Bicycle Belle

The slippery slope

Winter weather is finally arriving, and I’ve been thinking a lot about Winter Biking.   I often tell people that biking for transportation is a slippery slope.   We get a lot of people who come in and say “I’m not a “real” biker (whatever that is)  and I just want something I can run errands on when the weather is nice.

And we’re happy to help,  because that’s a perfectly reasonable goal and  decision.  Boston is a particularly good place to use a bike like this, because there are lots of great other backup transportation options for when the weather is icky, or when you just don’t feel like biking.   And honestly,  no one should feel compelled to ride, or guilty for not riding.   You have to take it day by day and do what feels comfortable for you,  because that’s the whole point of effective transportation-  it has to be practical and realistic.

What we don’t necessarily tell people is that we know how this goes, and it’s a slippery slope, that I think most of us at the shop have been down.   You say to yourself,  oh,  I’ll just ride in the summer.   And then fall is lovely and cool and crisp, and you have to deal with the darkness in the evenings,  but you get lights, and it’s great.   And then it gets a little colder around Thanksgiving,  maybe there’s a bit of ice in the gutter, and you say,  hmm,  maybe time to start taking the T.  So you’re on the bus,  stuck in traffic,  standing between a guy who hasn’t showered recently and another guy listening to his music so loud that it’s like the singer is in the bus with you,  and you see someone riding by on their bike, and think,  hmmm,  I wish that was me.  And you think,  well,  maybe if I get better gloves, I wouldn’t feel so cold,  but I’m definitely stopping when it snows.  And maybe you do put the bike away for the year.

But maybe it snows,  and you start taking the T,  but you get stuck in between Porter and Harvard for an hour for no apparent reason.  Or you try to walk to the store, only to find that only half of the people between your house and the store have shoveled their sidewalks.   It’s not like any way of getting around is easy and super convenient when New England winter is in full force.  You’re going to have to wear snow boots if you walk,  or spend hours digging out your car if you drive,  or rappel down a snowbank to get to the bus stop. And you think,  well,  I’m running a bit late today,  maybe I’ll just try riding my bike.

And next thing you know you’re a year round cyclist!  I’m not saying that it will definitely happen,  or that it has to happen,  but I’m just saying I’ve seen it happen an awful lot. (It happened to me!)  Every year it seems like the “great winter winnowing”  is less and less,  and there are more and more people still riding.  Not because they are trying to test themselves or be really hardcore or macho,  but just because it’s the easiest way to get from point A to point B,  no matter the weather.

So we’re happy to help you find the perfect summer cruiser,  but we won’t be surprised to see you riding by the next year in January!