winter biking

I can smell the cold when I step outside. The clean and brittle smell carries the smoke of the wood fire that heats a church on my block. The winter scent wakes me up more than the cold itself. I touch the cold metal of locks and free my bike.

I only started riding a bike in New York City a year and a half ago. I’d always been too chicken to ride in the street before. With the proliferation of bike lanes, I bought a bike from my neighborhood shop Recyle-a-Bicycle and started bike commuting to my office. Now you can’t get me off it. Only a downpour will get me back onto the slow and jammed-packed crosstown bus.


I’ve discovered the trick to being comfortable is to keep the feet, neck and especially the hands warm. I wear an ample wool cowl that I knit myself that you can pull up to cover your face in the biting wind. You can get the free pattern here in the post Winter Knits for Biking.

Oona modeling the super warm knitted bike cowl

Oona modeling the super warm knitted bike cowl

I wear double gloves, but in the warm hands department, these win. The food delivery guys have developed an ingenious system of using plastic bottles and bags to block the wind from the handlebars. Maybe soon we will see fancy versions of these contraptions for sale in the high-end bike shops.

delivery bikes outfitted with plastic bag windbreakers

delivery bikes outfitted with plastic bag windbreakers



8 thoughts on “winter biking

  1. I just recently started following your blog. I travel to visit to see what makes a locale unique but, more importantly, to see how people live, what they do in the everyday life, how they interact with each other in their community, etc., so I am truly enjoying what you write about. Thank you very much for giving me a glimpse of your world. ( I live in Texas).

  2. I live in Portland, OR where a great percentage of the population commutes by bicycle, but I have been too afraid to try it myself. I’ll ride on quiet little neighborhood streets but something about riding right along with cars freaks me out. And we have bike lanes! Maybe I should give it a chance though, since you did and you love it now.

    And those plastic bag windbreakers are so funny! I haven’t seen that here but I’m sure it’s because of our milder temps.

    • Hello Amberly, Thanks for reading. Believe me, if I can do it, anyone can. I am what they call a nervous driver. For the first month, every ride was a white-knuckle one. But I got used to it and now its just fun. Just remember, if you hit a spot where it is too scary, you can always get off the bike and walk it on the sidewalk. I recommend a hybrid bike. They are good communter bikes, sturdy and comfortable.

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