Preparing For Winter (Bike Edition)

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.


Lady Joyful

Do you cycle throughout the year? How do you deal with the extremes of weather (such that they are in your locale)?

11 thoughts on “Preparing For Winter (Bike Edition)

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    • We just moved to Oulu which is quite far North! Used to live in Lahti which is only about an hours drive from the capital, 500km further South than here.

      This’ll be the first winter that I’ve actually actively cycled in so it will be interesting to see how it goes 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      • Oulu has a reputation in the cycling advocacy world (not cycling racing world), for having a lot of cyclists going through the winter on snow/paths, etc. There was an international cycling infrastructure conference about 2 yrs. ago there.

  6. Ooo, I’m envious that you can ride to work. My work is 26 miles away, over mountains and partway on a major highway. 😦

    I don’t tend to ride in the winter because the town doesn’t do a super-great job of clearing the edges of the road (though the roads are cleared fabulously for cars) and we don’t have many bike-only lanes.

    Write about cycling again in the spring so I’ll be motivated at the right time of year!

    • That does sound like it would be a bit tricky to cycle to work! I’ve not actually cycled in the winter before because I was always worried it would be too cold, and the bus connections were better where we were before. And we would walk to our local shop rather than cycling… I think it’ll be interesting to see how the cycling goes once the snow comes!
      I’ll try to remember to write about cycling again in the spring, just for you 🙂

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