It’s easy to complain about winter weather, am I right? “It’s too cold”, “It’s too windy”, “I wish it would snow”. But sometimes, it’s nice to look at how other people navigate their winters, and see that we in North Carolina are actually blessed! Spring seems to be coming up on us, and we only had that one (laughable) bit of snow last week! As far as biking is concerned, throw on your underarmour and you’re good as gold around here.
Now check out this cool video about biking Riding Through the Winter in the Midwest during winter. An indoor bike facility has let Milwaukee cyclisits continue to ride in comfort during these cold months, and the new “fat” bike, with wider wheels, has let the real die-hards keep biking on their favorite trails , even in the snow!
After seeing these struggles, don’t you just feel so lucky to live where you do? And which method of biking do you think you’d keep up with in an intense winter: fat bikes, indoor biking, or no biking at all?
Vacations are expensive, any Duke student still looking for a place to go for spring break knows that. Lots of costs have to factored in, and usually, transportation is a major factor. But now let’s say that you’re a regular biker, and often tell your friends, “$300 parking permit? I’ll pass, my bike doesn’t owe me a penny!!” Why should you suddenly have to pay out of pocket for vacation travel, when you’re so used to your low-cost bike?
Depending on where you are going and how you are getting there, you can still count biking as a dependable form of transportation.
If you’re thinking about flying, here is a good list of how much it could cost to ship your bike with you. As you can imagine, the prices range from cheap ($50, not too shabby!) to pretty out of control ($175… wait, really?) So if you’re going somewhere far, far away, and want your bike with you, it would be smart to buy tickets with the airline that will charge you the least for bringing your bike.
That said, for shorter range trips, Amtrak is also a good bet, with charges between $5 and $10 to stow your bike on board.
With both of these options, there are certain stipulations on how your bike is packaged. Some prefer you to remove the parts of the bike that stick out laterally (ie pedals and handles) and package the whole thing in a bike box (which you could get at a local bike store, usually free). Some airplane passengers will swear that leaving the whole bike in just an oversize, clear plastic bag will do the trick, since baggage handlers might then be more delicate. Here is a good site on how to package your bike, along with some information on shipping it separate from your own travels; FedEx and UPS have good deals on large packages.
You could also leave your bike at home! Locations that have a large pull for either cyclists or tourists in general will probably have bike stores with rental policies, nothing a quick google search can’t fix. And if you’re going to a less-well known location, don’t be afraid to contact a local information center or check the transportation section of the government website.
Finally, why not have a biking vacation? Now, the bike will be provided for you! For an all-inclusive price, of course :)
I look back on my childhood now and then, as every hard-working college student must, and wonder about how simple everything used to be. The worst part of my everyday used to be eating peas at dinner time. I had only a few worries, and nothing to stress about, or at least nothing of the sort that fills my daily to-do lists now. I never had to think about how I was getting from point A to point B, because so long as my shoes were tied and someone else could drive, I was as good as there.
Counter that to today. I’m continually chasing time: a better time, fun time, and good time, yes, but above all, more time. You might even hear me say, “I’ve got no time to talk!” Really? When did that happen? I can’t remember ever consciously beginning to make it impossible to get from one place to the next even with my (yet to be mastered) skills of apparition and disapparition. So if you were to ask me why I never biked to where I was going, I’d cite my lack of time to commute.
But is this actually correct? Is the commute by bike really so long, or have I just stretched myself so thin that it’s impossible to rely on anything that I don’t consider instant? Lately, my tired eyes have been reluctant to commit to much, and so I’m more likely to agree with this latter position. Plus, it’s not so much that I didn’t have time to commute… I found myself without time to do much of anything.
For me, the decision to start using my bike again wasn’t so much motivated by the environment or a need to exercise and be outdoors. Those things are wonderful, and excellent bonuses to my real goal. But in a larger attempt to slow down and begin to value the present moment, I’ve decided to bike as a way to keep in tune with my needs and wants, without depending on instant access.
And you know what else? Biking even gets me there on time, too.