bike commuter in michigan snow

RBC: Automotive Technician

This is Ryan from Michigan in the United States. He’s a resilient bike commuter who doesn’t let the snowy winter keep him from pedaling into work.

Occupation: Automotive technician

Commute Distance:3.5-4 miles depending on road conditions.

What got you started?I started commuting because I really love riding bikes, but with a family at home it’s not always easy to get as much riding in as I want. I was at a point when all the riding I was able to do was bike polo. That’s all well and good, but some times a bike enthusiast needs more than just riding in circles. When we moved to our house, I saw my chance to make the shift over to riding every day if I started to commute to work. So I did!

Any bike commuting stories? I get a lot of people yelling at me for this or that, but not too long ago I was riding home, waiting my turn at an intersection and I noticed a vehicle pull up next to me. I saw their window was rolling down during a snow storm so I knew they probably had something to say (I assumed they were going to tell me how they didn’t like whatever it is I did) but, he leaned out, gave me the thumbs up and said “You’re a hero!” I think about it every day I’m out there riding to work, and it makes me smile, knowing that one person out there thinks I’m awesome for doing what I do.

What’s one thing you wish you knew before starting? I wish I knew how rewarding it would be. I’ve been living in places that were bikeable to work, but I always found an excuse to drive instead.

What Kind of Bike: I ride a 1993 Specialized Rockhopper Sport. Right now, it’s got front and rear racks, fenders, studded tires, pannier bags, the works. I got it as a trade with a coworker. I had pretty cool 26″ fixed gear/ SS that I rode to work one day just to shake it down after buying it off the side of the road. He liked it so much he offered to swap for the Rock Hopper he was gonna sell me.

What gear do you routinely carry? Since it’s winter, I’m definitely carrying a lot more than I normally would. My bike carries a pannier bag, mini pump, tube, lock, straps, and something to cover my saddle. Oh, and my lunch! On my person, I have a Fanny pack (934 bagworks) with tools for any repairs I may need to do, bandana, lip balm, and hand creme.

Any tips for bike commuting in the winter? Layer up! I already had most of the gear I needed to stay warm for snowboarding, so transitioning to winter riding wasn’t so bad for me. A nice base layer, gloves, and a windproof jacket can go a long way. Im still trying to find the right combo to stay warm without over dressing and sweating. 9/10 when I get to work, I’m still warmer than I would be if I drove.

Final words you want to share about bike commuting? If I had one thing to add, it’s that it’s not as difficult as it seems. Try riding to work on the weekend, see what it’s like. It’s fun!

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