Bike Spotting: Canada West

You can see the other half of our cross-Canada Bike Spotting feature East and Beyond here.


Photo by Michael J.P. Hall

Full Name: Michelle Candido
City: Vancouver, BC

What do you wear for your winter commute?

When it comes to winter it’s all about keeping your extremities warm. In the peak of winter I won’t leave home without wearing a pair of thick wooly socks zipped into my space boots, snug chords, high-necked thermal rain proof coat, my trusty equestrian-styled bike helmet and cheap and cheerful dollar store magic gloves.

Describe your commute.

I typically cycle from Vancouver’s bustling eastside to “Burnaburb” racking up a total of 20 km for my round trip commute.

Any tips for new winter cyclists?

Panniers are key. With panniers you can tote layers if you find yourself steaming up in your winter wear.


Photo by Michael J.P. Hall

Full Name: Vanessa Richards
City: Vancouver, BC

What do you wear for your winter commute?

Shilling. I wear a lamb skin coat that is very very warm. It’s made in Scotland and it’s waterproof. It doesn’t require me to change my clothes when I get to the place…I like my cashmere and I like wool, and I like to have slim, thinner layers underneath so I’m not all bulked up, because the jacket’s pretty bulky. I can get to where I’m going and I’m comfortable.

How do you feel about Gore-Tex?

I think Gore-Tex has a place, I like its properties, I just seldom see designs that I like. I bought some waterproof material for a riding skirt I’m designing because I’d like to encourage more women who don’t wear sportif clothes to ride. I would like to have something that’s light, but I just really don’t like the design of most waterproof clothes. They’re monolithic in their choices and I don’t think that the choices are expressive and individualistic as the kind of riders that there are. It’s a shame.

Can you describe your commute? How far you do ride and what routes you take?

I am an independent freelancer/contractor/artist. My commute is not regular, but I would say for the most days I might ride–this is so Vancouver–to my yoga class, 8 minutes. For me to get into the city is 20 minutes, and I would say that most of my rides are under 40 minutes.

Can you give us any tips for new winter cyclists that are trying to get out into the rain and the wind?

Visibility is key! Wear as many lights as you can and reflective gear. Natural fibres like wools are great: I wear wool tights, I wear wool sweaters. I found some really good cashmere at discount places, again it’s light and it’s thin to wear and it’s comfortable to get to where you’re going. And you’re soft when you hug people. I think people should wear stuff that they feel good in, like if you had to get off your bike and be seen, would you want to be seen in those clothes? I also think the most important thing about winter riding is your attitude. There’s no bad weather, there’s only bad outfits.


Photo by Raffaella Loro

Full Name: Sarah Chan
City: Edmonton, AB

What do you wear for winter cycling from boots to hat?

I wear the same gear that I would wear out walking the dog or taking the train–regular clothes underneath a parka. Accessories include a scarf, mitts (with glove liners on very cold days), regular boots (with wooly socks on cold days), and my Bern helmet with the ear-protecting liner intact. Nothing I wear is sweat-wicking or particularly performance-geared. If I get too hot, I usually just unzip my coat and keep on riding.

What is the length of your commute or average trip by bike in the winter?

Winter bike rides are only 3-5 miles round trip. I happen to live centrally, so most bike rides I take are under 30 mins. In the winter, I can tack on an extra 10ish minutes because the terrain usually slows me down, and winter riding always feels a little more cardiovascular.

How long have you been riding in the winter?

This is my third winter riding! The first winter I tried all the different bikes I own to see which one was the best for winter riding. The 2nd winter, I finally just got on board with studded tires on my old high school mountain bike and… success! If I had known what a difference an all-terrain bike and studded tires makes, I would have done it right away. I also added a tough rack and stuck a basket on top. Now, my ugliest bike, because of how useful it is, is amidst my favourites!



Photo by Kristen Bromilow

Full Name: James Patterson
City: Winnipeg, MB

What do you wear for your winter ride?

Anything below -20 and I’ll bring a pair of ski goggles and an added base layer, especially for the hands. Anything below -10 and I’ve got long underwear on along with my everyday staples of a tube scarf (Wings and Horns), Windproof Frontside hoodie (from MEC) X-country ski gloves (Dakine), toque and my helmet (by Nutcase). Inside my Frietag commuter bag is a small set of tools, hand pump and a spare tube. In the end I’ve never found myself too hot or too cold, only refreshed by the exercise I’ve got when I arrive at the office or return home.

Tell us a little bit about your winter commute?

My daily commute to work and back is about 15 km, but I run around a bit on my bike so it works out to about 20-30 km per day, which is less than half of my daily summer ride.

I’m trying to get to the lake some weekend soon and would definitely consider some studded tires for the trip.

I don’t have to travel too far and the roads are usually pretty good, so I haven’t found too much of a need for fenders because I have a rack on the back that keeps most of the snow away. But I’m thinking of getting some custom made wooden ones (like this). They’re pretty swank!

Any tips for first time winter bike commuters?

My tips for new winter cyclists are two-fold: for commuters, know the importance of proper lighting (because you are often riding in the dark through the morning and evening rush hour) and for all cyclists to never over (or under) estimate your conditions or get cocky, weather changes constantly—not just day-to-day—it can be a nice sunny morning and then you’re biking home in 5 cm of snow after a storm with black ice on the road. Conditions change from street to street and this requires you to change your riding style constantly and to be alert.

Also – a lot people told me to get fenders while doing the research for this feature on becoming a winter cyclist for dandyhorse!

Check out the second half of our cross-Canada Bike Spotting special in this issue: Bike Spotting East and Beyond.


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