Bike Winter Chicago: A Chicago Mom & Family Show You How It’s Done

As you probably know by now, I’m a year-round rider.  This will be my first winter riding a Dutch bike, but not my first Chicago bike winter by a long shot. There a lot of folks in this city who ride all winter long, and a lot of them get together for winter bike rides, and other bike-friendly events to remind everyone on the road that cyclists don’t go away at the end of September. Check out the Bike Winter website for all the happenings.

While Chicago hasn’t had any real accumulations of snow yet, the temperatures have dropped down to truly wintry levels and we’ve had flurries the last couple of days.  One of our Bike Winter folks sent out this little epistle yesterday detailing her day of winter riding with kids and gear. Something she does pretty much every day, rain or shine or snow. The pictures she sent me are from last winter, but you can be sure that the self-titled “Suburban Hausfrau” will be out there this year as well.

Winter Biking 2010 with Jane

Winter Biking 2010 with Jane

Per Jane her day yesterday went like this:

8:15am Ride daughter to school and drop her off at the door with a kiss. Sail past the line of cars waiting to drop their children off at the curb.  Smile and wave to all the parents walking with their kids.

9:15am Deliver tuna casserole to a friend’s house (she’s in the hospital getting chemo… 5 kids and hubby are at home feeding themselves–oy!). Casserole bungees nicely to rear rack, across grocery panniers.  Room for a loaf of bread and a container of salad within the panniers.
Bonus: saw two fellow bikers go by on Western

10 am Bank and deli run to uptown Blue Island.  Fresh bread, pasta, and lunch meat from Stefanelli’s.  Stop to do some window shopping at local businesses for potential Christmas gifts.  Return two books to the library.  Pay the water bill at city hall.
Bonus:  saw yet another biker, and was not the only bicycle locked up at the library

11:30am Grocery shopping at Aldi. Able to park bike at front door rather than out in the far lot (covered parking! yeah, Aldi). Purchase $86 worth.   When I get home I weigh the bags for grins and giggles:  43 lbs. Thank heavens for rock solid panniers and a moose-like rear rack.

….
Still to come:

2:30 pm Pick up daughter at school

4:45 pm Ride to swim practice (meet tonight)

~8:30 pm. Ride home and get kids to bed!

Made possible by one do-everything bicycle, a good rear rack, two amazing grocery panniers, 2 bungees, 2 cloth bags (to hang off handlebars when needed), one messenger-bag purse, one balaclava, one pair of ear muffs, 2 good hi-viz glove/mittens and one kick-butt awesome Columbia jacket.  Oh, and a helmet.  😀

Seriously, good gear makes all the difference in the world. I would have frozen with the wind today if I hadn’t had face and ear protection.

Happy Winter Sailing… er, Riding!

Jane  <—suburban hausfrau

The Family that bikes in the winter together....

The Family that bikes in the winter together….

Super Snow Jane

Super Snow-Woman!

Here’s proof that families can ride and go about their day to day life on a bike – even in the winter!

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