How extreme do Winter B-icicle challengers need to be?

Winter Biking. Image (cc) Porro

One of our Winter B-icicle Challengers sent in a mainly positive email, but also with this to say:

I love the idea behind your winter cycling drive. More people on more bikes more often! But what is the point of pledging to ride everyday in the winter if you aren’t prepared to ride in the conditions that winter provides?

The reason I feel its important to mention this is because as a winter commuter I get asked by car drivers constantly about the conditions during my ride. All the time they are talking to me they are trying to impose a subtext to their statements that it is too dangerous to be riding a bicycle in the winter and that I should be careful so that they don’t kill me with their 2000LB vehicle.

By saying there are conditions in which it’d be so icy you’d probably break your neck continues this tradition of poo-pooing bicycles as viable means of transportation.

For all bikers encouraging friends and family members to “make the switch”, it’s important never to exaggerate the dangers of biking or cycling. It’s something we hope we haven’t done in laying out conditions for the ‘Winter B-icicle Challenge’. And it does bring up an interesting question: how far should winter bikers go?

The answer is simple, as far as you choose. The point of this challenge is to encourage more bike riding and less car riding. The further you’re willing to go with that, the better, but we realise not all challengers will go as far as others. There will be some who will ride no matter what the weather – hail, gale force winds, roads so shiny you could skate on them, and furious snowstorms. There are others, however, who won’t ride through such hairy weather, but it can still mean they’re riding almost every day of winter and many, many more days than they usually would.

On the ‘Winter B-icicle Challenge’ event page challenger Martin Elwell wrote: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”. And in the same way, often riding through snow and ice is only dangerous because your bike is under-equipped. Given you have the right equipment, and right attitude, biking can be safe most places in the world and periods of the year.

In short:

1. If you are riding through less than ideal conditions, here are a few words of advice to ensure your safety.

2. On any day you choose not to ride your bike, we implore you to consider walking or catching public transport. These are much more environmentally friendly options than cars or cabs.

Image (cc) Pörrö