The Winter Riders: A Look into the Year Round Bicycle Commuters of Denver

As Spring blooms in the Mile High City amidst high winds and dry weather, I wanted to look back upon some of the bike commuters that brave the sometimes unpredictable winter weather of Denver CO.

Riding for Necessity, Charity

“I want to provide proof that Winter Riding is possible” says local bike activist John Riecke. Speaking to the issues faced on the road, he cited the snow and iciness combined with a lack of bicycle infrastructure as being his biggest hurdles.

Jennifer Medina-Gray, a volunteer with Denver Food Rescue, is another regular winter rider. Being part of a one car household with the car used for her partners job, Jennifer rides out of necessity. “I would love there to be more bike lanes and more attention paid to plowing less traveled roads that bikers often use”. Making contrasts with her former home in New York, she cited the fact that snow melts relatively quickly in Denver versus New York.

Tips for Getting Around

Layers were stressed by both John and Jennifer. “I wear [Sock Brand] Smartwool, and good gloves, the best I’ve found are Kinco Leather mittens” John opined, further stating that generally layers that don’t overheat when you reach the office are also key. “Stay hydrated even though its cold” Jennifer stated, emphasizing the need for both water and warm food to make the ride comfortable. Speaking in regards to a difficult ride in a storm for Denver Food Rescue, Jennifer touched upon her former experience doing wilderness therapy in Vermont. “It just takes some preparation and knowing warning signs for when you need to get warm”.

Winter vs. Summer Riding

Speaking to the differences between winter and summer riding, John spoke to the amount of prep work that is needed for riding. “less stuff to carry, less thought about batteries, riding careful in ice, being forced into traffic due to un[maintained] bike lanes. Despite these issue, John also spoke to the virtues of winter riding, such as the coziness and “magical” feeling that he had on the road “quiet streets, brisk air, cozy clothes, it all comes together to make a pleasant experience.”

To Volunteer for Denver Food Rescue, check them out here.

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