Before you hang up your bike for the winter, Councillor Shawn Menard wants Ottawa residents to consider biking all year long.
“It’s a bit more hearty of a ride,” says Councillor Menard, who winter-bikes regularly. “It’s great. For me it’s faster than walking, it’s faster than transit.”
For those looking to make biking a year round habit, this may be the time to start pedaling. The National Capital Commission announced it will plow an extra kilometre of bike lanes in the downtown core this winter season. This should give cyclists easier access to the Portage Bridge up to Mackenzie Avenue.
Menard says he’s happy with the decision and calls it a good connection route between Ottawa and Gatineau. “We could use a hundred kilometres not just the one but it’s good to see some progress being made there.”
Gearing up for a frosty cycle
With the right gear, Menard says cyclists will enjoy how quickly they can travel around the city in the winter months, at a fraction of the cost of other transit options.
He suggests cyclists who are new to winter biking get:
· An old beater bike with studded tires
· Snow pants and a hat for those colder days
· Ski goggles for days when visibility may be a problem
· Bright colours to make sure everyone on the road can see you
For many would-be winter cyclists, the hardest moment will be getting on the bike for the first time on a chilly morning, but Menard says it passes quickly.
“Once you try, its really, really nice.”