The Cost of Winter Biking

Winter biking in Minneapolis isn’t for the timid. It’s cold, the roads are both slippery and narrower than usual, and cars aren’t exactly friendly. But Minnesotans are nothing if not hardy, and proud of it. I’ve been biking to work this winter, and here’s what it has cost me:

Winter Tires: $65 each, $130 total. I decided to go with the Continental Winter II tires, because they’re nearly as grippy as studs, fit on the wheels I have, and they were in stock and relatively cheap.

Various bike service odds and ends: $59. I got the winter tires after riding in to work on my normal tires—on 4 inches of snow. When I took my bike in during lunch they also adjusted my brakes, fixed my fender, and replaced an inner tube.

Reflective vest: $5. Spotted a crossing-guard vest at Ikea and got one, thinking I might wear it once or twice. I wear it every day right now.

Helmet with cozy ear flaps: $39.95. Since I was in the market for a new helmet anyway, and this one was on sale, I decided to spring for a helmet with removable fleece ear-flaps.

Goggles: $29.95. Windshield for your face! These have been life-saving. I got a pair of orange-tinted ones so they’d cut glare but still be fine to wear at night.

Total: $263.90*

Taking the bus to and from work every day would cost me $3.50/day or $280 assuming for 16 weeks of winter (which is probably under-estimating).

And really, the insufferable superiority is priceless.

*Note: I didn’t include normal cold-weather gear or normal bike gear—this is only a list of the middle of the Venn diagram.



Liz Niemer lives in Minneapolis, Minn. She tweets (@lemur_niemer) and blogs here and here. Photo: Stig Nygaard



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