Winter Bicycling Is…

Winter bicycling is more than temperatures and forecasts and wool layers and hand warmers. Winter bicycling is when the world brightens as the wind whips and my mind clears as my cheeks flush.

My fingers and toes may be numb, my nose may be running, my eyes may be watering – but I am the happiest and calmest version of myself, bicycling on a crystal clear winter day.






Today I experienced a rare winter treat: leaving the office early enough to catch the sun before setting. The late afternoon light painted the sky with an ombre splash of color, inspiring me to record a video that I hope conveys some of the joy of the ride.

The accompanying song is “This Winter I Retire” by Said The Whale.

(Hello, there!)


What is winter bicycling to you?


  • Diana

    You have such a beautiful commute!! Just lovely. What song is playing in the video? I love it! :)

    • Dottie

      The song is “This Winter I Retire” by Said The Whale. You can download it for free from Free Music Archive. I’ll add that info to the post.

  • fjnkindelan

    Thanks for posting these images and the video. I (like many Chicago Lake Shore commuters) know that path so well that I can tell when you’re camera is going to hit a bump or avoid a certain frozen puddle. One of the best parts of the winter commuting season is the space on the path — the isolation which is otherwise so rare in the city. The cold also helps temper the heat of riding. I never feel cold on my bike!

  • FritsB

    For comparison look at the video on Thomas Schlijper’s blog on January 15, about sudden winter snow in Amsterdam. Cars all slithering about on their summer tires but cyclists plowing on as usual. We have a cold spell at the moment with parts of the country covered in more snow than we are used to.

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  • Lisa Curcio

    Beautiful, empty path! This is my first winter cycling. Never having been much of a winter sports person, I usually spend winter holed up in home and office waiting for a chance to go to Florida or for spring. This winter, I have spent time outside because I am cycling, and I feel great! Besides my commute, I look for excuses to get on the bike on the weekend just to enjoy the winter!

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  • Shawn W.

    This is my first winter cycling (your blog got me on my bike last summer). I live in Oregon and surprisingly enough I’ve had at least two days a week that I am able to ride without rain. It isn’t nearly as cold here (usually in the 30′s in the morning) but I have absolutely loved it. I’m very jealous of your path/commute. It is a beautiful ride. Thank you for the inspiration.

  • Oldbikerider

    ! Great Video – Nice Cameo !

  • Ezra Rufino

    That does look like a great path to ride on–a beautiful place to ride by the water. I’ve been really enjoying the winter riding this year, like you said, something about the cold and crisp freshness of winter air is really calming.

  • Fred Smith

    I was wondering why there aren’t more people about and then I thought about how cold you said it was – I still think there are a lot of people in your city missing out!

    • Dottie

      I agree! But it is nice to have the whole place to myself. :)

  • Kathy

    I saw a little animal cross your path from right to left just north of Fullerton. Did you happen to see what it was?

    • LGRAB

      Yup, the little animal was a squirrel. :)

  • Dennis_Hindman

    This may seem a little off topic, but there’s a unusally talented singer/guitar player named Kez Ban who was shown last week auditioning on American Idol. Although she stated that she’s from North Carolina on the show, she lives in Chicago. She played guitar and sang a kind of bluesy/folk song she calls Azure Skys that mentions wandering through that pouring rain and Chicago snow that can also give a sense of what it feels like bicycling (I’m originally from downstate Urbana) Here’s a link to a longer version of her doing the song in a kitchen:

    She also sang a great version of the Walt Disney Pinocchio song “I’ve got no strings” in her audition.

    While she lived in Dearborn Michigan Kez Ban someone made a video of her performing a stunning version of a Bob Dylan song called the Ballad of Hollis Brown thats posted under the title “Murder Ballad of Hollis” on YouTube.

    • Dottie

      She has a great voice, thanks for sharing.

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  • Tom Reingold

    Your exuberance is so cheerful. I’m so glad you enjoy your commute. It looks lovely by the lake. It’s been cold here in New Jersey, too, though not as cold. I’ve been riding my bike a little. Better to ride a little than not at all. And as they say in Minnesota, there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.

  • Taneshia

    This is so inspiring Dottie:) I’ve been following your blog since 2009 when I bought my Schwinn cruiser (unfortunately it was stolen 9 months later that same year). I since replaced that one with a another Schwinn.

    You are such an inspiration. I wish I lived in a more bike friendly city like Chicago. Memphis is horrible for biking but they are starting to make some changes. We now have about 50 miles of bike lanes in the city but we can seriously do better.

    Hopefully I can ditch the car and bike to work in the near future. Right now I just don’t feel safe doing so.