First Snow of the Season

Chicago’s first snow of the season arrived on time, the first day of winter. There was only a dusting and I was fine cycling along the Lakefront Trail with no special snow gear. Poor Betty Foy will be packed away soon for the winter season and Oma will be outfitted with her old studded tires, so I’m enjoying the remaining time I have with Betts.

My work outfit of a dress, cardigan and tights was fine. For the ride I threw on my wool overcoat, mittens, scarf, hat, helmet, wool socks and snow boots – the same ensemble I would have worn to take the train (minus the helmet, of course).

Based on what I’ve been reading around the bike blogosphere, I’m not the first to experience snow riding this year. How is everyone else dealing with winter so far?

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33 thoughts on “First Snow of the Season

  1. Doug says:

    We’ve had so much snow it feels like the middle of winter here in Northeastern Minnesota. Temps will be down in the lower single digits the next two mornings. This is what I live for. I love winter. I’ve had the studded tires on for nearly a month now. Today I had to break out the snowbike to make it to work. Slush, ice, and packed snow on the roads. The Surly Pugsley handled it all in stride.

  2. TomG says:

    No real snow in Kansas yet, just cold and 30 – 50 degree temp swings. Then again, we’re in near drought conditions here after an exceptionally snowy (for us) winter last year. It’s been in the teens going to work, high 30’s coming home. Add in the usual winds here on the tallgrass and it can make for an interesting commute. When the real snow comes, I’ll put the studded tires on the LHT. I’ve got the bike waxed and the chain ice-waxed, once the snow comes I’ll put the bike in the oversized bathtub and give it a good rinse and dry to get the salt and crud off every night.

    • Mike says:

      I’m curious about what you mean by having the chain “ice-waxed”. Can you describe what you do, and how it works?

    • dukiebiddle says:

      Oh lordy. I don’t even put that much effort into cleaning myself. At least not on weekends. ;)

      • Trisha says:

        What dukie said. ) You’re making my bikes jealous! We had a snowier-than-usual winter in Nashville last year, too. All predictions point to a milder one this year. We shall see! I actually enjoyed sledding for the first time in over a decade and woudn’t mind getting another big winter.

  3. philippe says:

    Very early winter time in Paris. Bitterly cold for parisian standards all week (well below freezing temperature even in the afternoon)and the first snow yesterday. Still lightly snowing today. No issues so far (not to much ice). It still the fun part, when you get to ride in soft snow.

  4. How appropriate for the first snow to fall on December 1st. I wonder when ours is coming; I am getting impatient with the anticipation!

  5. Kim says:

    Here in Scotland, it has been winter for at least a week, no shortage of snow. People still cycling, most not bothering with helmets, wool hats are a better choice…

  6. Steve A says:

    It got below freezing yesterday here in Texas so maybe there is something to that “meteorological winter.”

  7. welshcyclist says:

    This wimp has been off his bike for a week now, I will not ride for fear of ice. Studded tyres aren’t really an option for the usually small period of time we have ice etc., on the ground, and I’ve had too many painful falls. I hope you keep safe on your commuting through the winter. Cheers.

  8. Lynnety says:

    It looks so beautiful. I *love* grey skies. All those years in Seattle, I move to the south for the sake of heat, and discover that I can’t stand sunlight!

    I’m not a fan of being cold. But I’d bundle up and ride in it.

  9. Dave says:

    We had just about that much snow one day on the week of Thanksgiving, but now it’s warmed up to about 40 degrees and it’s been raining ever since :) Thankfully this morning was dry and foggy, which I love, and it’s looking like this weekend won’t be terrible either. Here’s hoping!

  10. cb says:

    so awesome that you ride in snow! girls on bikes rock!


  11. Matthew says:

    Oh, the weather did change here yesterday…
    Dropped down to the low 70’s.
    You guys gripe about Winter, I gripe about Summer, ha ha.

  12. Coreen says:

    We got our first snow more than a month ago, and it’s been full on winter for the last few weeks (at least it’s not -20 anymore). Lots of packed snow that’s easy riding with the studded tires, patches of brown sugar everywhere, but thankfully no ice, so it’s been pretty good times!
    I also helped more than a dozen eager winter cyclists stud their own tires last night at the local bike co-op. The course was so popular that we had to send someone on a second run to the hardware store to pick up more wood screws.

  13. Scott says:

    A nice cozy bike ride on a cold day — so nice.

    One thing I am not looking forward to, however, is when the snow piles up against the curb and all the cars start parking a foot or two out further into the road.

  14. Maureen says:

    It’s just getting cold here. Bundle up!

  15. Kathy says:

    It started snowing in November and we’ve already had 20 below zero. I’ve given up the bike for the winter. Snow, below zero, wind, warms up to just above freezing, melts, rains, freezes again, black ice, more snow.

  16. Trisha says:

    No snow in Nashville! Time for bike bloggers to venture South, perhaps? I think my next post might be a call to action. :)

  17. Carolyn I. says:

    Here’s a pic of my bike outside in snow. I walk to work as it’s fairly close, but I use the bike to go grocery shopping. I don’t have studs for it so I have to be careful. I want to get a winterized bike for next Winter. So much easier though to use bike to carry parcels, bulky items, etc..

    Anyways, here’s the pic of our Winter and how much snow we already have…

  18. Annalisa says:

    Winter hasn’t really come to Boston yet. Just a bunch of rain and wind, so far. Trying to figure out my winter plan, however.

    I don’t have studded tires, but there is always the zip tie solution. :)

  19. Cecily says:

    Officially the first day of winter isn’t until December 21, but if Chicago is anything like Vancouver, it’s probably felt like winter for *weeks* already.

  20. Dottie says:

    Oh! The Chicago Trib today called it “the first day of meteorological winter.” Whatever that means.

  21. Mike says:

    Winnipeg has been in full-on winter for about two weeks now, with an unusually large amount of snowfall (it doesn’t melt until spring, but not a lot of it falls from the sky). Riding the bakfiets has been challenging on occasion, but less difficult than I expected. I’ve got Marathon Winter studded tires on it, but the studs have barely entered into it yet, on account of all the loose snow. The most difficult part has been riding with an empty box; the weight of the kids over the front wheel stabilizes it and makes it much easier to steer. The only mechanical problem has been a sticky shifter — I suspect that the cable needs some lubrication, but since I park it in the garage, I’m loathe to go out there and deal with it…

    The big thing that I’ve noticed is an explosion of vitriol from some motorists (and the odd pedestrian). I’ve had far more positive reactions than negative, but I really notice it more when I’m being insulted for the audacity to ride a bicycle in the winter. If they were organized, they’d be a hate group.

  22. Cecily says:

    Ooh. A new term for this librarian to research. You’ve no idea how happy you’ve just made me. :-D

  23. ggustafs says:

    Per Wikipedia:

    “Meteorological winter is a method of measuring the season of winter used by meteorologists based on “sensible weather patterns” for record keeping purposes, i.e. whenever snow and or freezing precipitation occurs, unlike astronomical winter which is based solely on the position of the Earth in its orbit around the sun. The start of astronomical winter remains constant worldwide despite weather conditions, but the start of meteorological winter changes depending on how far north one lives. In most locations in the Northern Hemisphere, meteorological winter also marks the beginning of the meteorological year, which starts on December 1st and lasts until November 30th”

  24. dukiebiddle says:

    “meteorological winter” is all the rage in the rags of late. I’ve been reading “meteorological winter” references all over the place for the past week and a half. 2 weeks ago I had never heard the term.

  25. SM says:

    No snow yet here in Southern NH. Temps have been in the low 40’s making it great for riding. We still have dedicated bike riders out there. Each day I find myself counting how many bikers I still see pedalling away. It’s a beautiful sight. On my 3 mile route today I saw 5 riders :)

  26. Niklas says:

    The winters are just so hard down here on the Gulf Coast. Ok, a lot of sarcasm there. I love winter down here because I’m actually not sweating for once! It’s the summers that are tough. I can actually wear pants now. Yeah!

  27. Trisha says:

    2 minutes ago I had never heard the term!

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