December & January's Sister Cyclist is Fa-Linn Woolings. I met Fa-Linn at Winter-Bike-to-Work day this past year. Her energy, her style, and her 'swants' were inspiring, and since then I've bumped into her on the cycle tracks a couple of times in so-so to not-so-good weather - a testament to her 365 riding style - like I said, inspiring!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a geologist at a data company. I'm originally from Canmore. I’m the least athletic person and biggest wuss in my family (I don’t climb, ski or white water anything). I like to cook, eat and all the comforts of home. I knit (socks mostly). I don’t own a car.
I only have two bikes. I wish I had more (who doesn’t?)... A road bike, a fat bike, an e-bike...
For everyday rides to work on clear roads, I have a bright orange, seven-speed, upright Dutch-style bike. I found it on Kijiji and I love it. Riding upright is the best (comfortable! dorky! the dresses!). It has fenders and a rack to get me and all my stuff around.
I also recently bought a Yuba Boda Boda, which I use to run errands and haul stuff. It’s a big, stable, cruiser-style… mini-van. I put fenders and studded tires on it for this winter.
In August of 2008, I transitioned from “person who bikes under duress” to “cyclist.”
Moving to big city Calgary from small town Canmore, I found biking in Calgary terrifying. The roads seemed busy, drivers didn’t seem to want me around (“Get off the road!”) and I didn’t have my driver’s license, so all those “a bike is a vehicle” rules seemed wrong!
I love Calgary Transit, but the transfers are the worst. Even out of practice and out-of- shape, I was able to cut my commute time in half.
Still, I didn’t I think I’d ever bike in the winter. That was crazy! People who biked on snow and ice were weirdos! But back to Calgary Transit - ever waited 40 minutes for a bus in the winter? I have. Enough said. Year-round biking is fun, convenient, saves time, and I get a workout in.
Any tips or tricks you have for winter cycling?
Ha! Winter cyclists have this reputation for being loud and preachy. We just want to spread the good word!
Winter cycling is basically the same as in fair weather. Bike according to the conditions, wear less clothing than for walking, but more than for driving - and clean the salt off your bike.
My must-haves for winter riding are studded tires, a super bright light, lobster mitts and a nice face cream (chapped cheeks!). Some people don’t have that stuff and do perfectly fine, but it just takes the guesswork out of my ride.
I use my bike to go to work, the grocery store, my doctor’s office, the library, out to eat, to the mall, to the movie theatre. Biking is great and I love it, but it’s also just a thing I can do without thinking much about. I love meeting friends and the openness of the city, but most of the time I just appreciate the simplicity and utility of biking.
The leg warmers! I levelled up last winter and started wearing skirts and dresses all year long.
What is your philosophy?
Riding a bike is fun and easy. Even wusses like me can do it!