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Quote of the Day

January 28, 2013

Via Sarah Goodyear at The Atlantic Cities.

…the image of the road warrior in space-age gear, pedaling a custom-built bike worth thousands of dollars over icy predawn roads, is off-putting to most ordinary folks. And it’s ordinary folks who make up the 98 percent of New Yorkers who use bicycles for transportation in New York City.

This is the time of year when you see features such as the one in the Times to which Goodyear refers.  It’s also the time of year when cycling magazines publish lists of the top gear for winter riding and advice for how to stay warm during a chilly commute.  But like Goodyear and Dmitry Gudkov, I also find that such features have the potential to do more harm than good.  One of the beauties of bike commuting is the virtually non-existent barrier to entry, so the minute someone thinks they need to buy specific gear or make a lot of special preparations in order to ride to work is the minute you’ve lost them to the subway.

As long as your commute is relatively short there’s no mystery to winter riding.  Think of it like a brisk, extended walk on a chilly day: all you need is an extra layer or two, a comfortable pair of shoes, warm gloves, and the common sense to take it slowly over icy patches.  And most New Yorkers already know that comfortable shoes and common sense are indispensable, no matter the temperature.

  1. January 28, 2013 11:34 pm

    Will the Manhattan bridge path be iced over tomorrow morning, is all I’m wondering. If the Times provided useful information like that I would read it.

    Last week I wore long johns, like people have worn without any fanfare for hundreds of winters. It’s probably the only time I will need them this year except for a heroic, counter-cultural ski weekend that we have planned.

  2. January 29, 2013 11:54 am

    Every article like this helps transform the ordinary person on a commodity mountain bike in ordinary clothes into some kind of bizarre outlier who doesn’t belong on the streets. “Poor guy; he’s wrong for not wearing a banana jacket like those folks the Times wrote about.”


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