A Canadian Journalist on Riding His Bike All Winter


Globe and Mail

The Globe and Mail's new City Hall columnist Marcus Gee may not know anything about architectural preservation, but he rides his bike all winter in Toronto and appears to know what he writes about on that subject. After two winters of cycling, he has concluded that "it's far safer and more comfortable than you might imagine and a lot more fun."

He wears the usual gear, the windproof jacket and the lobster-claw gloves, but more impressive is his attitude.

It's liberating at any time of year to avoid the restrictions of driving or public transit and set out on your own, a free agent of the street. In winter, with the sharp, fresh air on your face, it's exhilarating. You begin and end your day with a little adventure. As the winter cycling website icebike.com puts it, with perhaps a trace of irony, "You arrive feeling very alive, refreshed and with the aura of a cycling god."

But a major point he makes is that nobody is having a wonderful time getting around in winter and that biking certainly is no worse.

As for the inconvenience of winter cycling, well, everything is relative. I started riding to work last winter out of frustration with the alternatives. Standing in the cold waiting for poky downtown streetcars was a drag. Driving meant scraping off the car and fighting for a parking space when dropping the kids at school.

When you talk to anyone who rides their bike all winter, you get the same answer: no waiting, good exercise and crisp fresh air, you generally go faster than the cars and between the cost of a subway token or parking, you save a lot of money. And given our winter without snow, there has not been the usual problem of the bike lanes becoming the snow storage lanes.

At last, something by Marcus Gee that I can agree with: Folks, a rusty steed is a friend indeed - even in winter.

More on Winter Cycling:

Winter Biking Isn't So Bad
42 Tips To Help You Ride Your Bike All Winter
My Name Is BarBra: Great Idea for Winter Cycling, Lousy Name
Tips for Winter Biking
Toronto to Plough Bike Paths This Winter
How To Cycle In Winter: Carry Lots of Kleenex
How They Keep Bike Lanes Clear in Copenhagen

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