Neither Snow Nor Rain Can Keep D.C. Bicyclists off the Roads

As colder temperatures and adverse weather descend on the District of Columbia, Ashley Halsey III finds that the city's emerging bicycling culture endures.
November 26, 2012, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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By many measures, D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare program has been a resounding success. As Halsey notes, "[t]he proliferation of new bike lanes and trails in the District and surrounding counties has encouraged commuting by bicycle and won the city a rating as one of the nation’s most bike-friendly places."

However, to rise to the ranks of the global biking elite, D.C. must sustain a year-round cycling community, like Copenhagen or Amsterdam. “In countries that have a very strong bike culture, they don’t think of it as recreational or a pastime or seasonal — it’s something you do to get from A to B. It’s how you get around,” said Chris Eatough of BikeArlington. “In Copenhagen, one of the top bike cities in the world, they have kind of crummy weather year around, and in winter it snows and it rains and it’s cold, but in Denmark that’s how most people get around. It’s part of your lifestyle.”

So how does D.C. stack up? "Riding right through winter is becoming a lifestyle choice for Washington cyclists, too," reports Halsey. "Although numbers are hard to come by, it has been evident to the eye of anyone downtown during the first cold days this winter."

Halsey speaks to a couple of the hearty souls that brave the region's winter weather for advice on the gear, and mindset, it takes to stay in the saddle in a 30 degree rainstorm. 

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Published on Sunday, November 25, 2012 in The Washington Post
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