Riding the Fox Cities – March

So I typically start my posts by noting it’s a great time to ride the Fox Cities.  Well, it’s March.  And although it is still a great time to ride, March is often the most challenging time of year to ride for me personally.  Biking the warm, sunny days of summer is easy to enjoy.  Biking in winter can be scenic, peaceful, and enjoyable with the right clothing.  Biking in fall is my favorite.  Spring?  Spring is when mother nature tests out the wind and rain makers…and they work well.  And this year spring seemed to get an early start, then stop, then start again.

March forecasts can often be a roller-coaster of highs and lows.  This March I have biked in 10 degree lows with snow to 95 degree highs and sunshine.  The variety keeps things interesting.  In early years it made it difficult to remember how to dress.  Now I feel like March is pop quiz month and I feel like I do pretty well.  Here’s my cheat sheet:

  • 10-30 = Bottom: pants + shell, Top: base layer + pullover + shell, mid-weight gloves, snowboard helmet (ear covers and can close vents)
  • 30-50 = Bottom: pants, Top: base layer + pullover, light gloves, regular helmet
  • 50-70 = Bottom: pants or shorts, Top: base layer, no gloves, regular helmet

Speaking of cheating.  I may have leveraged a work trip to southern Florida to raise the height of my temp roller-coaster.  Besides the escape to warm weather, this trip was an opportunity for me to try bike commuting as part of business travel.  I had wanted to see if I could make this work.  Ideally, it would allow me to see the area, get exercise, and save money.

I had booked a hotel 4 miles from the office and google maps confirmed a route with bike lanes, so I just needed a bike.  I was planning to arrive after midnight and to leave for work by 8am the next day, so renting from a local bike shop would be a challenge.  I also didn’t want to pay $40/day, which could make it cost more than a rental car.  Luckily, I found needabikefl.com.  I was able to rent a bike for $40 for the entire week, including drop off / pick up from my hotel at convenient times.  They included a lock, helmet, and the bike had a basket to help carry my items.

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Beach Cruiser Rental

I felt a bit awkward riding a beach cruiser in business casual, but it is the ride of choice for southern Florida.  I ended up having to work long hours, but I still felt like I had a vacation just by riding my bike everywhere.  It was a chance to relax and take in the scenery, ride along the ocean, find a place to eat or grab a drink.  Of course, it would be tough to have a bad commute with the ocean views and no traffic (in the bike lane).

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morning commute along the A1A

bike path along A1A

bike path along A1A

In the end, I am really happy that I gave bike commuting a try on my trip.  It ended up being the highlight of my trip.  Although NeedABikeFL serves a limited area, you may be able to find a similar service for your next trip.  I highly recommend it!

-Scott

P.S. If you are looking for a nice spring cheater ride, head to southern Florida.  However, if you want to join others in the Fox Cities, check out the FCCA Events page for free rides happening year-round.  Have specific questions or comments?  Feel free to post a question or comment below.

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