The only times they seem to notice



Any other avid bike commuters out there wonder why our co-workers and friends seem to ask if we rode to work when the weather is lousy?  I commute by bicycle well over 100 days a year, but the only times I seem to get asked about it is if it is pouring rain, icy, bitter cold, or heavy snow. Typically, the phrase is, “So, did you ride your bike today, Rick?”

Perhaps they are just trying to make idle conversation. Or, perhaps they are just trying to be funny or edgy, but I usually laugh the comment off and/or make a flippant remark back, even if I had no intention of riding in such lousy weather. Usually, I will say  something to the effect of:

  • “Sure, didn’t you?” or
  • “Yep, just pedaled once, hit the brakes, and slid the whole way here.” (when it’s icy)
  • “Damn, I would have, but I left my speedos in the dryer.” (often made in the winter)

These responses usually elicit an odd, yet humorous look on their face that makes me laugh inside at the reaction.  I’m a reasonable and rationale person. While I will ride in certain inclement weather, I definitely do not ride in lightning storms, hurricanes, ice storms, blizzards, tsunamis, or a tornado warning.

I guess the issue I have with these inquiries is why doesn’t the question come up in good weather? There are so many glorious sunrises I get to see; so many fresh, airy breezes I get to feel on my face; so many bird songs I get to hear; so many smiles I get to enjoy when I ride my bicycle to and from work, why wouldn’t everyone want to experience those joys as often as possible? All I know is the that days I don’t ride, I miss it. Perhaps it’s that yearning for the youthful freedom of riding a bicycle that leads others to ask if I rode or not in inclement weather? For they truly are envious of my great, good fortune.


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4 Responses to The only times they seem to notice

  1. Tim Potter says:

    Excellent post Rick. You eloquently summarized many of the often overlooked and under appreciated reasons why I ride my bike every day no matter the weather, of course for approx. 4 months of the year I drive in to a south campus commuter parking lot and then ride my winter bike (stored in my vehicle to keep it nicer and dry) in the short mile into my workplace to save another $500/ yr. in parking fees to support my bicycling.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I get those questions, and I think people might be trying to figure out if bike commuting is REALLY a viable alternative to driving, or is it just something we do in good weather. (In which case, bike commuting can be written off as not reasonable to even TRY, because you’re going to end up driving anyway once in awhile, so why bother?) Of course, most of us have a back-up plan for when we don’t want to bike, can’t bike, need to carry something very large, need to use another mode in the middle of the day, etc. Paying for parking in the public lot once a month, or taking the bus when the weather is really nasty seems pretty easy to me.

    You will also get questions like, “What do you do in winter?” Or “What if it rains?” My answer to those hypotheticals is, “Oh, I don’t go outside in the winter.” and “I don’t go to work when it rains.”

    My favorite question is, “Don’t you get cold in the winter?” Yes, but I also get cold scrapping the car windshield, waiting for the bus, walking to the corner pub, and shoveling the sidewalk. I XC ski and go for walks in deep snow; I am not without clothing for winter.


  3. Art Slabosky says:

    I get the same questions too. If you ride regularly there will be a day when it’s uncomfortable. The joy of being outside operating under my own power outside a big steel box overrides the few really nasty weather events that occur on my commute.


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