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Winter Cycling Can Be Fun

I've read comments here that people won't ride their bikes in the winter in Michigan, but they might like it if they try it.

Photo of Laura Muresan
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People do all kinds of uncomfortable things for fun or for a challenge (running through mud--and paying for the privilege, wilderness camping, polar bear swims, etc). There's a strong biking culture in Minneapolis, so why not Grand Rapids? I enjoy riding my bike in the winter. I don't bike if there's a sheet of ice or if it's dangerously cold, but most of the time it's quite doable. I have a winter beater mountain bike with knobby tires, fleece-lined wool gloves, and really warm boots, but no pricey equipment. The cold can be invigorating; the relative quiet and slower vehicle traffic when there's snow on the ground make biking restful, even. When it's slushy and gross, riding my bike means my feet don't get wet from walking. The times when it's a tough slog, it's a challenge that makes me feel good about myself when I'm done. I don't travel long distances by bike in the snow, but am up for trips of perhaps six miles or so round trip. I think, if more people tried it, they might find they enjoy it. The mindset that GR shouldn't invest in bicycle infrastructure because it can't be used during the colder months may be there because people haven't tried it. I didn't set out to be a winter rider, but as I got more into cycling, I gradually stretched myself. If we can just get more people on bikes in general, we're bound to see more winter riders.

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Bicycle Action Plan

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Photo of Tom Bulten

Hi Laura: You've contributed MANY useful insights and ideas to this discussion of transportation and mobility. I wonder if you would expand one (or more) of these observations into a proposal for the "Propose" phase of this Challenge. (The Challenge is seeking proposals through September 30 and is providing $100,000 to a winning proposal.) You might consider teaming up with Jill Martindale to submit a proposal about winter bicycle transportation. I'm the online facilitator for the Grand Rapids Challenge. So, let me know if I can help you refine an idea. You can submit a proposal here: https://challenges.cityoftomorrow.com/challenge/grand-rapids/propose/contribute.

Photo of Laura Muresan

Thanks for thinking of me, Tom! While I could come up with ideas, I'm not sure I have it in me to shepherd a proposal through to implementation.

Photo of Tom Bulten

That's understandable :-)!

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