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I commuted to work by bike for 40 years. Now that I am 62 and retired, I still use a bike daily as my principal mode of transportation.

The obvious question is why? There are a myriad of reasons: from staying fit and healthy (I never needed to take a sick day), to saving money (we are a one-car family), to helping the environment. Mostly though, I just enjoy being outdoors and getting about at a relaxed pace. It is my “me” time — to plan, to regroup, and (mostly) enjoy.

The Weather

Before 2000, I commuted by bike 8 months out of the year, driving only during the dark and cold wintery months. Then, in the summer of 2000 an inspiration hit me to ride across America. I pooled vacation time, and had a blast every one of the 52 days. Furthermore, I garnered the skills and confidence I would need to ride in all kinds of weather.

So, starting in the winter of 2000/2001, I no longer counted down the days until I could ride again in late February. I rode every day and was energized — no more feeling SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). In order to facilitate winter riding, I shifted my workday by an hour — 8 to 4 instead of 9 to 5, to maximize the daylight for commuting 10 miles to and from work. After a few years of year-round riding, I even gave away my car!

I know, you’re wondering about snow, rain, and icy conditions. Is it really safe to bike in all kinds of weather? You definitely have to be properly equipped, and some rides are a bit scary (see below), but having ridden through a hurricane, several snowstorms, and on black ice, I feel confident enough to handle pretty much any weather event. I may have to wait out a lightning storm once in awhile or call for a ride occasionally, but that is rare.

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