Toronto divided over whether people should bike in the snow
Trying to ride a bicycle in Toronto during winter seems almost as hard as trying to understand why anyone would want to ride a bicycle in Toronto during winter.
Whipping winds and frigid temps can make even a short walk unbearable when it gets too cold outside, let alone a bike ride.
Add in some slippery roads and restricted visibility and things can get downright dangerous.
I do respect the right to ride a bike, but, in the middle of a snow covered road in Toronto...isnt that asking to die?...those morning, there was one narrow strip of bare pavement and two bikes were following it...traffic in both directions put these— marshallrmb/Oshawa (@Enigmaticcanuk) January 30, 2018
idiots in danger if they fell
And yet, Toronto continues to see its fair share of winter warriors braving the elements on two wheels each and every day. In fact, there was a record turn out for the annual Coldest Day of the Year Ride last weekend.
Those who do ride in the winter tend to be passionate about the pursuit, and there are, of course, many valid reasons for riding a bike all year round.
For some people, the risk is worth it to avoid taking subways or streetcars to work. Almost.
I stop cycling to work when there's snow on the roads, b/c w. all due respect to winter cyclists, I don't enjoy the narrower, slippery roads, & w, all due respect to North York, it's not a great place to cycle at the best of times. This week on the #TTC has me reconsidering.— Little Muffintoaster (@jennie1ofmany) January 31, 2018
There's also the exercise factor. Plus, modern cycling technology makes riding in the snow more comfortable and plausible all the time.
Is your bike looking a little worse for the wear with the snow, ice, and slush out there? 🌨 Find out how Léa built up a sweet #winterbike at @bikepirates in our latest #bikewinterview https://t.co/pb0GTb5wPZ #biketo #TipTuesday pic.twitter.com/7MMuVtqEZD— Cycle Toronto (@CycleToronto) February 6, 2018
Many in the city are still shocked by the sight of people cycling along snowy streets, however – and yes, I mean streets. Bike lanes aren't even an option some days.
To be fair to the parked truck, @TO_WinterOps also seems to forget there's a bike lane on College after some snow.— Jesse Bettencourt (@jessebett) January 31, 2018
Car lane pretty nice all the way through tho. 👌@CycleToronto @m_layton When do bike lanes get plowed? All of mine were snow-covered and unsafe. ❄🚲😑 pic.twitter.com/iRllRhlA6B
The whole "why do people keep riding their bikes during winter?" debate comes up with some regularity on Twitter, especially when there's snow everywhere, as is the case right right now.
"If only we lived in a climate where we could cycle 12 months of the year...people always forget about our winters," wrote one local commuter on Twitter this week in response to a tweet about cycling infrastructure.
If only we lived in a climate where we could cycle 12 months of the year...people always forget about our winters.— Daphne Simon (@daphnesimonTO) February 6, 2018
"People DO Cycle 12 months/year, here too," replied a snow cyclist. "They buy winter clothing."
"And winter tires?" said the original tweeter. "No thanks. I don’t need to wipe out on ice and snow."
And so on and so forth went the thread, with other cyclists weighing in to say how much they enjoy the unconventional commute.
there is no cycling in the snow for me. not that dedicated :)— Lisa Xing (@LisaYaxiXing) February 7, 2018
It might not be every citizen's cup of tea, but those who love it sure seem to love it.
Tomorrow, Feb. 9, is actually "International Winter Bike to Work Day." Plenty of cyclists will be participating in California, for sure, but Toronto? I guess we'll see.
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