If you’ve lived in one of those snow-laden states where plows regularly clear the streets and making a snowman is no big deal, then you know all about icy cold. But here in the Pacific Northwest, we have a different version of cold to contend with: Wet, chilled to the bone, and very wet. Did we mention wet?
Either you can stay inside and go stir crazy, or you can build your resilience and make it through the winter with relative ease. It’s not easy, but we’ve got a few tips to help you enjoy this season.
1) PLANS DON’T CHANGE
You had plans to go out with your friends on a 50 mile ride, but it’s raining. Go anyway. Maybe you shorten the distance, but you still go.
When you start cancelling everything you had planned to do, a defeated demeanor begins to swell within you. Winter sucks. Rain ruins everything. But if you stick with the plan, even a modified version of it, you feel victorious. Take that, rain! You can’t get us down.
2) PLAN FOR RAIN
Heading out on a clear day? Don’t get your hopes up. It’s going to rain later. Nearly guaranteed.
Pack your basic rain gear, nearly everywhere you go. The skies might look bright, but in Oregon it’s bound to rain, at least a little, nearly every day of winter.
If you don’t wind up needing your rain gear, great – it was an unusually clear day! If you do wind up needing it, you’ll be glad you brought it along.
3) HAVE GOOD SYSTEMS
Gear shouldn’t be an afterthought. Just like sunscreen, outdoor beers and gardening are part of your summer routine, dealing with rain gear should be part of your winter routine.
Have a good place to store your gear to dry, make your gear easily accessible, know how you’re going to pack your gear when you’re not wearing it (for later, remember, it’s probably going to rain on your way home) and don’t feel burdened by having to carry extra stuff with you. Once you embrace that gear will always be with you, it quickly becomes no big deal. Even if you generally prefer to travel light.
4) REWARD YOURSELF
Did you brave a particularly cold and rainy day? You’re a badass. Reward yourself with a hot toddy, warm bath, relaxing on the couch, a good book or whatever else helps you relax and warm up. Stay for an extra drink at the bar, order in pizza, sleep in late – you earned it.
5) SMILE AS YOU RIDE
Smiles are contagious. When you let a little smile creep through as you ride, not only are you likely to spark something within the other bikers you pass, but you’ll also be visually informing everyone else that biking in winter is totally doable. Sure, it’s not your preferred way of riding, but it’s also no the end of the wold.
So when you find yourself grumping along your ride, remind yourself to smile, even that tiny bit.
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS?
How do make it through the drudgery of winter? Share your tips below.