Let’s face it: When it rains, it can be hard to want to be on your bike. Fortunately most areas of Oregon have relatively mild winters, but the dampness surely can be a mental barrier to biking.
Try these tips for staying active through the winter.
1. Invest in Gear
Quality gear is a wise investment that will last you for many years to come, especially if you treat it well.
2. Keep Your Gear on the Ready
Designate a place to air and dry out your gear that makes it easy to grab when you’re headed out the door. Keep your lights charged/powered and on or near your bike. Keep your bike lock key on your master keychain.
3. Join a Club
Oregon is filled with riding clubs, and these groups offer a sense of camaraderie that’s sure to keep your wheels spinning. Whether you’re fast or slow, in Portland, Salem or Pendleton, there’s surely a club that’s right for you.
4. Sign Up for Supported Rides
Signing up and paying creates a sense of obligation like nobody’s business – even better if you rally a group of friends to join you.
If the registration fee is a barrier, check out the website early for volunteer positions that will allow you to ride for free. In most cases, the events are fundraisers for non-profits, so you can feel good about where your money is going.
5. Set Modest Goals
Life is full of challenges, so there’s no reason to make this a monstrous task. Set modest goals that you can feel be proud of conquering, and reward yourself for going the extra mile.
6. Rewards Rule
Did you bike through the rain 10 miles to work AND run grocery errands? Way to go – you’re a rockstar! Be sure to pick up some treats while you’re at the store.
7. Soak and Relax
You’ll make it though that rainy, chilly ride much more easily if you know the prospect of a hot bath or warm house awaits. Relax, read a book and warm up after your challenge rides.
8. Swap Stories
Conversing or commiserating with other riders does wonders for keeping you on your bike. Velo Cult (42nd and Sandy in Portland) has become the winterime go-to spot for bikers, and you’re sure to find a good drink and great company on any given day, especially during traditional after work hours. They feature pour-over fine coffees and a huge selection of craft beer.
9. Choose Your Routes Wisely
Taking the most direct route possible while being safe is generally a good way to go, unless it’s a lovely afternoon and you’re up for a meandering scenic tour. In the dark days of winter, it’s particularly important to ride on safe roads where you’re a comfortable and confident member of traffic.
10. Smile. We’re Serious.
Did you know that there mere act of smiling has been proven to brighten your mood? When biking, it has the added effect of rubbing off on other bikers and showcasing to drivers that biking isn’t all that bad. So even if the rain is beating down, whistle a little tune and pat yourself on the back for being a warrior.