It is now solidly mid-December and I’m still doing my 3-mile (each way) commute by bicycle. I started biking to work for this season around the beginning of April and purchased a dedicated commuting bike on April 21st. Since then I’ve logged 770 miles commuting just about every day; rain, snow, or shine.
The commuter bike, a Giant “Tran Send”, has received some accoutrements over the course of the year: storage, improved lights, and winter rubber.
The panniers I had purchased in April ended up being returned since they were too small to fit my laptop and gi. In their stead was a plastic crate lashed to the rack with zip-ties. The crate wobbled a bit when piled high, but sufficed for most of the summer until I had the chance to augment it with some old panniers that had been stored in my parents garage since a Boyscout bike-hike many years ago. The old panniers didn’t fit the laptop either, so to fit both them and the crate I fashioned a wooden riser-platform to allow the crate to sit a few inches off the rack. While difficult to attach, this arrangement has the benefit of enhancing that stability of the crate as well as providing as much storage as I care to fill.
The second upgrade was the addition of several more blinking tail lights and the CygoLight Mity-Cross headlight that I had purchased for the 24 Hours of Great Glen mountain bike race. A reflective vest also joins the lights for what I’m hoping will provoke a reaction along the lines of, “Is that a Christmas tree ahead?”.
Last week brought the latest update, studded snow tires. I purchased the Schwalbe “Marathon Winter” tires from Peter White Cycles in New Hampshire (mail order), with 240 tungsten-carbide studs in each tire. At this point they’ve only seen a bit of snow and ice, but they remove the hesitation I built up after a tense, snowy commute with my slick summer tires.
Now that winter seems to have started for real, my plan is to bike as much as I feel comfortable with and car-pool with Sarah or take the bus if the weather is bad. I’d like to push myself a bit to continue through the winter, but would rather not take any risks of being hit by drivers who might be sliding around the highway in a storm.