I Think I Like Winter Riding Better Than Summer Riding

I used to park my bikes for the winter. Now I’ve totally changed my mind, and I think the reason is variety.

There’s lots of advantages to summer rides. Less clothing for one. Sometimes in the winter it takes me longer to get dressed for a ride than it did for work that day. Shorts, leg warmers, long sleeve top, jacket, long gloves, ear warmers, shoe covers, and on an on. If you ride during the week, you also need a light, as it gets dark by six. They aren’t that expensive, but once you have them, you have to remember to charge it (or keep fresh batteries in it, if it uses that kind). In the summer, you just throw on the shorts and jersey and ride.

Still, summer is only good for one kind of ride: The long solo or group road ride. Even with mild winter temps down here, I still don’t want to spend more than a few hours on my road bike. Eventually I’ll get cold. The wind is usually stronger and more unpredictable, too. In the summer, though, you can go as long as the gatorade lasts.

However, that’s really all summer is good for. You really can’t do my other two favorite type of rides: Night rides and mountain bike rides.

Up north, you can ride your mountain bike all year. Down here? No way. From June through September the woods are too hot, too overgrown, and – most importantly – too buggy to ride. Unless you enjoy stopping every fifty feet to wipe cobwebs and big a** spiders off of you, you won’t like the trails in the summer. Of course, you can always try to sucker someone else into riding with you and going first, that way they clear the trails for you. But it won’t take long before they want to switch.

Night rides are also out of the question, unless you want to stay up until midnight riding. For most of the summer, it won’t get dark until well after eight. Maybe there’s some folks who could go ride at that hour. I’m not one of them. By nine I’m already thinking about bed time.

Winter is the perfect time for these rides. Last night, for instance, I combined them. Right at five, I strapped the lights on my bike and rolled out of the driveway towards the Stoner Trails. I spent the last of the daylight and a few minutes of darkness on the trails, then followed the bike path into downtown. After spinning around downtown enjoying all the lights and sounds, I followed the bike path back to Stoner, exited into Anderson Island and cut through there to my house in Broadmoor. No idea how far it was or how fast I went, but it was two hours of fun I could never have had in the summer time.

Like I said, in the winter you can still enjoy a medium length road ride. Some folks even still do centuries every weekend. So, I’ve decided that because winter is perfect for the trails and for night riding plus you can still ride the roadie, winter is better than summer for cycling.

That said, I’m still ready for warm weather.

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4 Comments on “I Think I Like Winter Riding Better Than Summer Riding”

  1. mauriceloridans Says:

    As a bike commuter I can’t count the times I’ve repeated this dialogue when I roll up to my building in Winter:

    How can you stand to ride in this cold?

    I wear ski gloves and plenty of head insulation.

    But you are wearing a light jacket?

    Right, when you burn calories your body is a heat engine.

    Oh yeah.

    It’s really the hot Summer afternoons that give me a challenge.

  2. liveon2wheels Says:

    Well, not all of us are as “brave” (not because of the traffic, but because of all the clothes and the cold) to ride outside in the winter – especially in the northeast where we see lots of single digits. I did however, find another reason to love winter riding. In the last 2 years, companies have begun to make “VIRTUAL CYCLING” DVDs – they are so cool!. I just got turned on to a new series from Hawaii, and they are a lot of fun. Probably the cheapest trip to Hawaii I’ll ever take.

  3. wheeler Says:

    my opinion would definitely change if i lived in the northeast

  4. Greenshirt Says:

    (Snow + Ice + rain = potholes) x darkness = thanks but no thanks.


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