For a Safe, Sub-Zero Commute

SustainabliTEA Presents: Winterize Your Bike

Bike courier Cam Novak, founder of former Montreal courier company Cycle-Bird, actually prefers biking in the winter. Photo by Corey Pool.

You know you’re Canadian when the temperature is at -20 degrees Celsius, it’s snowing, and you’re still biking to class.

Sure, there’s potential to slip on the ice, and you’re almost guaranteed to be damp for the next few hours, but for a lot of Montrealers, winter biking is still preferable to riding the metro.

That’s why SustainabiliTEA—in coordination with Concordia bicycle groups Allego, the Little Red Bike Shop and Right to Move—is hosting the “Winterize Your Bike” event on Tuesday, Nov. 6 in the Library Atrium at Concordia.

“We want to make it easier for people who would like to ride their bike all year ‘round,” said SustainabiliTEA Organizer J.P. Plourde. “Because now that the Maisonneuve bike path is open all year round, people have better access to school. We want to encourage people to bike all year ‘round.”

The workshop aims to educate experienced and hopeful winter riders about things they can do to make winter biking easier, safer for the cyclist and less damaging to your bicycle.

“Mainly, people have a hard time adapting to the cold. It also gets slippery and there are cars. I’d say those are two of the main issues,” said Plourde. “You have to take more care of your bike during the winter […] because of all the salt and slush. It’s really tough for rust.”

There will also be a group discussion where attendees can raise their personal concerns or issues with winter biking.

Two bicycle commuters, Leon Rivers-Moore and Michael O’Sullivan, said that they gave up winter biking because it was too hazardous.

“If you bike without a mountain bike in the snow you will fall,” said Rivers-Moore.

O’Sullivan agreed, “I used to [bike in the snow] but I fell five years ago and quit.”

Experienced bike courier Cam Novak, founder of former Montreal courier company Cycle-Bird, actually prefers biking in the winter, posting about it on the Cycle-Bird website.

“I believe the danger lies not in the action but rather the person doing the action,” he wrote. “Those who end up getting hurt are either accident-prone anyway or have not yet developed the skills needed for winter cycling.”

In his post, Novak writes that he’s been in several bicycle accidents, but never once in the winter.

“I feel safer in the winter because the cars slow down, Bixis are not running wild in the streets and there are less people walking around outside,” writes Novak. “Winter is in some way, a little vacation from the huge amount of people that frequent the downtown core.”

Winterize Your Bike / Nov. 6 / Library Building Atrium / 4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. / more info