Skip to main content

Extreme Weather Bicycling

As the temperature crossed the 100 degree mark in DC this week, I can now officially say that, in the past six months, I've biked in extreme weather at both ends of the meteorological spectrum. You can revisit my post on winter bicycling here.

As I was riding home from work today I started thinking about whether it's more difficult to bike in heat or in cold/snow. They are both challenging, but for very different reasons.

(from Flickr user photoholic1)

In the summer, the key to biking in the heat is wearing cool clothes and staying hydrated. This means I need to wear shorts and a t-shirt on my ride into work, and bring my work clothes with me in a bag and change when I arrive. In the winter, on the other hand, it's easy to wear work clothes during the ride (particularly if the office attire is casual). It's also more practical to wear a backpack in the winter. For obvious reasons, there's less reason to worry about perspiration in the winter.

Heat dehydrates people more quickly, so carrying a lot of water is key. Cold weather is just uncomfortable, so having the appropriate clothes, coat, hat, gloves, etc. is required. Although most people can't fathom biking through snow, it's less difficult than they'd think, particularly in a place that takes care of its streets. In fact, biking in rain is much worse than biking in snow. I'll take 30 degrees and snowing over 40 degrees and raining anytime. Wind, on the other hand, can be challenging, and it tends to be a lot worse in winter than in summer.

Here's the thing... yes, I know, it's not particularly comfortable to bike in either extreme heat or extreme cold, but the range in which it is comfortable biking is actually quite large. I think people would be surprised how nice it can be to bike in 40-degree air, so long as you have the right clothes, and the same can be said for biking in 85-degree temperatures. It doesn't have to be exactly 65 and sunny to have a good ride.


Dave Reid said…
Agreed, biking in temperatures as low as in the 30's can be quite comfortable, and I'd agree wind and rain are the toughest weather items to ride through.
This is a challenge I face everyday especially since I bike to work. Anyway my clothes are my best defenses against the elements.

Popular posts from this blog

In Praise of Southwest's 'C' Boarding Group

A few weeks ago I saw a tweet from someone complaining that their Southwest Airlines boarding pass had been assigned A20 (meaning they would be at least one of the first twenty passengers to board the plane). Apparently this person though they should have been assigned a higher number, less their flight experience be considerably spoiled.

Despite the complaints, Southwest has resisted demands to assign seats on its flights, a decision which I personally applaud. I'll admit that I was skeptical when they rolled out the newest boarding procedure, assigning both boarding groups and a line number; but in hindsight it seems like one of the best operational decisions they've ever made. If nothing else, it effectively eliminated the infamous "cattle call" whereby fliers were getting to airports hours in advance and sitting in line on the floor as if they were waiting for the midnight showing of the new Star Wars movie.

When I was an intern at Southwest Airlines last winter, I…

So You Want to be a Southwest Airlines Intern?

My personal website must have pretty decent SEO - because in the past year, I've received about two dozen emails from aspiring Southwest Airlines interns looking to draw on my experience in search of their own dream internship. In the past two weeks alone a few new emails have already started rolling in...

(from flickr user San Diego Shooter)

If you've found your way here, you might be hoping for the silver bullet; a secret tip that will propel you above the competition. Unfortunately, I do not know any inside secrets. I can only share my experience as an internship candidate about two years ago and, rather than responding individually to future emails I anticipate to receive, I hope that potential interns will find the information posted here valuable.

Understand: Southwest Airlines is a very unique company. The corporate culture at Southwest is truly unlike that of nearly every other company. But you probably already knew that, since it now seems mandatory for every management,…

Commuting Meets Technology

I'm finally out of the dark ages. I got an Android smartphone over the weekend and have since been in the process of exploring the Android apps market.  One thing I've immediately noticed is the really wide range of usefulness in the apps. For example, the WeatherBug app is fantastic. It automatically determines your location and gives you exact conditions for that location. On the other end of the spectrum, Google's Goggles app is supposed to be a type of 'visual search' where you snap of photo of something and Google searches for it. In each of my attempts to use it, the app hasn't returned any search results. I even took a photo of a bottle of Pepsi (figuring it as a common houseful item) and got nothing.

Somewhere in the middle is this app called Waze. Have a look at their 'guided tour':

Some people might look at it and comment on the amazing evolution of technology or on the incredible value of social networks. To me, Waze says something important ab…