Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter Riding in Burlington VT

Colder than walking? The science isn’t in yet on bicycling in Burlington’s sub-zero windchill.
Old North End resident Hannah Ohlson, 23, adheres to old-school precepts: layer-up, expose as little skin as possible and pedal energetically to generate on-board heat.
Suiting up for a deep-winter midday errand really isn’t much different than preparing for a ski run, she said.
By design, Ohlson seeks out gear that is supremely practical and dead cheap: she subscribes to a bell, but no whistles.
Ohlson, a program manager at local nonprofit Bike Recycle Vermont, helps low-income Vermonters — many of them year-round riders like herself — cobble together cheap, reliable transportation.
Her preferences for mobility derive directly from work. She salvaged a decrepit steel-frame rig to serve as a “pretty bomb-proof” winter ride.
She retained the fenders to ward off slush, and decked it out with studded tires for added traction.
“I like it because if it breaks or gets nasty, it’s not worth a ton,” Ohlson said. But she still keeps it locked up.
A 10-minute ride Thursday yielded a short-term “ice-cream headache,” Ohlson said. Longer errands can be downright toasty.
Ohlson’s colleague at Bike Recycle, Dan Hock, 26, likened the phenomenon to the workings of a diesel engine.
“You turn it on, you run it for a few minutes and pretty soon the whole engine block warms up,” Hock said. “You generate your own heat.”
Contact Joel Banner Baird at 660-1843 Read his blog at and follow him on Twitter
Hannah Ohlson is into bikes, so much so that below-zero temps don't deter her from riding to work at Bike Recycle Vermont on Riverside Avenue or to the store or anywhere else in Burlington she needs to go. The key, she says, is dressing like you are going skiing. / RYAN MERCER/FREE PRESS
Watch the VIDEO after the break.

For Burlington biker, sub-zero temperatures not a problem: Colder than walking? Winter bicyclist Hannah Ohlson of Burlington offers tips on how to remain toasty on the sub-zero streets of Burlington. (Produced by JOEL BANNER BAIRD/FREE PRESS)

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