winter cycling and the return of nerp
This is Nerp (the bike above, that is). Nerp (named so by my husband for no other reason than it sounding silly) was my first ‘commuter bike’. In fact, this above shot was my first velocouture picture snapped back in May of 2009. I received Nerp about six years ago from my parents back when I was a grad student pursuing my Masters. I rode Nerp a few times from home to campus back in 2004, but never quite took to the idea. Then, in 2009 during the summer before my move to Germany, I was inspired to give cycling another try. And this time I loved it.
I would credit my husband with much of my change in attitude. As an avid recreational cyclist, he made riding our bikes together on trails fun and exciting. And although I’m the one that inspired him to take cycling past its recreational scope and use it for transportation as well, he’s the one that made me enjoy getting on a bike again to begin with.
After rediscovering Nerp in the summer of 2009, the seed was planted and I became increasingly bike obsessed. I didn’t get to ride a bike as much as I now wish I had during my stay in Europe (file under: things I would do differently now) but I did get to take a few very memorable bike trips through Munich and Prague. Once I returned to the US, I was eager to get back on a bike and give bike commuting another try. That was this past summer when I also began this blog as a way to reflect on my newfound interest and to connect with others sharing my enthusiasm for cycling and bikes.
Once I caught the cycling bug, I pretty quickly discovered what I wanted in a commuter bike and poor Nerp just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I upgraded to an Electra Cruiser initially, which then got replaced by a vintage Raleigh Sports, that has since been supplemented by a Raleigh Grand Prix roadbike and a Peugeout mixte.
But as winter sets in, I’m hesitant to use my beloved vintage bikes on the snow and ice covered roads because of the possible harsh effects of the salt. So back comes Nerp. With wider mountain bike tires, better traction, and a more abuse-resistant body, he’s a perfect winter bike.
Thus my winter cycling strategy has been to pull out my old beater bike and to keep my other bikes in storage until Spring. I have a pair of plastic fenders that I will be adding to Nerp as well as my lights (from my other bikes) and my new bike bell. And this is what winter cycling looks like these days…
Not very glamorous, I fear, but practical and still surprisingly fun. It was 7 F when I left my house yesterday morning (!!) but with the aid of two pairs of tights, fur-lined boots, several layers, and my big fluffy downcoat I made it to campus unscathed by the wind and cold. And while I still aim to run as often as possible, on the days when I don’t make it, it’s nice to know that I still get some fresh air and exercise just on my way to and from work.
Are you still out there cycling?
If you’re new to winter cycling (as I am), check out The LGRAB guide to winter cycling chock full of excuse-busters and tips and advice, as well as Dave’s post on Portlandize on how to keep warm (and stylish!) from a male’s perspective. Happy riding!