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I finally pushed myself to bike to work this year, and up until this week managed to make my way to work 4-5 times a week using the bike. Living a 10-15 minute bike ride away from work really encouraged me to try this year, and I'm glad I did. I found it considerably more relaxing, even when riding in traffic, when compared to driving. Unfortunately, living in the Great White North, it has gotten too cold in the morning to bike (or at least it has for me). Temperatures are dipping below 0C, and I'm sure we will see snow soon enough. Bike is on standby mode now until next April or May when the snow is finally gone.

Its still doable even at those temperatures - here is what I do (though I don't use the bike when its snowing, yet):

1. Dress well. Its especially important to fully cover your face (except eyes), ears and hands. Winter hat, scarf, gloves are always mandatory.

Legs may also need good (multi-layered) coverage but its not that critical. The number of layers for the rest of the body varies with the temperature

2. Don't overexert yourself. Avoid getting to a point where you're breathing too quickly or too deeply - this can be painful and can trigger breathing problems. If your breathing starts getting deeper and faster, slow down.

Basically, its much better to overdress and go slower than to under-dress and try to go fast to compensate with body-heat. Most cyclists will claim the contrary, but the contrary only applies after having some experience (or for people who just can't bear to go slow).

3. Carry extra layers of clothes with you. You never know if the layers you need in the morning will be the same as the layers you need in the afternoon.

We have people here that bike year round, even though our temperatures dip well below 0C (we get -25 to -30C on a regular basis, with windchill being -35C to -40C). That is far more effort than I'm willing to put in.

Once it snows, I consider it far too dangerous (though again, there are a few people here that bike in snow w/ studded tires). I only have a bike lane for a short part of my ride, the rest being on 50, 60, and 80kmh roads with no paved shoulder. I don't want to find out what happens if I hit a deep patch of snow, ice, or some cross-winds while a semi is passing me doing 80kmh.

As for your 2nd point, I made that mistake the first time it got close to freezing. By the time I made it to work, I had a tough time breathing.

I'm in Edmonton, which sounds pretty similar to your climate. Except for those few -40 days I've found winter biking to be fairly comfortable once you get moving.

In my experience you don't want to be using a bike lane after heavy snow anyhow; they often don't get plowed. If you can take residential roads you're pretty safe (and studded tires really do make a HUGE difference).

But yeah, you don't want to be on the road with cars going 80km/h - I wouldn't be comfortable doing that every day in the summer, either.

Ah yeah, I'm in Winnipeg. You guys are getting the nice weather this week, while we get around 0C :(

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