Just over a year ago, I bought my first bike. Last time I was on a bike was like 4th grade. The steed has been proven to be a sturdy one, taking the hellish pounding of asphalt cracks and the ever-annoying and ever-changing condition of the Georgetown Branch Trail that connects Silver Spring and Bethesda, Md.
I have a love-hate relationship with this trail (but that can be a whole ‘nother post of its own).
Although I bought my bike in the summer of last year, I didn’t really start riding it until about late September, early October, when I took the plunge to commute by bike.
It started out rocky. I biked once a week here and there. Then upped it to two days. Three. On a roll with four. For a first-time bike commuter, starting at the fall/winter transition was probably not the smartest thing, but I took notes and learned quickly what I definitely didn’t need in terms of apparel, and what I need (still need) for the upcoming colder months.
Sadly, my regular commute waned post-Thanksgiving last year, after I returned from a family-reunion/Thanksgiving trip in Wisconsin.
I ventured out some days in December and January, when the mornings were in the low teens. My butt cheeks were cold, and my toes were itchy.
I started to pick up the bike commute again around spring, getting better at mentally preparing for the next day’s commute to work and picking up some prep habits (like packing the pannier the night before).
It’s that time of year again, and although I’m not going anywhere for Thanksgiving, I’m wondering if I might slip back into the habit of not biking during the cold months like I did last year.
I’ve biked much more during the past two months, consistently biking at least four days a week. Now that the weekly CSA is over, and I don’t have to figure out how to lug vegetables home from the office, I’m trying to push the four days to the full fledged five days a week, with a few weekend rides thrown into the mix.
So far, I haven’t had any lingering doubts about not biking because the wind or the temperatures or the rain. That’s good right?
But as the winter months move in, I’m wondering what other gear I need or whether certain days are definitely off limits. I know I can use some wool products like base layers and socks, but as for bike accessories, what options are out there?
There’s no guarantee that the DC area will get snow this year (though one can be hopeful), and I’m wondering what kind of tires or accessories I should get so that I can still bike in the snow, in less-than-favorable conditions, should my crazy ass decide to do such a thing.
Anyone have any thoughts? I’m pretty determined to go forth in this crazy year-round bike commuting thing.