I cannot think of a better way to demonstrate the powerful benefits of Smart Commute, than to highlight its potential during the winter months as well as during fair weather. Most, if not all Smart Commute events seem to be scheduled during times of reasonably nice weather. The problem with an unfailing practice of scheduling of events only during fair weather is that it reinforces the idea that winter is a bad time to partake in active transportation, when in fact it is a great time to do so. Leave the slippery, icy, slushy, and snowy roads to the public transit driver while you sit back, be warm, and relax. Or better yet, stay home and telecommute.
Other options that may be realistic in the winter for those living within a couple of miles of their place of employment or education, include:
- Fat tire bicycling commutes
- X-country skiing commutes
- Snowshoeing commutes
- Skating commutes – very common along the Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada (see photo below)
With less daylight and colder weather, the importance of being physically active greatly increases. Otherwise, our sedentary ways, holiday feasting, and cabin fever can quickly catch up with us. Granted, if its -20F outside, some modes of Smart Commuting should be postponed temporarily, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t ride the train or bus to and from work or school.
Let’s think outside the box, folks, and look for ways to promote Smart Commute year round, and not have it just become a fair weather effort.
Excellent piece (and awesome pics) to encourage more people to embrace the winter instead of complain and dream about spring. One thing I like to point out about biking for transportation in winter is that you generate a lot of heat while riding whereas you’ll be a LOT colder for a longer time while walking or waiting for a bus to get to your destination.
Thanks Tim and good point.
On a related note, the MSU Impact radio station is prepping a radio story about winter cycling for the Exposure segment next Tuesday. There’ll be some web content along with the story; stay tuned! http://impact89fm.org/blog/category/podcasts/exposure/