Sometimes even the most dedicated winter cyclists need some incentive to brave the chill and icy streets, and there's nothing that warms you more than a favourite meal. This is part of a dandyhorse winter series where we track the winter riding habits of cyclists and follow them along to their favourite restaurant, where they tell us about their favourite dish on the menu.
dandyEATS: Winter riding with kids (and some cold weather carbs)
Profile of Katie Didyk and Arden Burnett
photos by Amelia Brown
Why do you and your son ride in the winter?
When my son Arden was born, there was no doubt in my mind that he would become a part of my life as a cyclist. It was a natural progression to bring him along and have the same amount of pleasure and satisfaction that I get from cycling around the city.
He has made me a better rider that’s for sure. Let’s say I was a bit of a rogue cyclist before – blazing through red lights (within reason) and listening to music a little too loud, and using cheap little lights or none at all. Now, I’ve ditched the ear phones, I stop at all the lights and have increased my defensive riding abilities big time. I have a little man to protect! And since we still don’t have adequate bike lines connecting the city, I try my best to ride very safely.
What makes it more challenging than summer riding?
Wind is the bane of my existence and some days I honestly feel like I’m riding in quicksand. When it snows with the wind, it feels like daggers in my eyes and I can’t look beyond two feet ahead of me. So yeah, wind and icy snow I could do without.
The only thing that’s more challenging in the winter is having to plan and organize your gear each night and basically becoming a weather expert. Each piece of your gear is as important as the other, so if you can’t find it in the morning, it can actually ruin your whole plan to ride that day. Whereas in the summer, I can just go out in my short shorts and bikini top and be done! (note: I don’t own either of those items : p)
What are your tips for new winter cyclists, and parents who want to ride with kids in the winter?
You have to feel confident and trust in your abilities. Start small. Just go for short trips on a Sunday morning and then build from there. Invest in a good child rear seat and have it installed by a professional (my guy Mike the Bike installed mine). Map your route using google maps using the biking routes and take as many bike lanes, and quieter streets as you can.
For those that are currently using a car or a stroller to haul their kid around- think of the different experience riding gives your child – it’s a whole new world taking them from the stroller to outside riding the elements with you. They see the same things as you and it becomes a shared experience. We ham it up a lot – pointing out moving trains, comment at passing dogs, whatever. My favourite time of my day is my commute which includes taking him to and from daycare and getting in some much needed exercise. How many people can say that?
Oh, and don’t think you have to go all or nothing! It’s okay to ride up to a certain point and hop on the subway or limit yourself to non snow days. For me, once there’s ice and snow I’m done, so even I have my limitations. Just remember that any bit of winter riding is good for you.
What do you (and your son) wear while winter riding?
I have a full length down jacket that hits my thighs and gives some extra warmth because your thighs take the brunt of the cold weather. I wear winter biking pants from MEC and my knee high sheepskin UGGS. Arden wears his snow suit and boots but our most important gear is the balaclava. Both are from MEC and oddly, we wear the same size. No one should ride without this full protection in the winter. You can then wear an added layer under your helmet for even more warmth. Most of us winter riders have learned this lesson and everyone for the most part I see wears one. The winter can be ANGRY on your ears!
What modifications do you make to your bike?
I brought my bike to Mike the Bike for a winter tune up and then I check my tires pretty regularly there and have him do a ‘look over’ every now and then but basically that’s about it.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a Communications professional in the non profit industry.
What's your fave winter food and restaurant? Tell us about your favourite dish there.
Well, I can tell you my ALL round favourite foods, which includes winter: I’m half Ukrainian, half Jamaican so at any time, any season you can find me eating a dozen varenyky (perogies), or a Jamaican patty with coco bread. I’ve just discovered Loaded Perogie
which is pretty incredible and Patties Express
, as these are both generally on my commute home. There really is nothing better in this world than a bunch of carbs after riding!
Related on the dandyBLOG:
dandyEATS: Late night lattés with Robert Zaichkowski
dandyEATS: Snow and steak stilton
dandyEATS: Blizzards and bagels with Lisa Logan
dandyEATS: Hearty homemade soup with Alex Legum
dandyEATS: Pub essentials with Andrew Kaiser
dandyEATS: Carolyn Wong at the Union on Ossington
dandyEATS: Laurie Featherstone at Café con leche