Some of you may be saying "Thank you Captain Obvious!" Well, I know you know it's cold out, but I think some people out there who are in their vehicles don't appreciate how cold it really is. Then again, some drivers might say it's me who doesn't appreciate how really cold it is. After all it's me who's out there riding his bike amid traffic who's not expecting bicycles, while the water in the drainage outlets is frozen and the bank sign temperature is in the teens.
You may be inclined to ask,"Midwest Bicycle Commuter Dude, what will you do if you crash on the ice and you're all by yourself?" A valid question I suppose. I leave relatively early for school, but not so early that no one is already out and about and beginning their own commutes to work. Presuming I'm conscious and able, I'll probably try to signal someone's aid using either my front or rear flasher. Or worst case scenario, I'll try to get attention with my reflective vest.
The place where I'll be most vulnerable, as far as lying undiscovered for any length of time goes, is on the length of rail trail I use. Not many people are out using the rail trail this time of year, at that time of the morning. It's also the part of my commute likely to remain uncleared of snow and ice. If it is too "hairy" for me, I plan to commute using the main arterial roads which will have been cleared.
I stand a better chance of being protected in a bicycle spill in cold weather, because I'm wearing so much more clothing. The layers which are covering every possible inch of my body except my face will help to protect me. Of course, I will be wearing my helmet.
I'm not naive enough to claim all this clothing will protect me from anything happening. A person can still break a bone through layers of clothing, or sustain a concussion even though they wear a helmet. Icy, and snowy road conditions are much different than cold conditions. Obviously when road conditions are bad, vehicles can't handle as predictably or as well as in ideal conditions. That's bad news for a cyclist.
As far as the cold weather goes, I wear lots of clothes to keep warm. I only have a fifteen minute commute, so it's not that long of a time to spend in cold weather. The exertion of pedaling warms me quickly during my commute.
It takes some planning to commute during the winter months. Invariably, I'm hot and uncomfortable during those first few minutes when I arrive at school or back home from my clothing and body temperature increase during pedaling. Then, I must spend a few moments folding some of my articles of clothing and storing them in my backpack for the day, or night.
These are some things to think about. Really, once it's below freezing, there's not a lot of difference in the feel of temperature. It's all cold. It's not impossible.
Keep on commuting by bike!