219 comments

It’s Winter… Get Out and Enjoy it!

MunetI’ve decided to grant myself the rest of the year off*. But don’t worry, I’m extending the same privilege to YOU as well.

As those of us in the North endure the coldest and darkest days of the year, everything seems to shut down. Some of this is a good thing – the holiday season brings with it plenty of time away from work and school. But some of it is rubbish as well – I am seeing drastically fewer bikers and walkers out there, and parents are even driving their kids to school to protect them from my area’s not-very-punishing winter.

Last month, a friend of mine reported his total biking miles to commemorate “the end of the biking season”, as if there were some imaginary and tragic season when we had to stop using our bikes. And at the risk of causing a domestic dispute, my own wife has started using the climate controlled motorized throne for her weekly grocery run, despite the fact that we live only 1.5 miles from the grocery store. Even YOU might find yourself spending more time indoors in the winter, taking shelter from the discomfort that lurks outside.

Beware of this tendency, for it is a perfect example of Bullshit Lifestyle Creep. You experience discomfort or inconvenience, and your efficient but misguided survival mechanisms kick in, gently nudging you to avoid the discomfort. You stay cozy inside, knitting on the couch or watching a quality series on Netflix, and the winter passes safely by outside your window. And you miss all the benefits she has to offer.

So in case you forgot, let me remind you: going outside is FANTASTIC. Especially in cold or rainy weather.

Sure, you already knew that a stroll outside on a beautiful day is a good thing. Everyone does that, and many of us fly great distances just to be able to have the experience during a Northern winter. But it turns out it is not the warm sunshine that is making that experience so worthwhile – that’s just the comfortable and convenient layer on top. The real benefit is just the fact that you are outside, walking, moving, and working on things as you are meant to be doing. And as it turns out, all of these things are possible in any weather, and they are even more rewarding in adverse conditions.

When you go out in cold and darkness, it is an adventure. You have to prepare in advance. It actually takes some brainpower to strategically design your outfit, because you could die if you spent too long out there without clothes. Do you need a hat? Gloves? Thermal underwear or a wind layer? A mobile phone and flashlight, just in case? Awesome.

You step outside and suddenly your world expands dramatically. There’s the black sky far above.

HELLO.”

Says the moon as it looks straight down at you. Do you realize that thing is 250,000 miles away? And yet it hovers perfectly in the sky, because it’s really whipping around your planet, held by a quarter million mile gravitational bungie cord. That is infinitely more amazing than whatever you were doing before you stepped out for this walk.

But wait, look at all those stars scattered everywhere else. Some of them are really planets in our own solar system – Venus is a big one at 100 million miles away, but the stars of the Big Dipper are 100 light years away, which is more like 590 trillion miles.  And yet there they are, presented for your amusement as you stand there to take it all in.

If you’re lucky, it is damned cold out here. The air bites just a bit at your well-protected cheeks and your mouth can shoot out a good 3-foot plume of steam when you exhale. You start to walk.

Nobody else is out tonight. As you travel down the silent street, you can see the ridiculous lights flashing in the window of every home and apartment. These suckers are all wasting away their precious time watching TV, while you are out here being alive. In our future Badass Utopia, this experience will be different. Everyone will be outside, reverently taking in the beauty of the night and the freshness of the air. Every night will be like a Midnight Mass, with the Cosmos as the host. But for now, you’ve got the place to yourself. You are the pioneer of the evening walk.

This meditative feeling you have is like hitting the mental reset button. All of your stresses, worries and bad moods become less with each step you take. If you do this often enough, they will be gone altogether. But it’s not just the machinery atop your neck that is getting a tuneup, the rest of your body is jumping for joy as well.

Every one of your physical systems is coming alive. Clean blood is circulating through, healing the pipes from the damages of sitting down too long. Fat cells are being drained and deflated, while muscles are pumping up. And the exposure to cold air is having mysterious positive effects on your metabolism and everything else, best summed up as General Badassity.

You might even break into a little jog at this point. The jog feels so good that you keep it up for a while. And just to prove you’re really alive you decide to SPRINT for this next little bit of your journey, just until you reach those two trees way up there. Everything is whipping by now – the air is roaring in your ears and your eyes are watering from the cold wind. You can think of those as tears of joy from your cardiovascular system. You run out of sprint power and return to walking, with heart pumping and steam drifting from all exposed skin, and turn back toward home.

As you return to your warm, bright home you are the hero. Alive, glowing, creative and invincible. You are a mysterious force to anybody who chose the wimpier path of staying inside or taking the car. You are someone who has finally figured out how life is meant to be lived.

Now grab a pen and paper and list a few additional ways you’re going to make your life better from now on.

 

*The Mustache family is headed to Canada for the holiday season until January 6th – Hamilton first, then Ottawa. That’s where you’ll find some real winter night walking weather. Maybe we will even get to band together for an evening walk. Stuff like this shows up on the Twitter feed if you want to click the follow button there. The stream is also presented at the bottom of the blog’s front page.

  • Neil December 23, 2014, 9:07 am

    This post downright inspirational. One of my favorite winter activities is to take a walk around the block during the worst weather possible. Blizzard forecast? Time to gear up, go out and experience that sucker first hand! Invigorating!

    Reply
    • Free Money Minute December 23, 2014, 11:31 am

      Blizzards are great if you don’t have to drive in them. I have to admit that I do not like the winter, but I am going to try to make the most of it this year!

      Reply
      • Dmitri December 23, 2014, 2:38 pm

        You uttered the words “have to drive” on MMM. I feel bad for what’s coming.

        Reply
        • Geek December 24, 2014, 12:28 pm

          It must be hard to be a firetruck or ambulance driver in a blizzard, because you have to drive. Have a little sympathy, Dmitri.

          ;)

          Reply
    • JT (Sarge) December 24, 2014, 9:41 am

      Neil – Couldn’t agree more. Think I will suit the whole family up and head out as soon as the rain here stops! I used to love walking to class in college, especially in the winter. There is something about the calmness of it, especially when the snow muffles the sounds. All of those clowns who ditched or drove to class really missed out. Suckers!

      Reply
      • Diego December 24, 2014, 12:24 pm

        What do you mean, “as soon as the rain stops”?? Man up, it’s just a bit of water! Great feeling, to walk in the rain without an umbrella!

        I’m only half kidding… You’re missing out, really :-)

        Reply
        • JT (Sarge) December 24, 2014, 9:26 pm

          Haha – fair point Diego. I personally can’t argue with that one bit, but I have a feeling the wife might have second thoughts with our 2 month old!

          Reply
          • uncephalized December 25, 2014, 10:47 am

            What, he doesn’t have a warm woolen blanket and hat? Is she made of spun sugar? :-D

            Reply
            • Joy2b January 2, 2015, 12:13 pm

              Taking small ones out into the cold isn’t impossible, but it is a logistical challenge. Parents of a baby under 3 months should be cautious, because they can’t assume that the baby is able to maintain a steady temperature. Once the baby is old enough to hold up their head well in a front pack that fits under an adult’s coat, they’re much easier to take out.

              Until then, parents may be better off taking turns going out for a nice solitary walk. A little break from a very little one is refreshing.

              Reply
  • Eldred December 23, 2014, 9:19 am

    I don’t think I’ll *ever* get to where I enjoy being outside in sub-zero temperatures. But I hope to expand my comfort zone at least down to the upper-40’s next year.

    Reply
  • Mr. Frugalwoods December 23, 2014, 9:23 am

    YES! I vastly prefer extreme cold to extreme heat.

    I think the winter really comes down to having the right clothing. My first Boston winter was miserable, because I didn’t have the layers that are necessary. Now that I’ve been here for years, I’ve built up a stable of outerwear (almost 100% from thrift stores) that allows me to frolic in 0 degree weather for hours on end.

    One of my favorite times in the winter is the morning after a big snowstorm. I shovel out the house, and then we join the rest of the town in taking a walk down the middle of our car-less roads. So much fun!

    Plus our greyhound love to gallivant in the snow. She too has proper outerwear :-)

    Reply
    • Caterina B December 23, 2014, 12:03 pm

      You know what they say in Norway?” There is NO bad weather, only bad clothing!”
      They go out in ALL weather because they have no choice, there is only “bad” weather.

      Reply
      • Mr. Frugalwoods December 24, 2014, 5:17 am

        I love Scandinavia! Hardy people, beautiful land, plentiful saunas. Pretty great combo.

        Reply
        • Mara December 24, 2014, 7:59 am

          Once when I was in Sweden I saw a car race on ice.

          Reply
      • partgypsy December 30, 2014, 1:55 pm

        Ha ha! My Mom says this all the time. She is from Chicago, and her Mom’s family is in upstate Wisconsin.

        Reply
    • LennStar December 23, 2014, 12:04 pm

      there is nothing better then a slightly below freezing morning with fresh snow. Not so cold you need to do the layering (or get ice on your nose), but fresh enough to get rosy on the cheeks – and the air, the AIR!!

      Reply
      • kiwano December 23, 2014, 12:19 pm

        It’s better when the “slightly below freezing” is exactly the right temperature for the snow to be sticky without becoming heavy, except then I’m unsure whether the morning is the amazing part, or the early afternoon when the snowmen, snow forts, snow castles, and other snow sculptures are just getting their finishing touches.

        Reply
        • Conrad G December 23, 2014, 7:12 pm

          You’re making this southerner extremely jealous he doesn’t live in a more wintery wonderland!

          Reply
    • Andres December 23, 2014, 8:56 pm

      The cold in Boston never bothered me. What bothered me was slipping on patches of ice on the sidewalk while walking to the T.

      The west coast is much better in that regard. :)

      Reply
      • Mr. Frugalwoods December 24, 2014, 5:14 am

        See, and in my opinion that’s another case of not having the right gear. :-)

        A set of microspikes is essential for the icy days in town, but more importantly allows hiking in the mountains on the shoulder seasons. (Winter mountaineering is cool, but a completely different and much larger investment)

        With microspikes on I’ve trudged right up icy slopes that had folks in normal boots trying to crawl up.

        Reply
        • Andres December 25, 2014, 9:44 pm

          Uh, but I’m not talking about hiking up a treacherous mountain pass in a blizzard. I’m talking about a 7 minute walk between the subway and one’s home. And typically, it’s the days where you don’t expect it that are the worst. After a foot of snow has fallen, that’s not when you slip on the ice. It’s that random sunny day where some patches of snow melt, and then refreezes as it gets cold at night. Or someone decided that a cold, dry day the middle of winter is a fine time to wash their car. Or everything else has melted except for one hard-to-see patch due to a microclimate.

          It’s the random unexpected patches that would get me. When it was clearly icy out there, I was cautious. When it wasn’t icy out, that’s when you slip on a random ice spot in the shadow of a tree that the sun missed!

          Reply
          • Kyle December 29, 2014, 10:55 am

            Yeah, I will wear Yaktrax if the sidewalks are really treacherous (and I happily rock microspikes when I’m out hiking) but they’re very uncomfortable on non-icy sidewalks.

            Reply
        • hubdenizen January 8, 2015, 7:51 am

          I’ve lived in the Boston area for years. I tried the spikes but found carry a collapsible hiking pole to be better. The problem with the spikes was I could not walk in them indoors and on certain surfaces and would spend quite a bit of time getting them on and off. The pole could be attached to my backpack when not in use and allowed me to become a more balanced tripod. It was also helpful to climb the mounds of snow that gets piled at the street corners, blocking access to the sidewalk.
          I also just got better at knowing when to expect black ice conditions.

          Reply
    • Amy K December 24, 2014, 8:18 am

      “I think the winter really comes down to having the right clothing.”

      AMEN! Some time ago, perhaps High School, maybe as far back as middle school, I abandoned snow pants thinking they were too childish. It wasn’t until my 30’s that I finally embraced them for snow shoveling. It wasn’t until last winter that I bought my own (had been borrowing my husband’s). I can enjoy winter like a kid again, hooray!

      Reply
    • isaac January 5, 2015, 10:00 pm

      try army surplus stores, typically costs more than thrift stores but much warmer, and much more durable.

      Reply
  • Islwynn December 23, 2014, 9:24 am

    It’s going to be 80 here today (So Cal) and it feels so wrong. I miss winter and I miss the snow and the cold. I used to love MN winters. Good on you for enjoying it.

    P.S. There is no bad weather, only bad equipment.

    Reply
    • lizzie December 23, 2014, 10:04 pm

      Don’t feel too bad, it’s been above freezing recently and all our snow melted. Looks like it’ll be a brown Christmas here in Minneapolis! Happy holidays to you!

      Reply
    • Mr. FC December 24, 2014, 7:32 pm

      Loved the weather here today…some of the best weather of the year! Going to be “cold” tomorrow, a chilly 57F / 14C. Merry Christmas!

      Reply
  • Juan December 23, 2014, 9:25 am

    So was that MMM I saw on the news last night, skiing alongside the cars on I-70? :-)

    Reply
  • peachfuzzstacher December 23, 2014, 9:25 am

    Although I still ski, I used to enjoy winter more, until I purchased a house with oil heat (facepalm). Even today’s prices are still double that of gas. I did learn a lot about insulating and old home though…

    Reply
  • JDA1984 December 23, 2014, 9:29 am

    Nice post. As you said dressing properly is the key. We often take our small children out for walks in the winter and generally do a good job, but once in a while one of them won’t be as prepared as we are. The first time it happened the poor little guy cried as we walked the remaining 1 mile. I did pick him up and try to keep him warm(er) in my coat though.

    Reply
    • Steve December 26, 2014, 11:08 pm

      We’ve all been there at one time or another. I didn’t really get this post, sure I could be uncomfortable for half an hour or more, but the fact that I’m close to home and being aware of being cold, well that is being an adult. When I was a kid, I used to be near frostbite before I came in. Sometimes it hurt like I would never want to feel again, but then the next day I was right out there throwing snowballs with my thin gloves or building a fort with my best friends.

      Reply
    • Hunniebun December 28, 2014, 7:45 am

      Agreed! It is sometimes hard to plan grand outdoor adventures with little kids. They just get cold so much fast because it is hard to move in all that gear! I like to walk with my 2 year old in a sled, but we never ‘adventure’ very far for that very reason! In -30 weather with -40 wind chill…it doesn’t take long to get seriously cold when you are a tiny person even in the right gear!

      Reply
    • Gotim Himel December 29, 2014, 7:54 am

      Although this may count as very anti-mustachian, I can state that since we purchased Canada Goose snowsuits for our two kids, playtime in -25 degrees Celsius and walking to school is no longer an issue.

      I look at it as a Living in Winnipeg tax. I earn more money here than I would in Europe and my overall cost of living is significantly less than it would be on the west coast, so this is a fair tax to pay. When money can be used to fix or remove small annoyances, it is generally a good use. Winter lasted seven months last year (we had snow until mid-May), which is too long a period to hide indoors.

      Reply
      • Steve December 29, 2014, 6:39 pm

        Yes, it is anti-Mustachian (in case you wanted to hear it). You would be amazed what your children could teach you about enjoying being outside in the winter. I realize I have become weak in my ‘old age’ to rely on ‘good clothing’, and how luxurious it is to buy such things for our kids. But as long as you are out there, you are still 90% more Mustachian than most people that turn up the thermostat, drive to the grocery, and find a new inexpensive multimedia escape.

        Reply
  • Rachel December 23, 2014, 9:30 am

    I am not sure what the mustachian stance is on dogs – but they are great for this purpose. Rain, shine, snow or sleet the dog gets at least a mile walk, humans in tow.

    Reply
  • PatrickGSR94 December 23, 2014, 9:38 am

    I personally hate the cold. I hate having to get all layered up just to go outside or go for a bike ride, etc. At least when it’s hot I can just go out in shorts and t-shirt.

    Plus when I’m not at work or riding the bike, I’m pretty much always barefoot, even when cold. But I do prefer warmer ground surfaces to freezing cold ones.

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache December 23, 2014, 10:11 am

      That’s a great description of the beginner’s perspective on cold – “waah, waah, I wish it was warm”. After all, we’re tropical animals, originally evolved to deal only with temperatures from 75-90F.

      But we can also improve drastically on our genetically imprinted wussiness, and that’s the way to a better life.

      First step is to NEVER say you hate anything that is challenging or difficult. You love it. Now you can start getting better at it.

      Reply
      • peachfuzzstacher December 23, 2014, 12:35 pm

        Although our main ancestors came out of Africa, much of the population with European or Asian descent has some cold-weather Neanderthal antifreeze mixed in (some debate still exists).

        http://news.discovery.com/human/evolution/european-neanderthal-sex-detailed-in-ancient-dna-141107.htm

        Reply
      • Patrick December 23, 2014, 12:42 pm

        MM is correct, once again.

        His intuitive approach has some scientific study backing as well although he is, as usual, a little ahead of it.

        I recently started taking cool showers after I read some 100+ year old dude said he heard it was healthy from his brother in 1916 so he has being doing it since.. I thought – hey it will save $, toughen me up and get me out of the shower faster in the morning. Plus folks have used regular water for thousands of years so it *must* work. It’s challenging for the first week or two but has some surprising benefits and eventually a hot shower seems pretty gross in comparison.

        Apparently we are designed to experience rapid temperature changes and without it we suffer.

        Want to save time, money, reduce your carbon footprint and improve your mental health all with one flick of the wrist? Set the temp of your water to what you would drink an become an instant hygiene ninja. No bathroom fan required as your mirrors will no longer steam up.

        Here is some related material on it:

        Psychology Today:
        http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/inner-source/201407/cold-splash-hydrotherapy-depression-and-anxiety

        Art of Manliness (more fun):
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxz8QNqrzwY

        Reply
        • woodnclay December 23, 2014, 12:58 pm

          It’s great to experience the Scandinavian habit of rolling in the snow after a sauna! Or even just a cold shower after a sauna. Although a sauna might not be so good for carbon footprints.

          Reply
      • Steve December 26, 2014, 11:24 pm

        As you seem to admit, facing winter in the North involves paying money (to heat a home, due to freezing pipes and severe discomfort, and/or buy more clothes). This is one area where, inevitably, the global arbitrage is more Mustachian. No matter what happens in the next 40 years, the South will be warmer than the North (and the far North that you are voluntarily travelling to! OMG). I can work (in an air conditioned building every summer) and I can live in a home that requires neither A/C during the hottest part of the year, nor in the evening (only minor A/C sometimes while we’re at work to protect against extreme heat), and certainly not requiring heat in the winter (being used to the heat, when we’re at home, we sleep like kings, queens, lords, and lasses when the temperature dips. If only this were free all year ’round!). We have had our windows open most of the winter break and freezing temperatures in Houston are very manageable.

        Reply
    • Zach December 23, 2014, 12:30 pm

      Patrick,
      I HATE the cold too. I live about 10 miles south of MMM and I was born in the wrong state. I am stuck here so I figure I will make the most of it. Last year I hung up the bicycle when the snow hit and regretted it. As I sat freezing in my car waiting for it to warm up (and burning cash at the same time) I realized how ridiculous it was. Now I had shiny new snow tires installed on my bike and purchased some higher quality outdoor gear. People call me crazy when I am riding through 18 degree weather and 6″ of snow on the ground but what is ironic is I am warm. Not just a little warm, very (and sometimes overly) warm. I am fully comfortable with the right gear from the time I hop on my bike until I get to work EVERY DAY. The biggest challenge I face is getting the layers correct based on the temperature so I do not over heat. I show up to work dripping sweat when it is under 10 degrees outside, go figure.
      So while I am with you that the cold SUCKS, it does not have to as much as we build in our minds. Sitting in your puffing car waiting for 1,800 lbs of raw american iron to heat up enough to warm your 200lb body inside is ridiculous, but only when you consider 2-3 thin layers of proper gear and a couple quick pedals will heat you instantly.
      +1 to riding in shorts and a t-shirt. It is the primary reason I remain self-employed, so I do not have to put on real clothes, Hehe.

      Reply
      • Rob Munich December 26, 2014, 6:33 pm

        One quick question, what do you do about the salt? My brother in law is a serrious cyclist, barely uses his car during the summer, but the moment the first snow flake hits the ground he parks his bike. I askes him way and he said the salt would ruin the bike within a season. He can wash it but that’s a huge hassle!

        Reply
        • Patrick December 28, 2014, 10:06 am

          He sounds like a sport cyclist with an expensive bike. I have a $300 bike from bikesdirect that I added about $200 of gear to, and it’s a great winter bike. It’ll rust, yeah, but I don’t care about cosmetic rust on my practical bike. Hasn’t rusted too bad yet, and if the chain, derailleur or cables rust beyond function they cost $10-30 to swap. No biggie. Cheaper than buying a car, that’s for sure.

          Reply
        • Charlie Bader December 28, 2014, 12:00 pm

          Some places don’t use much salt, if any at all, AK is one. As far as ruining the bike, carbonfiber components never corrode, stainless steel fasteners are fairly immune as are aluminum frames and components, especially if painted. On the other hand, cheaper bikes such as Huffy are made out of a low-grade steel, which rusts right away. Components are important too, because chains can be made out of various grades of steel. Good components are very rust resistant, especially if lubricated with a layer of teflon such as is found in Boeing T9. Your brother can always repaint his steel frame with a high quality catalyzing automotive paint. I did just that with my 25 year old Bridgestone MB-0. Spent $8 on a pint of PPG paint and I only used about 1/4 of it. An airbrush is the way to go. Let’s do the math: the paint cost $.08 per year, so I’d have to invest $3.20 to have a lifetime supply of it. If you don’t want to invest in the infrastructure, you could strip the frame and take it to a local body shop to have it painted. SRAM uses nickel silver in it’s chains, which contains no iron, only nickel, copper and sometimes tin. Very corrosion resistant. Weigh the cost versus gas, oil, battery, electricity for the block heater , garage space, snow removal, maintenance, tires and insurance on a vehicle. Now that I’m fat biking everywhere, I don’t have to shovel anymore. Just ride from my door, let it pile up! Imagine a world where they don’t plow the streets, but instead groom them. It is possible.

          Reply
    • Celtickiwi December 23, 2014, 9:08 pm

      Patrick, you need to obey Rule 5; http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/ Here it is again in case you missed it, pay attention; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unkIVvjZc9Y&feature=youtu.be

      Reply
  • Jeff C. December 23, 2014, 9:45 am

    I felt like you were reading my mind on this post. I live in Reno where it gets very cold at night during the winter. It’s so nice being outside by yourself with the cold air in your lungs. It is one of the best stress relievers created.

    Reply
  • Tristan Hume December 23, 2014, 9:46 am

    As a temporary resident of Ottawa from December 29th through January 3rd I’d be up for an Ottawa walk meetup. If I remember correctly the host of the Ottawa MMM meet up the summer before last has a mailing list of Ottawa Mustachians that could also be used for recruitment.

    Reply
    • Jeremy December 23, 2014, 11:29 am

      I’d be there as well!

      Reply
      • Melissa Yuan-Innes December 24, 2014, 6:45 am

        Hey, I’m working in Ottawa 12-6 p.m on Jan 2nd. Please add me to the Ottawa MMM list if you can.

        Reply
  • Three Wolf Moon December 23, 2014, 9:49 am

    Enjoy the holiday in Canada. Also, nice pic for this article!

    Reply
  • Lil December 23, 2014, 9:50 am

    I’ve finally started biking this year and am continuing in the winter. My coworker said I could alternatively bike inside with virtual reality glasses of some sort. All I could say was “no… No…” He went on to say I could be riding in the mountains and I could use a fan for the wind!!! What!!! I don’t think we could understand each other’s logic.

    Reply
    • LennStar December 23, 2014, 12:10 pm

      LOL

      and: there are fans for simulating biking? or did he mean one fo the normal standing fan sort?

      I would try that for the days when everywhere is rain-ice, though, because then its not save to even walk. At least if you dont want to buy shoes with spikes for these 3-4 days a year.

      Reply
      • SisterX January 2, 2015, 6:15 pm

        Buy special shoes with spikes? Or you could look into any number of affordable cleats which slip on over normal shoes. I live in AK and walk to work, and that’s what I have. I love that I can put them on my boots for super icy days, then slip them on my running shoes in the evening.

        Reply
  • Patrick December 23, 2014, 9:54 am

    MMM, you hit the nail on the head. Why, just the other day some friends and I were sitting around the fire pit in the backyard in the cold, if there ever were such a thing in the SF Bay Area, looking through the back windows onto those hapless folks glued to the television. Them, as often happens to engineers in their leisure time, we started playing. One result was that we decided we wanted to great the hot tub with our campfire, so out came our copper coil used for beer brewing, and we set to work. After a couple iterations, we had 170F water bubbling out of the other end of the coil, into a reservoir, and back into the hot tub. All while someone tucked another episode of *insert television show here* under their slowly expanding belt.

    We are the doers, and we make the world go around.

    Reply
    • Patrick II December 23, 2014, 12:52 pm

      “We are the doers, and we make the world go around.”

      Love it!

      Reply
  • dave December 23, 2014, 9:58 am

    “Sure, you already knew that a stroll outside on a beautiful day is a good thing.” It would even be better if fewer people would heat their homes with wood instead of much cleaner burning natural gas. I hate having to breath in heavy smoke laden air from wood burning fireplaces so many homes use in winter. Come on people ditch these things we have clean abundant cheap natural gas. Better for our lungs for sure.

    Reply
    • CALL 911 December 23, 2014, 2:10 pm

      But wood burning warms you three times – once when you cut it, once when you stack it, and once when you burn it. And . . . it’s free.

      Reply
    • Julia December 23, 2014, 4:36 pm

      There are ways to burn wood without all the smoke. A super expensive European masonry heater is one. An expensive iron/steel wood stove with a catalytic converter is another (although not as efficient). One that many people haven’t heard about is a DIY rocket mass heater. You build it with usually a 55 gallon steel drum as a secondary wood gas burning chamber and what comes out of the chimney is vaguely wood smoke smelling.

      Reply
      • dave December 23, 2014, 5:32 pm

        Well I guess my neighborhood isn’t using any of those techniques because on a calm night with no wind there is real strong smoke smell in the air. Not healthy at all.

        Reply
  • Michael Santiago December 23, 2014, 10:02 am

    Thanks for the article. Winter at home is boring and even gloomy, if all I do is stay inside. Gotta beat my inertia and get out for a nice walk! Just needed a reminder.

    Reply
  • Kim December 23, 2014, 10:03 am

    It’s 85 degrees here in Florida, we are certainly enjoying the winter weather ;-)

    Reply
  • The Roamer December 23, 2014, 10:09 am

    Well I still have some work days ahead but thanks.

    Also I completely agree I so much preferred Michigan winters to Michigan summers.

    Still Mr. was just involved in a car accident so we are a little bit on edge. These times of year some people like to drink so even though I agree about the whole going out ( personally I love walks in the rain, about all the weather out Herr in Cali) I would hope everyone is being extra careful specially people who live by busy streets.

    I’d say try to take your cold walks during the day as most people don’t start drinking until the evening

    Reply
  • Green Girl December 23, 2014, 10:10 am

    Great post! Our constant temperature controlled lifestyle where we spend 90% of the time inside a box, i.e. home, car or cubicle, is one of my biggest pet peeves. Experiencing temperature swings is a great way to lose weight and gain energy, while reducing our carbon footprint.

    Reply
    • ezra December 23, 2014, 11:35 am

      @Green Girl.
      WOW. sometimes a comment hits me like a ton of bricks. I was just thinking how much I am ready to leave work today…..then you reminded me that I am leaving…so I can get in another box (car) to drive to my other box (gym) and then go to my other box (house)…at least the gym is a warehouse that has open bay doors.

      Reply
    • Edward December 23, 2014, 12:16 pm

      It is really sad, isn’t it? Even in gorgeous weather people are spending their time in boxes. I walk neighbourhoods where there’s not a kid to be seen playing on a nice August Saturday afternoon. The air-conditioned mall? Packed. I’ll pass the gym and it’s full of people paying for the pleasure to be in a box and sweat a workout instead of running through the sunshine in a park or swimming at one of our 20 beaches here. Absolutely tragic fail of humanity!

      Reply
  • Disbelief December 23, 2014, 10:13 am

    “I’ve decided to grant myself the rest of the year off*. But don’t worry, I’m extending the same privilege to YOU as well.”

    Thanks for that. My boss wasn’t too happy about it though. “Who the **&^ does MMM think he is?” was his response.

    “The real benefit is just the fact that you are outside, walking, moving, and working on things as you are meant to be doing. And as it turns out, all of these things are possible in any weather, and they are even more rewarding in adverse conditions.”

    Except you can’t necessarily work on what you want to. For example, wood swells with the rain, concrete won’t set with the cold, you can’t spray paint. Your positive attitude is admirable, but I’m afraid some tasks just can’t be done as well in the rainy, windy, dark, cold conditions that prevail in winter.

    Reply
  • Mr Zombie December 23, 2014, 10:15 am

    Hey MMM,
    The winter is great. Less people out and about. Awesome to get out on the bike. 0 degrees and driving rain, feels awesome and much more like an adventure. Have a good Christmas all.

    Mr Z

    Reply
  • Ryan December 23, 2014, 10:24 am

    One of the most amazing things you will ever see is going far out in the country and looking out at the sky on a clear night seeing the Milky Way. Realizing that you are looking at the center of our galaxy over 50,000 light years away really makes you realize how insignificant we really are and puts all the stupid little worries we have in perspective.

    Reply
  • MJB December 23, 2014, 10:33 am

    Great message here. I did my first wintertime/nighttime bike ride here in Minneapolis a few weeks back, and it was like a mini-adventure. Pedaling along a dimly lit bike path, taking in the snow covered creek, while being mindful of ice patches. It was exhilirating, even for just under 3 miles. All you need are LED lights and regular knobby tires (don’t buy into the new fangled fat tires – unless you live in Buffalo, NY I guess), and to supplement your regular winter gear: long johns, ski gloves, and a scarf. A helmet is a smart idea for night riding, especially when the destination is a happy hour. ;)

    Reply
  • Bob W December 23, 2014, 10:42 am

    Remember not to use the flash light except to alert motorist. You eyes will adjust in several minutes and you’ll be able to see just fine on most nights. Oh, and just for fun, bring a nice set of binoculars to see the craters on the moon. Crisp nights are perfect for star gazing too.

    Reply
  • MoneyCat December 23, 2014, 10:44 am

    This is all well and good but how are you supposed to avoid getting killed by A.) slipping on ice on your bike and breaking your neck, B.) getting hit by a car sliding on ice because they are using all-season tires, and C.) getting run over by an impatient SUV (who’s also using all-seasons) because the bike lanes and sidewalks are all buried in several feet of snow, so you can’t get out of the way. In addition, it’s really easy to catch cold from being exposed to sub-zero temperatures for extended periods of time. That’s why I don’t ride my bicycle in the winter and instead combine trips using my car. Call it complainy-pants if you want, but I care about my safety.

    Reply
    • woodnclay December 23, 2014, 11:21 am

      Isn’t it a myth that you catch cold from being outside in sub-zero temperatures? Aren’t you more likely to catch cold (viruses) from being inside around people in air-conditioned environments?
      A, B and C have been covered many times before!

      Reply
      • ezra December 23, 2014, 11:39 am

        @woodnclay,
        beat me to it. yes, the cold comes from a virus, not the actual cold. more people congregate together in winter to get out of the cold, which makes it easier to catch the virus.

        although, some studies show that exposure to sub zero temps for a long time can lead to respiratory infections……http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17705968

        Reply
      • Sofie December 24, 2014, 6:32 am

        Yep. Reduced body temperature does weaken your immune system, but if your core gets cold while outside, you’re doing it wrong.

        Reply
      • Doug December 26, 2014, 7:58 pm

        Yes, it is a myth, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from believing such an absurd idea. Here’s some of my experience. I went through the brutally cold winter of 1995-96 in Timmins, ON (where it gets quite cold even in milder years) and never caught a “cold”. I spent half of the very cold winter of 2003-04 in Timmins and half in Ottawa (both cold places) and caught no “cold”. In February 2008 I caught a “cold” in hot, humid, tropical Cuba and caught another “cold” in blazing hot Alice Springs, Australia last March. Still think “colds” are caused by cold weather?

        Reply
        • Eldred December 26, 2014, 11:13 pm

          How the hell do you remember if you caught a cold during one winter almost 20 YEARS ago?!?

          Reply
          • Doug December 27, 2014, 1:23 pm

            Dear Eldred;
            I remember the month and year, and occasionally the day, of many events in my life back to 1966, the year I turned 6 years old. I’ll mention things I remember during the winter of 1995-96. Wintery weather started early that season. I remember it being unseasonably cold as I was in Edmonton in early November 1995. I got on the Via Transcontinental train to get back home, and the train was diverted north because of a derailment at Esterhazy, SK. It was November 10, exactly 20 years after the Edmund Fitzgerald went down in a freak storm on Lake Superior. When I got to my destination of Foleyet, ON (Mile 148.3, CNR Ruel Subdivision) about 6 hours late my car was buried in snow, had to shovel it out. Back home in Timmins, the Kamiskotia Ski hill was open unusually early that year. It stayed cold through Christmas and New Years. I remember in January there was a fire in downtown Timmins, and by the time the fire department put the fire out, that whole section of Third Avenue was like a skating rink with all the ice from fire hose water that froze. The wheels of the fire truck were actually frozen to the street! Around the same time, a truck-train collision occurred at the Driftwood crossing on Highway 11 east of Smooth Rock Falls. Speaking of vehicles, about that time I remember my car fish tailing on Maclean Drive (north end of town) one day I was coming back from the Kamiskotia Ski Hill. I deliberately put it into a snow bank on the right to avoid colliding with an oncoming car. Great Fun. All the while I was taking an AutoCAD course at the local Northern College. I made a brief trip to Southern Ontario in late February when, for the first time, I saw a Snowy Owl near Arva which is north of London. I also remember in early March driving north on the Highway 655 to get a good look and pictures of Comet Hyakutake as it was near Polaris, the North Star. The highway was very icy, the slush from the only brief mid winter thaw that winter had flash frozen. Winter hung on seemingly forever, until it suddenly turned warm and there was lots of rain over the Victoria Day Weekend which caused flooding in Timmins, Foleyet, Chapleau, and washed out a bridge on Highway 17 near Terrace Bay. It also washed out a bridge over the Groundhog River on a log haul road about 100 Km west of Timmins. I remember all these things entirely from memory. As for the winter of 2003-04, I actually did get a “cold” on March 28, the day I visited the Ottawa Aircraft Museum. It was 4 weeks after I visited the Ottawa-Gatineau Sportsman’s Show (on leap year day, Feb. 29) and 3 weeks after I visited the Diefenbunker west of Ottawa. I don’t count that “cold” as it was after the Spring Equinox so not during winter. If I can remember these events, I think I can remember if or when I had a “cold”. Are you telling me YOU don’t remember things you saw or did in 1995-96? I hope my posting answers your question.

            Reply
            • Eldred December 27, 2014, 8:06 pm

              I can imagine that a train crash, big fire, flash flood, and auto crash being exciting enough to at least remember the year. No, I don’t remember things I saw or did in 1996, and *certainly* wouldn’t remember something as trivial as a cold. I couldn’t even tell you what day(s) last *year* I had a cold. I guess you’re just one of those fortunate few with an exceptional memory. I’m sure that served you well in school and career?

              Reply
              • Doug December 28, 2014, 10:55 am

                My memory has helped some in schooling and career, and a lot in investing. I can remember past cycles, like the price of oil, and figure similar cycles will occur in the future. I remember things I’ve seen a lot and are firmly engrained in my memory, like addresses and phone numbers, even ones I haven’t seen in 40 years. I can’ t easily remember unrelated facts and figures, like contestants on the TV show Jeopardy can.

    • Diane C December 23, 2014, 11:49 am

      Ours is a minority position. I’m just commenting so you’ll know you’re not alone. My MIL lives with us and she had Alzheimer’s. I don’t leave the house without her in tow. I have actually fantasized about getting her a bike so we could ride together (when it’s nice out). I just learned that she never learned to swim or ride a bike. I’m here to tell you, she isn’t going to learn now. If we did attempt it and she fell, I’m sure it would considered elder abuse. Do what you can, and don’t be intimidated by anyone who is doing something you’re not comfortable with. Life’s one giant smorgasbord, you can’t possibly eat it all.
      I must disagree with the cold thing. As they say on some insurance commercial, “That’s not how any of this works.”

      Reply
      • Viren B. December 23, 2014, 1:26 pm

        Well, to be fair, yours IS a minority position with your mother-in-law. I think that that is a legitimate reason for using your car.

        As for the OPs points, unless you’re living somewhere completely disconnected from all urban life, I would bet that there are people who’s job it is to clean up the roads and (usually) the sidewalks too. With the right wheels, the roads should be no problem. The fear of accident is enormously exaggerated. Yes, it does happen, but as a ratio of all bikers to such accidents, the ratio is small enough to not be a deciding factor.

        Reply
    • Garrett December 23, 2014, 12:14 pm

      Regarding the biking portion of your comment:
      If ice is a regular occurrence, they make studded bike tires for riding in ice and packed snow. You can also buy fat tire bikes that perform well in several feet of snow. Regular mountain bike tires work well for many conditions. I’ve even seen people riding their road bikes (with wide road tires instead of racing tires) in several inches of snow.

      Traffic is definitely a concern but it’s probably not as bad a you think. Minneapolis is considered one of the best biking cities in America and people ride all winter. Having the right tires will help you ride in places where cars aren’t.

      Reply
    • Charlie Bader December 27, 2014, 7:54 am

      @Moneycat- I started biking everywhere all winter long here in Anchorage, AK, where we get lots of ice and have very aggressive winter motorists who hate cyclists. A. My refuge is our trail system, which packs down very nicely. With studded 5″ tires and disk brakes, I feel safer on it in the winter because snow is softer than pavement, doesn’t cause road rash and fills in the wheel-swallowing cracks. Don’t turn too sharply. B. Light yourself up and you’ll be amazed at how far off people (even bike-haters) hit the skids and start sliding. Even more so in the dark. With the proper bike and tires, you can take evasive action. C. I do not ride in any high-speed road, ever. Find routes using the back streets. Trails pack down a lot sooner than you think. If the snow is wet, fat tires will pack it quite well and slush is not a problem. You need to treat every car like they are either not paying attention, do not see you, or will lose control- use Newton’s first law of motion- predict where the cars will be and avoid those spots. When approaching intersections, assume that someone will either run it or slide through it. Keep your head on a swivel. The cold issue has already been adequately addressed. Happy Riding!

      Reply
  • dave December 23, 2014, 10:47 am

    the colder weather is better for your health than the warmer florida type weather. Cold weather forces you to be more active when you are outside to stay warm. The hotter weather generally discourages the body from being active to stay cooler. This is contrary to what many think as they think moving to Florida is better for your health. Not true.

    Reply
    • Margaret December 26, 2014, 5:58 pm

      While I agree with your statement – as a Florida resident of 27 years, I also appreciate the great number of comfortable, sunshine-filled days that encourage us to be outside. We have a large population of outdoor enthusiasts here in Cocoa Beach. We all have to adapt to and appreciate the environment we live in!

      Reply
  • Leah December 23, 2014, 10:58 am

    Last year it snowed a fair amount where I live. In my city in the Pacific NW, we don’t have much infrastructure to deal with snow. Because I work at a hospital there was no question that I would be making it in to work. I felt safer riding my bike than I did driving my car (way less expensive/damaging if I crashed). There were several moments of extreme hilarity while sliding my way to and from work, and a feeling of extreme badassity that lasted throughout each day. One of my coworkers even snowshoed in to work!

    Next week we are taking our 3 month old daughter on her first camping trip. We love winter camping and want to get her started early! There’s no reason not to get out and enjoy this beautiful weather. Plus, hardly anyone else is out so you get all the awesome nature to yourself!

    Reply
  • MandalayVA December 23, 2014, 11:00 am

    Can we PLEASE put away the myth that being out in the cold makes people sick? The worst case of flu I ever had in my life happened in JULY. The reason people get sick in the winter is because they spend more time indoors with others and germs are more easily spread in tight quarters.

    With that being said, I am mere hours from temporary work freedom–after today I don’t have to see this place until 2015. It’s been gray and rainy for the past couple of days but the weather is supposed to improve immensely (sunny, mid-to-high sixties). I plan to decompress with some walks and a swanky French meal on Xmas Day. Happy Whatever You Celebrate to my fellow Mustachians!

    Reply
    • LennStar December 23, 2014, 12:17 pm

      cold lets the *untrained* get a flu more easily. The #english word needed – mucous membrane? really?# gets dry and that opens the path for the viruses. If you are out every day you get used to that, too. Don’t overdo it, of course. Cold can be deadly.

      Reply
      • woodnclay December 23, 2014, 3:44 pm

        I agree if you’re not used to it, overdoing it might make you susceptible… but the viruses are mainly to be found inside where there are other people. Most viruses don’t survive out in the fresh air for long. Common sense and appropriate clothing will significantly reduce the risk of hypothermia.

        Reply
  • PawPrint December 23, 2014, 11:14 am

    Here in the Pacific Northwest, you’d never go outside if you were afraid of a little rain. I read that it’s good to walk in the middle of the day so in addition to walking to and from wherever I have to go, I make sure to get out when it’s lightest (or the lightest grey). When we move back to snow country next year, I am a little concerned about walking in the winter. It’s not the cold so much as the snow. We bought yak trax (sp?), though, and we’re hoping that will help. My husband broke his hip after he hit black ice while riding his bike to work three years ago. When you’re in your 60s and beyond, frankly, it’s not just inconvenient or uncomfortable, but just plain scarier to walk/ride in the snow. However, hopefully with the right gear, we can continue to walk every day.

    Reply
    • Judith December 26, 2014, 6:38 pm

      My experience with yak trax was not a good one. Maybe they have changed the design, but the pair I bought a few years ago was basically coiled wire stretched out around the perimeter of your shoe/boot. Anything coiled/round…. really doesn’t have great grip. I went out of my yard onto icy sidewalk and… fell. They grip on packed snow, but are not reliable on ice.

      A great pair of pull on ice cleats are made by a company called Due North. There are four titanium spikes under the ball of your foot and 2 under your heel. They really work, and I got onto them from my company that mandates them for use by employees. I am sure this reduces their insurance costs, and it is a multinational company, so no doubt, the are spending their money on the best available. Also, they are much easier to pull on and take off than yak trax were.

      Reply
    • Charlie Bader December 27, 2014, 8:02 am

      Pawprint- my dad is almost 80 and has lived here in AK all his life. He swears by Icebugs and goes for a walk out in the snow and ice every day. He won’t do it without his Icebugs, though. Sorry to hear about the broken hip, I can see how that would happen. Studded tires work very well, but you still can’t turn as sharply as on pavement. Snow covered ice ruts which are hidden and go a different direction than your CG can also mess up your ride. Disk brakes and wider tires are mandatory.

      Reply
  • TaraC December 23, 2014, 11:20 am

    Love this post! When I first moved to Montreal, my coworkers in the head office in Southern California couldn’t believe that I was going to walk 14 blocks (each way) to work in sub-zero temperatures. Hell yeah baby! That walk was the best part of my day, experiencing the dark, the sun, the wind, the rain, the snow, and feeling like I was using my body and being a part of nature, watching and feeling the seasons change. I also ran every morning in the park with my dog – who is only 9 inches tall and was a total inspiration to me. She never let anything stop her – icy puddles, snowdrifts up to her neck, temps well below -20C – I was in awe and decided if she could do it, so could I. I bought some appropriate clothing and started taking longer runs in the afternoons as well, just to prove to myself that I was badass enough to do it. It felt great! It took a few tries to work out the right hat, gloves and shoe inserts to keep the extremities warm enough, but once I figured that out it was fine. My husband complained that we kept the thermostat too low so we compromised on 20C. I found that having it lower made it easier to go outside and really, just the changing weather outside over time made my body feel more comfortable in the cold. I think the hardest part was the darkness of the days from mid-November to mid-January. I got pretty depressed, even with being outside in the middle of the day, but I started taking some SAM-e supplements and that helped a lot. All in all I really enjoyed the challenge.

    Reply
  • Cindy December 23, 2014, 11:23 am

    I stayed inside more than I should to prepare for Christmas. I hope there will be enough snow so I can use my snowshoes over the break. I live a bit north from Montreal so it can get pretty cold in January, but if you dress well with layers it’s not scary.

    Reply
  • PawPrint December 23, 2014, 11:27 am

    MMM, why don’t you take over the weekly grocery run so you can ride your bike?

    Reply
  • Kristina December 23, 2014, 11:30 am

    There’s a movement afoot to take winter in stride, instead of trying to hide from it. Everything from winter bike to work day, winter festivals and patio licenses (If only waitresses would wear more than mini skirts we could actually sit outside alot longer). This is the canadian prairies… so it does get COLD

    Reading list for this year “Frostbike” by a local author on his mission to discover winter biking, and on learning to enjoy winter. Enough of this heated garage, to heated underground parkade and back so you only have to wear a light jacket stuff!

    Reply
  • Reepekg December 23, 2014, 11:31 am

    Some crazy people even pay for the privilege of traveling to someplace cold so as to strap a long piece of wood to each foot and slide down a mountain. Enjoy the natural beauty you happen to be blessed with, even if it is a cold winter.

    Reply
  • John N December 23, 2014, 11:36 am

    Love your stats on the stars. Nearest star is 4+ light years away. Furthest is 13+ billion (!) light years away. Almost as old as the universe. Totally fucking amazing :)

    Reply
  • Frugal Paragon December 23, 2014, 11:36 am

    No, you caught me! I drove the 3 miles to the Y today. In my defense, there is more ice than I am quite comfortable biking in and a really bitter wind. I love biking when it’s SUNNY and cold. Still working on loving gray and wind. But I used to love biking only when it was warm, so clearly I’m going in the right direction. If you had told me two years ago I would buy a studded bike tire so I could bike on slushy days, I would have laughed at you! All the admiring comments at the snow-dusted preschool drop off last week gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.

    Reply
  • AJ December 23, 2014, 11:38 am

    As a new arrival to Calgary, Alberta I find the key to winter cycling (other than layers) is just to keep going. If you started midwinter it would seem hard. If you keep going regularly you can say “well its only a few degrees colder than last time” Using the philosophy I have been known to bike down to around -30c or -20f.

    Reply
    • David B January 7, 2015, 8:21 am

      I’m pretty good with layering but I get stymied with protecting my face. I don’t want to fog up anything and I don’t think wrapping a scarf around my whole head will work out. The stocking caps that cover my whole face tend to just get snotted up. What do you use to bike in such low temps?

      Reply
      • Juan January 7, 2015, 1:50 pm

        I use an old school Gore-tex helmet cover. It lets heat and perspiration out, but creates an air space inside that keeps my head warm. I also use an ear covering winter headband from Peralizumi, but I find the biggest gain comes when I put my goggles on…on really cold days, my eyes water with just glasses. My jacket has a stand up collar that comes just to my chin. Don’t cover your mouth or nose or you frost up. I’m good for well under zero with this setup, but your mileage may vary.

        Reply
  • insourcelife December 23, 2014, 11:41 am

    It’s sad that we need posts to remind people to go outside and enjoy whatever weather is out there. Then again, walking through our mostly empty neighborhood streets any time it’s below 50 or over 85 I can see that most people in fact do prefer to stay indoors anytime it’s slightly less than “perfect” outside.

    Reply
  • BobbyK December 23, 2014, 11:44 am

    I am a relative newbie to the MMM blog, and, without question, this latest installment is my favorite. Nothing speaks of our personal freedom more than leisure activity outside. Well done!

    Reply
  • Sir Salty December 23, 2014, 11:45 am

    Thanks for the post MMM. I needed it. We’ve been huddled up inside for the last month with a new baby, because the weather has been too bad. We’re all going a bit crazy from cabin fever and a bored 2 yr old, but had just accepted that this is our lot until Spring because of our procreation schedule.

    This was a good kick in the pants that we can still go outside – just need proper planning. Which stretches our brains a little also. I hope to follow your advice over the next 2 weeks NCD break the bad habits we’re forming. Have fun on your trip.

    Reply
  • Raylan11 December 23, 2014, 11:46 am

    In the PacNW, we love our cloud cover because it keeps us warm in the winter like a big blanket. But man, when the sky is clear and the temps dip into the 20’s, its amazing.

    Reply
  • Tomasz December 23, 2014, 11:50 am

    European coming through, I’m yet to see any snow, only cold air and december rains. Doesn’t stop me from enjoying this part of a year though!

    Reply
    • LennStar December 23, 2014, 12:23 pm

      Oh yes, we had just 4(?) days freezing. Doesnt look like it will get better. Its currently 11C at my window.
      At christmas! (well, nearly ^^)

      Means we will get lots of insects next year.

      Reply
  • Frugal Buckeye December 23, 2014, 11:56 am

    I’ll think of this the next time I complain about taking the dogs for a walk during winter.

    I will say that having a winter hobby makes me look forward to the colder months much more than the average person. Just knowing that soon I will be able to head out into the cold and snow to carve tracks down a mountain makes dealing with the temps much more worth it.

    Reply
  • Scott December 23, 2014, 11:57 am

    We just had to re-shingle our roof (grrrrr) and I decided to strip it myself for some minor savings. Most of the time, I was working in -5 Celsius and it was extremely pleasant, especially compared to having re-shingled our garage in August. Walking to and from work is also never a problem save and except if it gets to -25-30 Celsius with added wind chill which is thankfully quite rare.

    Reply
  • David December 23, 2014, 12:02 pm

    I really like the advice here! I live in a place that isn’t as bike friendly as MMM’s, but I’ve found that when I do HAVE to drive, I signed up to be a Lyft driver. Usually when I have to make that drive to the store, I’ll spend some time before or after and switch into “driver” mode. 30 minutes later, I’ve paid for my gas and the time it takes to get to the store. It’s one of those super easy and convenient jobs. I don’t work for Lyft, other than being a driver, but I wanted to share this little hack I’ve developed where I no longer pay for my own gas and keep myself on track for financial freedom. MMM for life! If you want to sign up to drive for Lyft you can use my code and we’ll both get a bonus! Thanks in advance and happy early retirement! https://lyft.com/drivers/david17057

    Reply
  • Julia Bloom December 23, 2014, 12:07 pm

    When the kids complain that the weather is bad and so we need to take the car for their 1.25-mile trek to school, my badass husband responds in all seriousness that when the roads are bad, we are much safer walking than driving a car! And in his case, with the correct outfitting and equipment, he feels safer cycling than driving. Here’s a post about winter cycling from when we lived in Minnesota – https://golopomo.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/winter-bicycling/ Now we are just 20 miles north of MMM in Colorado, and these winters are cake!

    Reply
  • EcoCatLady December 23, 2014, 12:10 pm

    I think your “badass utopia” might already exist in Norway – or at least the Norway of 30 years ago where I spent a year on a student exchange program. Norwegians don’t (or didn’t) hide from the winter, they embrace it. They don’t shovel snow, they pack it down to make a better surface for walking, skiing or getting around on a spark (a Norwegian kicksled.) And it’s standard to keep a small plastic reflector in the left pocket of your jacket, attached with a string so you can easily flip it out and dangle it by your side to be more visible to those few drivers out there. I actually rode my bike to school all through the Norwegian winter and it never seemed to bother me – the good old days!

    Anyhow, I have a question for any winter cyclists out there – has anybody tried “Bar Mitts?” I’m fine riding with ski gloves on my errand bike where I’m riding relatively slow, but on my road bike where I’m traveling at around 20mph, my fingers just turn into ice cubes no matter what I do. Bar Mitts seem like a nifty idea, but I’m far too cheap to just plunk down $40 for an experiment. Anybody tried them?

    Reply
    • Kristina December 23, 2014, 12:29 pm

      Bar Mitts are on my ‘want’ list, not yet on my ‘need’ list. Although January might change that..
      So far my ski mitts have worked on my commuter, but I do miss the dexterity of gloves. And my road bike with the more complicated shifting/braking is away for the season.

      They (or another form of pogie) are standard equipment on almost all the winter bikes I see around Calgary.
      Once installed for the winter, they stay on all winter, the only comment I’ve heard is that some are too narrow an opening, making it harder to get your hands in and out to signal.

      Reply
    • Kyle December 29, 2014, 11:06 am

      I got a pair of Bar Mitts for Christmas and used them for the first time this morning on my commute – they were great! I wore cheapo stretchy drugstore acrylic gloves underneath and my hands were a little too warm (20 minute ride on city streets, probably maxing out at around 15mph, 34F with a strong headwind). It would be more Mustachian to DIY something, but hey, Christmas!

      Reply
      • Steve December 29, 2014, 7:53 pm

        Fill us in on how we can DIY, OK? Is it the combinations of materials, positioning of wind break, what?

        Reply
  • misterfancypantz December 23, 2014, 12:11 pm

    People used to ask me if I was crazy when I showed up to class in college upstate NY during blizzards in flip flops

    Reply
  • Will B December 23, 2014, 12:13 pm

    Raynaud’s disease really makes me hate the winter. I hate the cold and what it does to my body. My hands are the worst. Currently looking for heated gloves to help me with this problem. I hope to retire to warmer climate.

    Reply
    • linda December 23, 2014, 6:00 pm

      I’ve had Raynaud’s too. I have found using glove liners and also using mittens instead of gloves helps, and if it is sub-zero I use handwarmers inside the mittens.

      Reply
    • EcoCatLady December 24, 2014, 1:10 am

      Hmmm… your comment piqued my curiosity so I went and looked up Raynaud’s disease, and I’m confused. Isn’t it normal for your fingers & toes to turn white when they get cold? Mine always do… well, my toes at least. What’s the difference between Raynaud’s and just having toes that turn white when they get cold (and later purple when I put them in warm water to get warm again…)

      Reply
      • Savedough December 24, 2014, 7:09 am

        I don’t know what the difference is, but my fingers also turn white and numb when I am stressed out or nervous too in addition to being cold. Being cold isn’t limited to going outside. Sometimes my fingers will turn when carrying food in from the freezer. Usually just one or two and the rest of my hands appear “normal”.
        I don’t know how to describe the difference. I get cold toes too, but only experience Raynaud’s phenomenon in my hands.

        Reply
        • EmEmEm December 25, 2014, 10:15 pm

          Raynauds often affects only one or two digits, not the whole hand/foot like “ordinary” cold fingers/toes. Usually, 3 or 4 fingers would be their normal pink color (or that bright pink frost-kissed look), and the other 1 or 2 would look deathly pale or blue and completely numb (like I could not feel if someone pinched that finger). Normal cold fingers/toes can be warmed with gloves/socks. The best way to treat raynauds is to put another layer or two on your core (to allow your mucked-up signals to divert blood away from the core and back to the fingers/toes).

          Reply
    • bz January 5, 2015, 1:17 pm

      Here Here! It’s my feet that trouble me. I’ve been on here before hoping someone could tell me what I could do so I don’t get my toes amputated. Battery powered socks are uncomfortable and not near warm enough to stave off frost bite. Not to mention the batteries are stupid expensive and wasteful. I keep hoping there is something out there to get me outside AND have my toes come spring.

      My personal favorite is when people suggest wool socks. They’re made of wool, not magic!

      Reply
  • AnnWilson December 23, 2014, 12:23 pm

    And, you can even move fast in cold weather. Did a 5K last weekend. My first road race. Not my last. Not bad for a really old lady that collects Social Security. If you have snow, you can snowshoe.

    Reply

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