Encouraging all-weather cycling

In years past, I've written about a group of local cyclists that have banded together to encourage all-weather cycling.

They are the Chicago Bike Winter organization, and they host dozens of cold-weather bike events. The group's Web site,, has a variety of tips about cold-weather riding as well as a full schedule of upcoming events.

The group holds "Snow Biking" on any day of two inches (or more) of new snowfall in Chicago. They meet up at Handlebar Bar & Grill ( at 7 p.m. and head off to some random location to enjoy riding in the Winter Wonderland. All ages/abilities welcome.

I really applaud the work that they're doing to promote winter biking and there are several interesting comments that I gleaned from their site. They feel that winter biking raises your tolerance for cold; is more comfortable than standing around waiting for the bus; and because pollution rises faster in cold air, it's safer to breathe the city air than during the summer. They also point out that among the many advantages of cycling year-round, you don't have to recondition your rear end for sitting on a bike seat again in the spring.

Their advice is that the three most important areas to consider when dressing for cold-weather riding are the feet, the hands, and the head. It's often just as tricky to keep from overheating as it is to stay warm.

Bike bash: All friends of active transportation are welcome to the 2008 Bike Town Bash, Dec. 6 at Epiphany Episcopal Church, 201 S. Ashland Ave. in Chicago.

When it's likely to be cold outside and your bike will have icicles, party with the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation in a Wintergreen Wonderland. Bike Town Bash is the annual fundraising party that benefits the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation's work to grow choices for safe walking, biking and transit in Chicagoland.

There will be food, drinks, entertainment, a raffle, a recycled auction and more. Tickets are $25 and you can find more information at

Save the date: Before I sign off for the winter, I'd like you all to mark June 13-14 on your 2009 calendars.

The 28th annual Bike MS "Tour de Farms" ride benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society will take place that weekend. As a veteran member of the volunteer team helping to plan it, I can guarantee that it's going to be another great one.

For more information, visit or feel free to email

In the meantime, I hope you all have a great winter and aren't afraid to hop on your bike just because it's cold outside. You'll be surprised how quickly you can warm up.

Todd Underwood covers cycling in the Chicagoland area. To contact him, email to or write to c/o Daily Herald, 385 Airport Road, Suite A, Elgin, IL 60123.

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