Prepare for snow cycling in the Bay Area

Terrifying snow photo credit pedbikeimages.org / Max Bushell
With forecasters predicting snow at sea level in the Bay Area, commuting cyclists like myself are understandably a bit trepidatious. Will the pressure in my tires drop so low that I'm riding on rims? How can I pedal with a frozen chain? Can I mount a plow of sorts to my front fender, to clear the snowdrifts off the Guadalupe Trail? I'm sure such fears are racing through the minds of many readers, so I've compiled a helpful list of snow-cycling tips and tricks:

  • Wear gloves – Your hands are crucial for safe cycling in any weather, especially in a snowpocalypse. If your fingers are numb or frostbitten, it will be very difficult to bike dance.
  • Check your tires – Knobby tires are helpful in snow. The internet tells me that snow can often hide ice underneath, so I'm looking into bike tire studs. You can't fool me, snow!
  • Be Dutch – Nothing stops cyclists in The Netherlands. It's no wonder they always picked warm places to colonize!
  • Pack smart – Winter weather can freeze water bottles, making the danger of dying from thirst very real. The solution? Booze! With a freezing point well below that of water, a canteen full of cocktail will stay drinkable. You'll appreciate it when an avalanche cuts you off from the rest of the peninsula!

That's about all I've got for handy snow riding tips. To be honest, San José is the farthest north and the farthest from the ocean I've ever lived, so to me snow is about as alien as, well, aliens. I'm just going to be sure I keep food, “water,” and flares in my bag. I'm thinking of arming myself, too, as Hollywood has shown me that snow makes children ruthless and violent. If anyone has better advice, leave it in the comments.

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