Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cold and Sunny Days in Vancouver

If this was your backdrop on the ride to work,
wouldn't you ride your bike?
If you live in Metro Vancouver, you know we've been experiencing unnaturally cold weather this past week. I feel I should explain to our friends and family elsewhere in Canada and the world beyond, cold for Vancouverites is -10 degrees Celsius, so nothing most of you aren't already used to. There is a lovely result of the cold weather in the Pacific Northwest. The skies have been a lovely shade of light blue and the sun has been kissing our cold faces for over a week, something we miss most winters for weeks on end. Lucky for me, this sunny week also coincided with having to travel to the showroom for work, meaning I could ride my bike in the sunshine all week! 

A sunny bike ride would seem like a no brainer for a fair weather cyclist like me, but I was actually amazed at the number of people who questioned my mental stability for riding in the cold. Perhaps it was my Ontario upbringing coming through, or just my sheer desire to ride my bike after a number of wet weeks, but I just didn't feel I was doing anything bordering on insanity. Sure it was cold, but with my warm winter jacket, a scarf, woolly toque and lovely woolly mitts I brought with my from Ontario, I was comfortably toasty. In fact, each member of the Velo Family rode their bikes most of last week, and not one of us felt it was too cold to do so.
The rest of the family riding yesterday, which was
definitely a cold one at minus eight degrees
I think because we're so spoiled when it comes to warmer climates here in Vancouver, most people find it difficult to adapt to colder temperatures. What's important to note, though, is that riding a bike on a cold sunny day is no different than walking. You bundle up appropriately, making sure you have layers to cover your extremities from the cold. For me, the number one accessory is my scarf that I can use to cover my mouth and nose from the colder winds, and, of course, a toasty pair of gloves or mitts. Most importantly, though, is I don't have any special gear for winter riding different from winter walking or transit riding. There is really nothing stopping me from getting on my bike. 
Dressed and ready to go
All Chris needs are gloves, his Whitecaps scarf and his
toque and he's ready for his daily winter ride.

In a city known for never ending days of rain throughout the winter months and well into Spring, I find it so important to take advantage of the sunny days, regardless of the temperature. Riding my bike gives me a chance to enjoy some quiet moments on my own, get in a bit of physical activity, something most people crave in the winter, and also enjoy the beauty of my city and its landscape in the winter months. I'm not daunted about riding in the winter, because I don't have to worry about dressing any differently than if I was walking. In fact, I know that by getting on my saddle and moving at a slightly faster pace than walking, I will get to my destination faster, and likely feeling a bit more toasty for my efforts.

 The Velo Kids, bundled up but happy to go for a ride on their bikes

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