Between December 1st and yesterday, I biked 285 miles (which I tracked using the awesome website dailymile). Almost all of the riding came in the form of simple "around town" trips in Cleveland. This was the first winter that I tried it. You can call me crazy, just about everyone else has.

(from Flickr user debs-eye)

It turned out to be much less physically difficult than I expected; and really put the "it's impossible to ride a bike in Cleveland in winter because it's so cold/snowy" argument to shame (at least in my mind).

Now, I know that many could leave comments here and say, "dude, it is impossible for me for me to bike in the winter. You only live a mile and a half from school and you took public transportation to work. I don't have those options where I live." Statements like that remind me about the goals of a decent urban environment. It isn't that biking was my only option for getting to class; or that public transportation was my only means of getting to work. If that were the case, I'd be stuck in the same dilemma as people who have no transportation options besides driving their cars (except that people would want to take pity on me).

By far the worst part of all of it was dealing with the people who talked very condescendingly about the experience; the people who got upset when I politely turned down their offer for them to drive me someplace, as if I was helpless child unable to get myself around. It was a harsh reminder of the long way we will have to go to make even a small dent in the completely auto-dominated culture.

Another challenge that I hadn't anticipated is that my bike really took a beating! The salt they put down on streets is great at destroying everything in its path. I'm going to need to buy a new chain and I definitely need my gears and brakes tuned-up.

2 comments:

    On March 02, 2010 Nick said...

    Dear Rob,
    I'm also a student at Carroll and I try to ride in the winter as well! Although I doubt I've logged as many miles as you have, I do try and make the choice to ride when things are closer than five miles from where I am.

    When I ride in the wintery weather it isn't the cold or the snow that is a deterrent, it's the ice! I've nearly met my match three or four times over various patches of ice. But, I'm always wearing my helmet so I'm usually good.

    I'm sorry to hear that people have been condescending towards your riding. I thankfully haven't had that experience yet.

    I do understand that your bike takes a beating. I just try and wipe mine down right after I get finished riding, although in the winter I have taken to riding fixed and have a lot less to get beat on.

    Happy and Safe Riding!
    Nick

     

    Hi Nick, thanks for stopping by. Where do you park your bike at JCU? I park mine in front of the O'Malley building, but for the past few weeks I haven't seen any other bikes on the rack.

    I haven't found ice to be much of an issue. The streets that I ride (like Silsby and Washington) tend to be well salted and dry most of the time. I haven't bought parking pass the past two semesters, which aside from saving me a few hundred bucks, has made biking the default option.