    We don’t get quite as cold in New York City as you do in Toronto, but we do have folks who use bikes for transportation all year round, in every kind of precipitation. Here are some photos:

    NYC Bicycle Commuter, Park Drive East @ 81st St.

    It’s definitely more pleasant in the cold when you have clothes that can keep extremities warm!

    • Harald says:

      Yeah, this pisses me off, too. Copenhagen has pretty mild winters compared to Toronto. Their average low in January and February is merely -2.4° C and -2.0° C, whereas for Toronto it’s -7.3 and -6.3° C. I live in upstate New York, where it is even worse (-10° C in both months) and I certainly do need special gear for being able to live car-free and bike year-round. Taking Copenhagen as the measure of everything is just plain ignorant and arrogant.

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