Would you ride in below 0 weather?
I like to ride in cool crisp weather but this is extreme. Fairbanks Alaska has a surprisingly hardcore bicycling group. I'm not taking roadies who like to pound the hills wearing spandex and riding a carbon fiber Trek Madone but instead a commuter. A hardcore Fairbanks Alaska commuter. Multiple layers of clothing and steel frames. Carbon fiber not wanted in the temperatures of 20-40 below zero.
Many people choose to live anywhere from 5-25 miles from Fairbanks and live in a cabin with no running water. The rent is cheap and some of these cabin dwellers commute by bicycle. Some commute by bicycle year round. Most people cannot imagine riding in weather when the thermometer dips to 20 below zero but Fairbanks has its fair share of guys and girls that do it including some students at the University Of Alaska Fairbanks.
The cabins are heated by burning wood. Your bathroom is an outhouse unless it is too cold then you use a bucket inside. These hardcore winter bikers that live in cabins make Charles Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie look like he has an easy life.
Many college students in the lower 48 states have trouble making it to class each day. Some of these students would miss class even if it was held inside their dorm room. In Fairbanks Alaska some of the college students ride 5-20 miles daily year round into class. It really is a different breed of person in Alaska.
Winter commuting in weather that would keep us bicycle riders in the lower 48 from even venturing outside is not always a necessity. Alaska also has a fair share of bikers who's only form of transportation is the bicycle but Alaska also has many more recreational cyclists. In fact Fairbanks has a club that meets for Sunday mountain bike trail rides during the winter! Riding bikes is fun, even in the winter time, but this type of strenuous Sunday activity seems like it would give a person a good reason to go to church.
Cold weather, bright sun, fresh snow pack, and these bikers find it ENJOYABLE to go ride in snow. If you find your legs a bit weak in the spring because you did not ride during the winter then maybe you should consider moving to Fairbanks Alaska and going on the weekly winter Sunday bicycle ride. Your Guaranteed to have muscular legs come spring time if you avoided frostbite and moose attacks during your winter bicycle commute.
The grueling riding conditions these Alaskan bikers cycle in would make most of us lower 48 cyclists hide like cowards in the corner crying. Instead these Alaskans commute year round by bicycle and or gather for the winter trail rides and prepare for the summer months with cool jobs such as pedaling the Minnie Moose Pedicab around Fairbanks.
The bicycle is the only mode of transportation for many people in the world. Alaska is no exception.
Image Credits: (Flickr/substack)(Flickr/ffg)(Flickr/substack)(Flickr/lesscrafted)(Flickr/dennis and aimee jonez)(Flickr/wheeldog)