Written by Denise Deby.

Poster courtesy Citizens for Safe Cycling

Poster courtesy Citizens for Safe Cycling

It seems that more and more people in Ottawa are cycling year-round. That’s right, even through our cold, snowy winters. I haven’t been a big winter cyclist myself—it’s not the cold I mind as much as the possibility of slipping on icy streets. Still, it’s tempting to try when you see other people out there making it work.

To demonstrate that winter can be a safe time for enjoyable biking, Citizens for Safe Cycling is holding its 2nd Annual Family Winter Bike Parade on Sunday, January 27 at 11 a.m. It’s an all-ages, all-skill-levels event.

The ride begins at City Hall, at the Lisgar entrance. Participants will travel a short route through downtown, then return to City Hall for some hot beverages. Organizers say the route will depend on the weather, but the pace will be slow and the parade will stop periodically to allow people to catch up. You can check Citizens for Safe Cycling’s website for further details and updates.

Of course, appropriate dress (layers) and adequate gear are important, even though you may not need a lot of special equipment. The Envirocentre is offering some relevant suggestions on its website: http://www.biketoworkottawa.com/en/

The City of Ottawa also has information on cold-weather cycling: http://ottawa.ca/en/residents/transportation-and-parking/cold-or-wet-weather-cycling

For further inspiration, check out the thoughts of local cyclists who’ve tried winter biking. Lana Stewart, who blogs as Modal Mom, writes about her experiences with winter biking at http://modalmom.com/winter-biking-if-i-can-do-it-so-can-you/ and http://modalmom.com/lessons-learned-in-my-second-year-of-winter-biking-in-ottawa/.

Another avid Ottawa cyclist, Kathleen Wilker, blogs on all-weather family biking at http://momentummag.com/blogs/families-on-bikes.

Here are a couple of additional links on winter cycling:

http://www.womenscycling.ca/blog/tips-for-cycling-all-year/snow-biking/

http://www.greenlivingonline.com/article/winter-biking-basics

Please share your own tips in the comments section below.

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