Seriously contemplating commuting via bicycle all year round and want a few tips from a seasoned commuter? Keep reading!
This is a guest post from Amparo, one of our brand ambassadors in NYC. All photos are hers.
With many cities improving cycling infrastructure, and increasing access by developing bike-share systems, commuting by bicycle is becoming a safer and more feasible transportation option for many of us. So, now that we’re out there experiencing healthier (and perhaps, shorter?) commutes; how do we stay motivated to bike commute all year long?
When you live in a city that experiences different seasons, particularly ones with freezing temperatures, it may become difficult to continue your warm-weather habits. In my opinion, there is no such thing as cycling “off season” - this is because if you choose to prepare for all weather conditions, then you’ll be able to stay in the saddle all year round!
Staying motivated to commute via bicycle, regardless of the weather, has been a struggle for me, but now that I have a framework for how to cope with the different seasons - I am more likely to continue this in a fun, healthy, and environmentally friendly way.
First, your gear is essential. You don’t want to arrive to your destination in a bad mood because you’re cold, wet, overheated, or dirty. There are improvements you can make to your personal ride and to your wardrobe that can help keep you comfortable and your personal belongings safe.
An issue I have difficulty with during my bicycle commute is cold extremities - remember that while in motion, your hands and feet are likely to feel a bit colder than if you were just standing outside. So, my answer is to layer up! I like the look of hi-viz or neon-colored gloves, socks or leg-warmers because they do double duty: keep you warm, and keep you visible to others using the streets and greenways. A windproof and waterproof layer is essential.
Another way to stay clean and dry is to install fenders on your bicycle. No commuter likes to show up at their destination with mud and sludge splashed on their backs sprayed up from the asphalt by their rear tire after/during a rainstorm! Bike share comrades, you’re all set - your rides already have this!
Of course, you’ll also need a way to transport your items safely and keep them dry. I recommend the Po Campo Bergen Pannier, which is my every-day from the office to social gathering bag. I never worry about my laptop and notepad when they’re in there. It even has room to hold extra layers (if I need them).
Keep a Positive Attitude
Second, try to keep a positive attitude. You’re helping yourself keep healthy, your community stay vibrant, and reduce harmful emissions to our world by bicycling. You should be proud of each mile you pedal in the saddle! Our all-weather bicycle commuting community will be so happy to have such an awesome, motivated addition!
Lastly, make sure to prep enough time for your commute. This is so that if there are any adjustments you need to take while on the road, like removing or adding a piece of clothing, or readjusting your gear, you can do so safely and easily without impacting the flow of other commuters.
Looking forward to seeing you out there!
Amparo Abel-Bey, MPH is a senior research coordinator at Northwell Health. She is a brand ambassador for PoCampo and volunteer for Transportation Alternatives. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and traveling with her partner, motorcycling, composting, watching Spurs basketball and cuddling with her two cats.