Winter is definitely not the best season to go riding. Or not? It is widely believed that in winter you cannot use your bike because temperatures are a bit more rigid, but this prejudice inhibits the use of a means of transport that knows instead no season and is suitable for everyday use throughout the year. So winter should not stop urban cyclists, also because riding and moving is the best way to warm up. Besides, daily use of bicycles allows our body to release endorphins, chemicals that help strengthen good moods, sense of self-confidence and self-esteem.
So why give it up only in winter, when you will burn more calories, increasing in return crowd on public transport or, worse, cars in circulation? Instead, with several precautions – appropriate clothing in the first place – you can ride with pleasure, and improve your health, even in bad weather. And probably save on fuel and parking. «Riding with low temperatures is very different from doing it in the summer – says the cardiologist Antonio Raviele, president of Alfa (Alliance to Combat Atrial Fibrillation) – it burns more calories», so much that you should not exaggerate. The time we take to get to work by bike in winter turns into quality time because of the wellbeing that produces in the individual and the environment. Just take a look at the habits of Northern Europe’s commuters, workers, students, elderly and mothers: in many cities of the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Finland and other countries where wintertime is not exactly mild, many people ride safely even in winter, with snow or rain, using normal bicycles and wearing normal winter clothing.
The population of these countries – grown on two wheels since always – is well disposed to defy cold and snow in exchange for freedom, speed and environmental awareness. Of course, in Northern Europe bike paths are many and more functional, but the attention towards them is rapidly increasing in the rest of the Old Continent, including Italy. So winter might well become just another season for moving on two wheels. The problem, if there is a problem, is related to the transported children, who have a passive role in traveling. Obviously, baby passengers must be protected from cold more than adequately, but available for sale are a few accessories to mitigate cold and give shelter to children: from the windshield mounted on the handlebar to the covers, or even the Opossum, a sort of protective waterproof shell that remains fastened to the bike all the time and it’s compatible with all types of seat.
But above all, the kinderwagon is becoming increasingly more popular: a completely covered bicycle towing appendix, able to completely isolate its small passenger. And if the habit of using bicycles became more and more all seasonal, soon even buying a new home or choosing an accommodation for a holiday could consider solutions that allow easy access to bike paths. Because the thought of using the car as little as possible (saving in economic and ecological costs) and at the same time keeping in shape, could be, in the twenty-first century city, truly irresistible.