Since we moved up the country we no longer have handy access to a car. Back in our old city we were close to husband’s family and, if we needed a car for something, we could ask my father-in-law or brother-in-law and would more often than not be given a lift to do whatever it was we needed to do.
Now we don’t have that. And as we don’t expect to buy a car of our own any time soon we’re fairly reliant on ourselves to get around. For the most part we cycle. We’ve taken the bus a couple of times, and walked to the closest shop, but cycling is by far the best option for us.
Cycling is quicker than walking, and actually for most routes is quicker than the bus too! It’s certainly healthier than taking the bus, not to mention cheaper.
That said there are some expenses associated with cycling, and particularly with getting ourselves prepared to cycle when winter properly arrives. Finnish winters are cold. Like, -25 degrees, or colder even. (That’s -13 for those of you that work in Fahrenheit.)
We’ve prepared ourselves for winter cycling by acquiring by making sure we have good outdoor clothes. We recently each got some under wear (I don’t mean underwear…), almost like pyjamas in look, that can go under our normal clothes when we go out in the colder weather. We also bought toppahousut (winter outerwear trousers that are wind and waterproof) as well as wind-proof gloves. Another buy was fleece masks which should help prevent us from freezing our noses off!
We both already have good winter jackets and shoes. Of course we have various scarves, gloves and hats. And plenty of socks for layering up (although I’d love some nice woolen socks…)
We’re also going to need to get winter tyres. And get the bikes checked over to make sure they’re up to the task of cycling through the winter. I’ll admit those aren’t expenses I’m looking forward to… But still, cheaper than buying a car!
We’re pretty lucky really. The cycle paths in our new city are very good. The routes to my workplaces are (for the most part) well lit. And as I understand it the cycle routes are usually well maintained even through the winter, so I won’t have to fight through huge snow drifts to get to work.
And of course cycling is healthy. It can be a very good work out, utilising many different muscles. Generally speaking I’m not cycling super long distances – my primary workplace is about 2km away, and the furthest workplace is only about 6km. When we go out at weekends for running errands and doing shopping we tend to cycle longer distances, primarily because we plan going around many different places in one day. Last week, for example, we cycled a total of 24km, and the time before that it was about 18km.
I imagine those long trips will become even less frequent as the weather gets colder and the paths icier. But it’s nice to know that we’re prepared, in any case.
This post was loosely inspired by today’s daily prompt, because I wasn’t sure what to write about initially.
Do you cycle throughout the year? How do you deal with the extremes of weather (such that they are in your locale)?