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4 steps to becoming a year-round bicyclist

Posted by Fletcher Beaudoin at Nov 15, 2013 11:10 AM |

Four steps to brave Oregon's weather when biking to work.

As we enter November, shorter days and rain begin to creep into the lives of Oregonians. For many, this is also a reason to ditch the bike as a viable form of transportation to get to work. Being a year-round biker for the past four years, I’m here to convince you that this weather doesn’t need to be the reason for returning to your car or jumping onto the bus. Below are some approaches to winter biking that have helped me fit biking into my everyday—and year-round—life.

Fletcher and bike

One trip in the car, five on the bike 

To ensure I have clean, dry clothes every day, I take one car or bus trip a week to drop off clothes and a few pairs of dry socks at work. This takes a bit of forethought, but I’ve found it much more convenient and effective than riding in my clothes or trying to wrap them up in my bike bag every day. 

Plan some extra time into your morning routine

Speaking of planning ahead, I try to come in a bit early so I can cool off before changing to avoid being wet or sweaty in my work clothes.

Find the route that works for you, and ride it a few times

Google Maps is a good starting place for looking at some options from your house to work; however, I would recommend riding a few different routes on a weekend to see what works best for you. The route I take every day was not recommended by Google, but it turned out to be the fastest and least accident-prone compared to the others. 

Get some key gear, but don’t go overboard

It’s important to have a few pieces of key gear for your ride, such as a water resistant jacket, a waterproof laptop cover or bike bag (if you’re lugging electronics each day), water resistant pants (or spandex pants and running shorts), and some gloves and ear covers. Front and rear lights are also a must. Most of the things I ride in I already had from playing soccer or hiking, and I only needed to buy a few additional items to complete the set.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve had some nasty winter rides, but by setting up a few key systems, biking quickly became the best option for my daily commute. Once you get started I’m sure you’ll agree.

Fletcher is the Assistant Director at PSU’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions and joined the Oregon Environmental Counsel’s Emerging Leaders Board in October.


Add some additional routes

Posted by Cliff at Dec 06, 2013 03:52 PM
Investigating routes is a great suggestions. I would add that consider different routes for different weather. On rainy or snowy days I will opt for a less hilly route. Even though longer than my main route, it is safer either because it has fewer hills (stopping distance) or less traffic.

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