I’ve been commuting to work on my bike through the winter for a number of years now and thoroughly enjoy it. Occasionally I have used studded bike tires but the majority of the time I instead went with big knobby tires with a lower air pressure than normal. This year I was away at the beginning of winter and when I got home and wanted to get back on the bike, I realized I still had narrow summer slick tires on. While we didn’t have much snow at the time, it was still messy out and after my first ride to work, I realized that I couldn’t safely drive again on my summer tires.
I think one of the most controversial and divisive issues in cycling is the use of helmets and in particular, whether or not their use should be mandatory. The two sides in the debate defend their positions with an almost religious like zeal and I admit that I’ve been very righteous at times in arguments with people defending my position.
What is my position? Well essentially I do not believe bicycle helmets should be mandatory for adults. Kids yes, adults no.
I live in a jurisdiction that brought in a mandatory helmet law in 1997 and while I’ve been against it from the beginning, I’ve recently been trying to see both sides of the argument.
With that said, here’s my personal take on bike helmets.
It was time for a new commuter bike and I wanted a change from the mountain bike (Rocky) I had been riding for the previous few years. Rocky was and still is a good bike but winter riding had been hard on it. I planned to keep it for pulling Burley the trailer but needed something new to get to work and back.
I had heard about the Alfine internal geared hub and was intrigued with the concept, in particular it’s lower maintenance requirements. My thinking was that I wanted a bike with a lower overall cost of maintenance and the internal hub would help by cutting down on dérailleur repairs. I also wanted hydraulic disk brakes on any new bike I got which was another closed system. This category of bikes doesn’t have much to choose from and all I could buy locally were the Rocky Mountain Metropolis NRT, the MEC Hold Steady and the Giant Seek 0. After checking out all the bikes in person, I settled on the Giant and pulled the trigger on buying the 2011 model.
One of the best and most useful gifts I've ever received has been the Burley Nomad bike trailer. I've had this trailer for nearly 4 years now and absolutely love it. In fact sometimes I attach it to my bike and pull i just for the heck of it. I should also add that all my bikes and this trailer have names which I generally use in conversation. There's Gerry, as in "Jerry the Giant" (Giant Seek 0), Rocky(Rocky Mountain Soul) and of course Burley. I realize these names aren't all that imaginative but i usually go with the first thing that comes to my mind (and rhymes somewhat) when I name a new bike,.....or a bike trailer. So the Burley Nomad trailer quickly became known as "Burley" which i will use for the rest of this blurb.
I never planned to ride my bike in the winter. That is, I never said to myself, "Hmmmm,..it's freezing out and there might be flurries of snow, I think i'll ride my bike to work today". No, it just happened. I used to be a person who when i saw someone riding a bike in the winter thought they were crazy. Common sense tells us that a bicycle and winter equal cold, it can't be any other way. But it is, it's one of those times when common sense is turned on it's head.