Bicycles among the icicles: Why Minnesotans love to ride in winter

Two women stand in with their bikes and winter clothes.
Melissa Wenzel, left, and Lori Klongtruatroke stand with their bikes and winter gear outside of MPR in St. Paul, Minn., on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.
Evan Frost | MPR News

In Minnesota, nothing stops cyclists — not even snow or negative-degree weather.

Winter biking is championed by many, but hard to understand for others.

Two brave, all-season bike commuters — Melissa Wenzel and Lori Klongtruatroke — say they ride for many reasons.

“We like a challenge. We definitely like being outdoors and not being locked indoors during the winter,” Klongtruatroke said. “It’s exercise, it’s a stress reducer, it’s a way to get in daily movement without really taking too much out of my daily life to go to a gym, in a car.”

A big part of making winter biking comfortable is having the right gear. The main requirements: warmth and safety. Klongtruatroke wears a snowboarding helmet she bought used for $8.

Your local bike shop can help outfit you with studded tires for traction in the snow and ice. There’s plenty of community online among winter bikers who share tips and tricks, too.

Plus, there’s a sense of freedom that comes with going car-free.

“There’s a lot more things you can do with the money if you sell your car and buy a bike,” Wenzel said.

Use the audio player above to hear tips and tricks on how to be safe (and warm) on the road and some advice for those who are curious about winter biking.

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