I think January is the hardest month to bicycle through. If you live north of the Gulf Coast, you’re likely to see some snow and ice. The further north you go, the more of it you see. It’s cold…everywhere. The wind can be brutal. It’s also mostly dark, even though the equinox is behind us and the days are finally starting to get a little longer.
I also think January is the coolest month to bicycle. For one thing, it’s a lot safer and more comfortable than it used to be. New bike styles and high tech fabrics allow us to navigate terrain that used to be off limits. Snowpacked streets (or downhill mountain runs) are no big deal on a fatbike. Even ice can be handled with studded snow tires. Goretex keeps us dry and all sorts of other radical gear keeps us warm well below zero. We can get booties for our toes, lobster claws or bar mitts for our fingers and a balaclava for our face. Reflective fabrics keep us safe after dark.
Riding in January comes with its own special rewards and for this reason alone I highly recommend it. Winter’s embrace is magical when you choose to be part of it instead of protecting yourself from it. Winter really is a wonderland.
The world is a bit more peaceful now. If you ride on trails, you probably have them mostly to yourself. While other people are punishing themselves in the gym, you’re outside with nature having fun. Riding a bicycle may convey health benefits, but it never feels like a workout. Not enough, you say? For you, there’s rule #9.
Regardless of why you do it, I hope you decide that this is the year you start cycling in January. Join me. Start today. I’m heading out as soon as the sun comes up. I hope to see you on the road or trail. Happy New Year.