Week 1 – Day 3 – January 6, 2016

Weather: High of -1 but the morning ride was -6, sunny and no precipitation. All road ways were clear.

Consistent Attire: Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) rain resistant, breathable knee length jacket, motorcycle cold weather leather gloves with high gauntlets, MEC thermal barrier tights and winter boots.

Variable Attire based on the temperature: Bula balaclava, MEC thermal arm coverings.  I also was wearing a sleeveless wool dress under my coat and sweat wicking leggings.

Winter is a time of the year that my natural instinct is to hibernate.  In years past when I have given in to the hibernation I just feel awful.  Not only do I turn to food and my favourite wine; I want to sleep all of the time!  To combat the winter blahs and the February blues I turned to downhill skiing about 4 years ago.  I took lessons and learned how to ski.  The skiing helped me learn about layering my clothing to stay warm and dry and to look forward winter.  This personal winter commuting challenge is a next step in finding ways to push myself to remain active and enjoy the Canadian winters.  One thing I am certain of is that I am only temporarily able bodied, so I best enjoy every minute of every day that I have been blessed with.

I talk a lot about gear because I have asked a lot of avid winter cyclists what they wear and they always answer with “layers”.  I would try to ask, what are your different “layers”? and the answers were usually vague.  I was typically asking hard-core cyclists that also tended to be men. Their answers were not always applicable to someone who wears dresses and needs to look like a professional business woman upon arrival.  Here is a photo of the “layers” that I wore today.


The road conditions are so nice that I decided to leave the Batpod at home today and ride my beloved Trek Cocoa ladies commuter bike.  I was thinking the ride would be so much easier on my hybrid tires, and upright bike.  I learned that I was wrong.  I felt like I committed the same amount of labour on my regular commuter as I did on the Batpod.  From this, very scientific research, I conclude the following:

  1. The cold weather fundamentally affects the ability of my muscles to expend energy;
  2. Lung capacity is hindered by the cold;
  3. Under inflated tires; and/or
  4. I am out of condition.

It is quite possible that all of the above are true, but until I feel that I am in “good” condition I cannot rule out that obvious variable.

I had to make two stops on the ride home and there was either no bike racks (Homesense) or they were buried in snow (Zehrs). So I pushed my bike right into the stores! Maybe I got some folks motivated to try winter cycling. Most likely they just thought I was crazy. … I have been called worse things.



  1. Smart Commute (@SmartCommute) · January 7, 2016

    Diane – you make a good point about businesses not being prepared for customers arriving by bike. I hope that changes as we build more awareness around the fact that cycling customers are just as important, if not more important, than those arriving by car.

    • dianelfreeman · January 7, 2016

      Thanks for the comment. It is a huge challenge with regard to ensuring there are visible places for a bike to park at commercial plazas. Especially those constructed prior to communities requiring bike parking as a part of site plan approvals. As more people choose to cycle, the need for parking options will become obvious. Until then I will continue to bring my bike right into stores. I will not risk my bike being stolen, because I rely on it so much!

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