Alternative Fuel and Transportation

Published on December 20th, 2012 | by Scott Cooney


Tips to make bike commuting in the winter more fun

You know you want to brag to some snotty kids some day that, “back in my day, I biked to school, uphill both ways, in the snow and rain…and I LIKED IT!”

Even if you don’t want to rub it in to some spoiled kids, you might just want to continue bike commuting in the wintry weather, either a) because it saves money, b) it can save time, and/or c) you love having buns of steel. (Check out Planetsave‘s top ten reasons we love biking. It’s a great post with lots of cool biking pictures). So what are you to do when it’s cold and wet outside, and you really just want to riiiide?

Here’s a few tips to keep you two-wheeling this winter.

  1. Think about your bike type. If you own a bike that allows you to sit upright (i.e., not down in more of a racing position), that’s best for winter rides, which tend to be less about speed and more about control. If all you own is a racer, you might consider investing in a winter bike that’s just a commuter. I ride a Trek commuter bike year round, which retailed at about $400, and it rocks!
  2. Address your bike’s needs. A few minor adjustments to your bike, like adding fenders, will go a long way in the winter toward making your bike riding experience much better. Consider getting a quick tuneup to make sure the seals around your internal gear hubs are sound, your chain is in good condition, and your tires have a little more traction than most super slick road bike tires. Finally, there’s nothing like some good weather-proof panniers (saddlebags) to keep your stuff dry and safe, and not on your person while you’re riding.
  3. Layer up. Depending on whether you have showers at your office/school, you might be able to just pack clothing to change into once you arrive. If not, no sweat–choose wool outerlayers and athletic underlayers for your daily commute. Unless you work a suit and tie kind of job, this is usually an acceptable work look in the winter anyway. Good wind/rain resistant gloves and a jacket/pants you can toss on when it starts to rain will keep you dry, warm, and happy.
  4. Take it easy and enjoy the ride. Let’s face it, winter riding is a little more…precarious than summer riding, as it tends to be wetter and certainly is icier. Maybe crank it down a notch, Mr. Tour de France, ok? Slow down and enjoy the ride, because let’s face another fact: biking is just plain fun.


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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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