On Jan. 28, nearly forty people attended a Winter Cycling Workshop at the Universtiy of Saskatchewan.
The workshop was open to everyone, whether already avid winter cyclists or people interested in learning about the basics of pedalling in powder.
Organized by the U of S Students’ Union, the workshop was presented by a panel of three knowledgeable cyclists — Scott Bell, Hilary Gough and Patrick Brannen — who spoke on a wide range of topics from winter cycling attire to necessary bike modifications for an array of needs to the importance of choosing a safe route.
The goal of the workshop as told by USSU Vice President Student Affairs Nour Abouhamra — one of the event’s organizers — was mainly to educate interested cyclists on how to cycle through the snow and ice of winter safely, but also to let the attendees connect with other people who share the same interest in cycling.
“It was an information session as well as well as a way to bring winter cyclists together … to connect people,” Abouhamra said.
Abouhamra admits to not doing much winter cycling herself, although she did learn a lot from the workshop and considers it to have been a success. She shares this opinion with a lot of the attendees.
“Everyone loved it. They thought that it should happen every year,” Abouhamra said.
Tanya Andrusieczko, a U of S alumnus and avid cyclist in all weather, attended the workshop with an interest in becoming more knowledgeable in the activity.
“I had a lot of assumptions and unanswered questions about what it takes to survive the icy streets as a winter cyclist,” Andrusieczko said via email.
“The panelists emphasized that winter cycling is the best way to get around town while staying warm, saving money and saving time,” Andrusieczko said. “The keys, I learned, were a good pair of mitts … reliable winter tires, wind pants and a set of lights. The rest is learned by doing.”
Andrusieczko also felt less intimidated by the ice and snow of winter after the workshop and actually went on her first winter bike ride later in the week, borrowing a bicycle from Gough and participating in Ice Cycle on Feb. 1. Andrusieczko was surprised by how encouraging everybody at the workshop was and would probably never have gone to Ice Cycle if it wasn’t for the invitation from the panelists.
“I couldn’t have been happier or more prepared for becoming a winter cyclist,” Andrusieczko said.
Both Abouhamra and Andrusieczko are hopeful that next winter will see another cycling workshop and, with any luck, this could become an annual event.
“There will always be new people gaining interest and looking for an introduction to the activity,” Andrusieczko said. “Plus, maybe next year I could have something to contribute.”
The workshop was sponsored by the U of S Office of Sustainability and Bike Doctor.
Photo: Robert Thomson/flickr