Sunday, January 25, 2009

Riding in Snow

People are generally shocked that I ride through the winter. It is simply the most practical option for me: I am not willing to undertake the financial or environmental impact of driving, which I also hate. I don't mind taking transit, but there are not always good connections and I don't like timing myself by someone else's schedule. I also had a demanding schedule as I am a full-time grad student in addition to working a total of 37 hours per week, which is split between three locations. The beauty of cycling is that my commute, rather than being dead time, is part of my fitness regime. It is also the most enjoyable way of getting around, for me, and saves me money.

Anyway, yeah, cycling in winter in Ottawa. There is a lot of snow. The good thing is that there is so much snow that the city has to remove it efficently, or no one would ever leave their homes. It is also cold, but the thing is that cycling keeps me warming than waiting for the bus or walking the several blocks that would seperate me from my downtown work location and the nearest available parking spot. I tend to be impatient with people who say they could not do it because of the cold. I'm from Vancouver Island and only just adapted to the climate in Ottawa.

The other reaction I get is that it must be very dangerous due to ice and snow. Well, we have already established that the roads are ploughed. I also use these studded snow tires on a cheap bike that I don't mine getting rusted from the road salt. They did cost me roughly $100, but that is less than three months of bus passes at a student price and less than two at a full price.

I lived in Kiel, Germany for a year between my undergrad and my MA. My heartly, old sailor roommate had worked on submarines during his mandatory military service. He shared a saying to me that is appropriate here. It translates, "there is no bad weather, only innapropriate clothing."

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