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10 advantages of fall and winter cycling
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By Brandon Case
Brandon Case has spent the majority of his life living near the 99th Meridian, an imaginary line used for mapping purposes that circles the earth and runs through the North and South Poles.
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By Brandon Case
Nov. 21, 2013 12:44 p.m.

As autumn transitions into winter, the days grown shorter and colder … and there’s no better time to ride your bicycle. What, you say? Are you crazy? Here are 10 reasons to make--or keep--cycling a part of your life in the fall and winter months along the 99th Meridian.
1) Increased visibility … after dark. It’s dark outside, and you have attached multiple flashing or solid color lights to your helmet, bicycle, spokes, and outerwear, not to mention illuminating the road ahead with a high-powered LED headlight. Check online with amazon.com or ebay.com to find all the lights you’ll need to be visible or visit a bike shop in Great Bend or Hutchinson. Don’t give anyone an excuse to say, “Sorry, I didn’t see you.” Light up and start pedaling.
2) People think you’re crazy and give you extra room. When you’re pedaling your “steed” with the temperature dipping at or below freezing and the wind blowing, people think, “Hey, I better not get too close to this guy. He might do something crazy.”
3) Less feedback from motorists. People have their windows rolled up and, if someone does roll down their windows long enough to shout something at you, the words will be unintelligible due to wearing a balaclava or helmet liner. I’ve had that experience a couple of times recently. I just smiled and waved.
4) Less chance for road rash if you take a spill. The key to winter riding is lots of layers of clothing, warm headgear, a coat that keeps out the cold and wind, good gloves, and perhaps even neoprene booties (bike shoe covers). If you do crash, chances are you’ll only tear the outer layer or two of clothing, which is much better than the road rash wipe outs of summertime.
5) No sunburns. If you’re dressed appropriately, you won’t have enough skin exposed and UV levels are generally lower in winter than in summer. Of course, frostbite may be a hazard if the temperature drops too low.
6) No hot water bottles. Ok, so a frozen water bottle may not be much of an improvement, but you can buy insulated water bottles and add hot water to keep the water from freezing as quickly.
7) No bugs in the eyes or down the throat. After the first or second hard freeze, bugs are more or less history, which means no swallowed bugs, bugs in your eyes, or bugs up your nose.
8) More sunsets. Chances are greater you’ll witness a beautiful sunset in the winter and fall, since the sun sets so early.
9) Canada geese. Nothing reminds you of the season more perfectly than a large V-flock of Canada geese breaking the silence of your country ride.
10) Hot chocolate or cider. Once you’ve depleted your carbs on a cold fall or winter’s evening ride, it’s time to re-carbohydrate with a hot cup of cocoa or apple cider. It’s always good to reward yourself beyond the endorphins you created through riding.
It may be cold and windy outside, but, hopefully, one or more of the above will give you a reason to keep cycling year round.

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