Learn How to Bike Through a New England Winter

The Boston Cyclists Union is hosting a series of meet-ups to teach riders how to combat the snowy, frigid weather conditions.



Boston Cyclists Union executive director Pete Stidman believes there’s no such thing as bad weather when it comes to riding around New England on a bike—only unprepared people.

“If you plan for it, you can get away with riding in any [weather] situation,” he said.

This month, Stidman and volunteers from the bike-friendly organization will host a series of gatherings aimed at helping people understand these tips and others, so they can get through the treacherous winter season when commuting on their bikes.

“There’s a lot of people who ride through the winter, and it’s not incredibly hard. It’s about trying to do it the right way,” Stidman said.

The inaugural event on October 29, called the “Boston Bike Winter Social,” will be the first of three events, featuring expert riders who are used to taking on the cold when heading to work in the morning, and riding from place to place. Attendees will get advice on how to outfit their bikes properly, dress the part, and show up to where they need to be without either freezing or sweating profusely (it gets hot under a lot of layers, according to those in the know).

The idea to host the socials came from a spat with the Department of Conservation and Recreation last season, after riders protested the fact that park trails went unshoveled, impeding cyclist traffic. State officials argued that not enough people biked during the winter to justify clearing the trails, but they were met with vocal feedback on social media from a group of die-hard cyclists, who expressed the contrary.

“Since there was an uproar about that, we realized winter biking is a real important thing in Boston, and our mission is to promote bicycles, so we should be representing winter biking as well,” said Stidman. “We will get people to sign a pledge, and introduce one another at the social event, and help each other get through the winter.”

The Boston Cyclists Union’s planned meet-ups come at the perfect time, since the question about how to survive a harsh New England winter while on two-wheels seems to be on the forefront of some riders’ minds.

Coincidentally, on Monday morning, someone posted an inquiry on Reddit’s Boston page, asking the community how they get around once the blistering cold and snow starts to creep up on the city. While a majority of that person’s concerns will likely be addressed during the three get-togethers, some offered up their secrets to navigating the streets when they’re covered in slush and slick from the freezing temperatures.

Their advice? Beware of the wind, not the cold. And get some mud guards.

“You want good gloves, a windproof headband that fits under your helmet, a fleece neck gator, and maybe a neoprene face mask,” one person responded. “A change of shoes and socks at your destination is a good idea for when your feet get covered in icy slush during your ride.”

Stidman seems to agree.

“There’s no such thing as bad weather, it’s just bad clothes,” he said.