During the warmer months, it's easy for fed-up motorists and CTA riders to ditch their usual mode of transport for bikes. But has the ice, snow and sleet of the past several weeks shoved newbie cyclists off the road?
The numbers obviously drop off once the weather gets fierce, but biking advocates like Howard Kaplan, 45, an occupational therapist who has two-wheeled through Chicago winters for years, says he's impressed that so many new riders have stuck it out even when "the city decided clearing the snow was not in the program."
Motorists may think cyclists are nuts for battling slick, dark, frigid conditions. But attorney Dorothy Brackett, 27, says "I'm actually warmer on the bike than I would be waiting on an el platform or for a bus."
Ms. Brackett started biking to work along the lakefront last spring. After a tumble on an icy road recently, she invested in studded tires.
Leah Neaderthal, 28, a marketing manager for Chicago-based Savo Group, runs an online community for the city's cyclists at www.thechainlink.org. In a recent survey of its members, nearly 75% of respondents planned to keep biking in winter.
Morgan Bryan, 41, a banker who has biked to work since the summer from his North Side home, says winter biking is less difficult than it looks. "If you can get past the first few seconds of it being cold outside, it's a no-brainer," he says. "I wondered at first, 'Will I turn around and go back inside?' That hasn't happened yet."
© 2009 by Crain Communications Inc.