Winter can be a challenge. Late sunrises and early sunsets can make the daily commute even more of a slog. It’s also harder to find reasons to get outdoors. We seem to want to eat more and exercise less. Utility bills go up and the holiday season can leave our wallets pretty slim.
Riding a bike this winter is an especially smart move for those looking to stay active while saving money. The costs savings over owning and fuelling a vehicle are obvious; and it’s cheaper than transit too.
Here are four tips to help you get started.
If you don’t have your own bike, you can sign up for the Mobi by Shaw Go bike share. Their 365 Day Pass Standard is $120, which works out to $10.75 a month. That’s a monthly savings of almost $85 over a 1-Zone transit pass. Between October and April, pedalling instead of cramming onto the bus or SkyTrain could save you almost $600. Plus Vancity members are eligible for discounted annual passes ($30 off the 365 Day Pass Standard), making the cost-savings potential even greater.
If you are nervous about city riding, sign up for an accessible Ride the Road class like this one for only $30. Through classroom and on-road training, you’ll learn about the safest place on the road to ride, how to maneuver your bike effectively, how to communicate with other road users, safety tips and more.
If you bike, you can scale back on gym and fitness classes to save. Even riding at a leisurely pace, a 30-minute bike ride burns about 200 calories. Make that a daily two-way trip to say work and back with a few hills and you can feel good about that huge slice of pumpkin pie.
Talk to anyone who rides or runs during the winter and they’ll likely agree that it doesn’t rain quite as much as we think. The refreshing air and extra sunshine are sure to improve your energy and productivity.
4. Gear up
Add fenders and waterproof gear to stay dry.For those days when the rain does fall and the sun sets at 4 pm, some fenders on your bike and a simple pair of waterproof pants, boots, and jacket will keep you drier than you’d be after dashing from the parking lot to work. A bright pair of front and rear lights will keep you safe on the road as well. There are several local shops that sell affordable rain gear.
So consider trying all-season bike commuting – you can save money, time, and feel like a kid again as you splash through puddles this fall and winter.