Frostbike – The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling

The Edmonton Bicycle Commuters Society were pleased to host Tom Babin, the author of this best selling book on Saturday, February 21st and I was very happy to have been able to attend and meet Tom along with a very nice crowd of old and new faces.

Many of us seem to hibernate in the winter and are not seen until the sun comes out and the temperatures increase, and yesterday was one of those beautiful winter days.

What we all agreed on is that there is a lot more joy than there is pain and numbness and I would remind people of the old Scandinavian saying that “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.”

I have heard many positive reviews of the book and read a few chapters last night before bed and since Tom is only from down the road, his early winter riding experiences in Calgary were much like ours. I think that with this freeze thaw cycle we have been experiencing our weather has been much more like Calgary’s of late.

I have been riding in the winter for so long that I had to rewind things a decade to remember what I was riding when I first started, that would have been my Trek mountain bike which my daughter named “Jenny”. She was a good bike and I started by using studded tyres of my own making. It took a few years before I decided that riding fixed gear and internal hubs was the way to go.

Tom very aptly pointed out that our society now looks at winter activities as being extreme sports, although we did not cycle in the winter as children we did everything else outside and nothing about that was seen as being extreme.

We walked and skied, tobogganed, and played shinny on outdoor rinks until the light was gone, I even remember seeing some outdoor curling rinks but most of these had been enclosed in my youth. But not all of those rinks had any creature comforts and were often nothing more than a quonset set up over the rink with a little viewing area.

You bundled up and you had fun.

Cycling in the winter really isn’t that extreme either although many a motorist will still think we are insane… that should serve to make them keep a safe distance. 🙂