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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Never too cold to bike

Andrew posts about an NY Times article, with the upshot being that it's never actually too cold to excercise outside, no matter how much you might want to wimp out.

The first winter I lived in Minneapolis, when it got down to 40 or so and my hands got cold riding my bike, I was like "That's it, I guess I'm done for the year." But by the second winter, I was commuting to the train by bike and really enjoying it. As it got colder, I kept making adjustments to my clothing, each time telling myself that this way, I could bike for a couple weeks more. Then, before I knew it, I was happily riding my bike at zero degrees and realizing that there wasn't really any reason to ever stop on account of the temperature.

Actually, the ride home tonight here in DC was about as bad as it can ever get: dark, slush-covered roads, and 33-degree rain. Blech. But still better than any other way of getting home. (Except catapult -- if someone can come up with a way to safely catapult me home from work, I will gladly pay the catapult fare.)

I've gotta say, though, that I do miss the grade-separated bicycle freeway that I used to commute on in Minneapolis. Peaceful, safe, plowed in the winter and faster than driving, the Midtown Greenway is pretty much the gold standard of urban bike commuting in my book. I look forward to the day when every city will have facilities like it; they won't all be grade-separated, of course, but bike boulevards have indeed already entered the urban planning discourse. And as for automobile highways, PlanPhilly has a nice compilation of ideas on what to do with your urban freeway -- including Portland's approach of tearing it down (in 1974!) and making it a park with bikeways.

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