THE WORST.

How do you feel about riding when it gets cold? I’ll layer up, plug in my heat, and keep going until there’s ice on the ground. No judgment here if that’s not your bag—everyone has preferences, and that’s totally cool. This year, though, the less rider-friendly weather in my area is setting in pretty early. (Thanks, I hate it.)

We had a snowy Halloween in Chicago and the surrounding area this year. That’s not totally unheard of, but it’s also not a super common occurrence. Hardcore midwesterners know about trick-or-treating with our great costumes hidden under voluminous winter coats and boots, but we’re all not-so-secretly glad when we get those milder Halloweens. 

Just a couple of weekends ago, I put a couple hundred miles on some new tires on my bike. It felt GREAT. But now, thanks to this week’s increasingly cold and dreary weather, we’re all just standing around, holding our shovels and waiting. The roads haven’t been salted yet, but the creeping dread of impending road salt is a specialized form of anxiety.  Winter is most certainly coming, and it’s gonna be more depressing than that last season of GoT

I keep telling myself that it could be worse. At least we’re not on fire and fighting with our local power company about whose fault it is. I’ll take early season snow over having to flee massive fires en masse any day. 

However, I suspect that a lot of us don’t ride year-round, as much as we might like to. In some years, I’ve been out riding on January 2nd. In other years, I’ve been stuck off the bike until sometime in March. Yes, there are always winter maintenance projects, but it is still rough.

So, I guess my question to you fine folks is, what are your best strategies for dealing with not being on your bike for an extended period of time? Yes, I have friends, family, and hobbies, but they’re not the same as riding. I’m the kind of person who will ride to the store to pick up groceries, just as an excuse to ride somewhere. What’s your favorite way of dealing with winter?