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Coldest Day of the Year Ride

Snow bike
What kind of people don’t like riding their bikes in a Toronto winter? People who have never tried it, that’s who. Even as more and more people choose not to get off their bikes when November comes around, many non-cyclists still view winter cycling as unwise, dangerous, or impossible. So as part of its first Bike Winter campaign to raise awareness of cycling as year-round transportation, the City of Toronto is hosting the Coldest Day of the Year Ride on Wednesday January 30, which they say is statistically, uh, the coldest day of the year. Riders will meet at City Hall at noon and filter down University Avenue toward Metro Hall, where hot refreshments will be awaiting the cyclists, sure to be exhausted after their 10-minute ride.
Cycling in Toronto in the winter isn’t nearly the hardship that people imagine it is. If you dress for the weather, you’ll actually be warmer on your bike than standing at the corner waiting for that cursed bus, sitting in your car waiting for the heat to come on, or brushing an overnight snowfall off your SUV. If you’re a fair-weather cyclist scared off by the thought of riding in the winter, don’t be. Other than the need to wear more clothes, it’s really no different from riding in the summer on most days. Joining Wednesday’s ride would be a good start to proving how easy it is.
And remember this, winter cyclists: if Wednesday is the coldest day of the year, you’re almost over the hump and it’s all downhill from here (downhill is good if you’re on a bike).
Photo by Bitpicture from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.


  • spacejack

    Plus you get to wear those cool cycling gloves that make you look like you’ve got alien hands with 3 fingers.

  • amh

    Winter riding is fun, but dealing with motorists like this guy isn’t.

  • Phill MV

    I tried that, going into November, a couple years back.
    The problem isn’t so much the cold (which IS a bitch), but the amount of heat your body generates that your thick winter coat won’t release.
    Large pools of sweat running down your back and collecting under your arms are not fun.

  • Val Dodge

    The key, as with any cold-weather activity, is not to wear that thick winter coat, but to dress in lighter layers that you can adjust or take off as you warm up. Cycling generates a lot of heat, much more than most people expect. The worst thing you can do is keep it trapped inside a big winter coat.

  • Canadian Ire

    Something I tried this year is putting a cheap pair of off-road tires on my bike for the winter. They function like snow tires, making it a lot less likely that I will slip on a surprise patch of ice.
    It would be great if more cyclists pedaled in the winter. With smaller numbers, cyclists in the winter can be marginalized (literally). Since when is a bike lane a snow depository? Or a parking lot?