The Urban Cycling Survival Guide

Photo credit:

Jenna Campbell

Q&A with new author and cycling advocate Yvonne Bambrick

Yvonne Bambrick’s new book, The Urban Cycling Survival Guide: Need-to-Know Skills and Strategies for Biking in the City, is a how-to source of information on cycling for all road users. The book includes a section on winter cycling, which was the timely topic of this interview. (Stay tuned for our upcoming full book review.) Bambrick grew up biking in Toronto and was the founding executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, now Cycle Toronto. She is currently an independent urban cycling consultant, an event photographer, and the executive director of the Forest Hill Village Business Improvement Area. She is also a co-creator of the popular Pedestrian Sunday event in Kensington Market. 

Q: When did you start cycling year-round?

I moved to Australia in 2000 and I sold the car that I owned to help pay for my masters degree. I only started riding year-round there because the weather was totally manageable. When I got back here in 2003, I decided I was just going to keep riding.

Q: Back in Canada from Australia in 2003, how did you keep warm during your first winter cycling?

Layers are always the answer in winter and I’ve never been one of those people who wears specialized cycling clothes. I just wear what I have. So, at that time, I had a big poofy jacket and big gloves and a hat and ear warmers… that was the number one piece for me, having earmuffs.

Q: What are the benefits to riding throughout the winter?

Predictable travel times, not being stuck on transit, maintaining your autonomy, having fun, and you get to maintain a healthy habit year-round. Riding through the winter is also one of the best ways to beat the winter blues.

Q: What should cyclists do to prepare their bikes for winter?

Winter tires can be handy. Some people just have a beater (crappy) bike and that’s that. The one thing to really keep in mind is your lock. It’s good to have a little de-icer in your bag in case your lock freezes and the key won’t work – can save you from having your bike stuck and [freeze] locked somewhere. A bit of hot water can help in a pinch, but be sure to dry out the lock indoors once you get home. In advance of the winter, get a tune-up, brake check, etc… do one in the fall and in the spring and you’re good to go.

Excerpted from DandyHorse Blog. Click here to read the full article.

Looking to get involved in cycling advocacy in your city? Check out these important organizations: