101 reasons to love cycling in London #16 - transport for all seasons

It seems that most of the Northern Hemisphere has been ensconced in snow and ice for a few weeks now, and it's certainly the coldest winter I've ever experienced here in the U.K.

Photo courtesy of Dottie at Let's Go Ride A Bike

As roads and railways have buckled under the stress of snowfall, I've been surprised at the amount of cyclists out there during the cold snap.  There's a certain kudos in being able to boast about cycling to work in the snow I guess, and it certainly can be a beautiful experience as Dottie demonstrates in her blog post 'Six miles in three inches' over at Let's Go Ride a Bike, but thinking about it actually makes good sense - if you've got the right tyres, enough layers and it's safe to do so out there (ie not Yehuda Moon blizzard conditions!) cycling is still the best way to get around town and to work, and for the same reasons, despite the cold.

You'll still get there quicker than by car, cheaper than on public transport, and there's no chance you'll get stuck in a tunnel for 36 hours due to the wrong kind of snow....  it's just a matter of wrapping up warm enough, making sure you can be seen, and taking a decent saddle cover with you to keep the snow at bay:

London cyclists are still head of the traffic que in the snow on Wednesday, 11th January 2010 (Bethnal Green station), and snow-covered bicycles at Berkeley Square in Mayfair.

If you're worried about feeling the cold a little, Lock 7 cycle cafe at that popular London cycling hot spot, Broadway Market, sell handle-bar mounted coffee cup holders - just the thing for chilly commuters!

A transport system you can rely on for all seasons?  It's reason number 16 to love cycling in London!

P.S  If you are out cycling in all seasons you'll want to keep an eye on the maintenance of your bike and ensure you keep your machine in tip-top condition.  If, however, like me you are a bit averse to spanners and wrenches and don't really know your way round a bike frame, fear not!  Andreas from the London Cyclist blog has just published a 'Bicycle Maintenance made Ridiculously Easy' eBook - it's free and you can download it here.  There's even a review from yours truly on the blurb! 

1 comment:

portlandize.com said...

We had some snow in Portland this winter as well - one particular day it started snowing in the middle of the day after everyone was at work and we got several inches on the ground, and my usual 40 minute commute home took about 50 minutes due to the snow (http://www.flickr.com/photos/poetas/4227309780/).

People were stuck on the freeways for 5 hours or more, leaving their cars on the sides of the road and walking home for miles because they couldn't move their cars, etc.

Skinny-tire racing bikes had some issues, but for the most part, the main problem most people on bikes had was people sliding around in cars.

Just another clear signal that a transportation system solely based on the private automobile is not nearly as flexible and fool-proof as one which makes it easy and convenient to walk or cycle.