Stay comfortable biking while cutting detour traffic | PostIndependent.com

Stay comfortable biking while cutting detour traffic

Carla Jean Whitley
cj@postindependent.com

Wind, rain or sunshine, Clare Fuller has a system down pat. Fuller commutes by bicycle from her West Glenwood home to Alpine Bank on 23rd Street from May to November, and as weather permits on days between.

"I'm pretty into trying to save this planet, so to me, more than exercise, more than avoiding the traffic, it's just one less car out there," Fuller said. "As long as I'm able to ride, I'm going to do it."

As summer gives way to fall and temperatures drop, she finds herself increasing the number of layers she wears.

That's one of the top tips Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates and others offer for transitioning a bike commute into colder weather. With the Grand Avenue bridge detour set to continue through mid-November, more riders than usual may be interested in braving the elements. Fuller said she expected mayhem as more people joined her on the bike paths, but GSBA volunteers have helped keep people safe and informed.

Adam Storey, an employee of Sunlight Bike & Ski, recommends a base layer, thermal layer and waterproof layer.

"That's going to keep you dry, and if you're dry you're going to be warm, and if you're warm, you're going to be having a good time," he said.

Recommended Stories For You

Shoe guards can protect feet, and forearm sleeves can be removed as you ride. Some days start with snow or rain but end with warmer temperatures; Fuller often finds herself wearing many layers on her ride to work but peeling down for the commute home. That's when panniers or other storage options are useful, Storey said.

Steve Smith of Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates advises setting out wearing one less layer than you might think you need.

"The first few blocks of riding will readily warm the body; starting just a bit chilled will keep you from overheating," he wrote.

Smith also recommends fenders to keep moisture and mud off both the bike and rider. A quick-attach tail shield is also an option.

Fuller and other commuters must also account for changes in light. She stops riding for the season when darkness overtakes her commuting hours. But during the summer, headlights and taillights are still useful for increasing visibility.

"While lights certainly are essential in dark night, they are perhaps even more valuable early and late in the day," Smith wrote. "Those are the times of heavier traffic, when being visible is key to safe travel."

What to wear

Layers: Include a base layer that wicks sweat, your normal dress layers, insulating wool or fleece and top with a wind shell or rain jacket.

Headgear: Don’t forget layers for the part of body that loses the most heat. Consider a stocking cap, and pull the hood of your torso layers tight. Be sure to adjust your helmet to accommodate.

Gloves: Layer up to keep your hands comfortable. They’re key to shifting and braking, and so they’re essential to maintain control of your bike.

Lights: Headlights and taillights range in lumens (the amount of light they project) and cost. The brighter the better, but any light is better than none.

Source: Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates

Detour Appreciation Day

Oct. 31, 6:30-8 a.m. The City of Glenwood Springs will distribute bike headlights and taillights and pedestrian flashers during an Oct. 31 Appreciation Day. The event is in anticipation of the Nov. 5 switch to Mountain Standard Time. Cyclists, walkers and transit riders can take advantage of the giveaways at Two Rivers Park, the Grand Avenue Pedestrian Bridge and the RiverTrail at 23rd Street and Grand Avenue.