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What wind chill? Winter cyclist scoffs at –30C temperatures

Thursday, February 14th 2019, 5:39 pm - There are even some benefits to riding in below freezing temperatures, some cyclists say.

While most people in Saskatchewan have been cursing the weather this week, a brave band of cyclists have been taking to the streets regardless.

Saskatoon cyclist Sarah Robbins says biking to work every day in the middle of frigid weather really isn't so terrible.

"It's a beautiful day," she said, talking to reporters during a brisk –35°C commute to work. "It's much better than getting in a cold car."

Much of Saskatchewan has been in an almost continual cold weather warning for the past two weeks. Environment Canada is warning people that frostbite can develop within minutes on exposed skin, especially when the wind chill is factored in.

The trick, said Robbins, is not to cycle through the streets with exposed skin, and to make sure you have a properly winterized bike with appropriate tires.

cycling wind chill Saskatoon cyclist Sarah Robbins says biking in the winter isn't terrible, if you're prepared. Credit: Olivier Ferapie/CBC

"It's all about wearing the right stuff," she said. "You know, people say there's no cold weather, there's only bad clothing. And that's pretty close to true. You dress up warm, it's super nice."

So, while many people here shake their fists at mind-numbing temperatures, brave cyclists like Robbins try to see the benefits of freezing temperatures.

"You get your sunshine fix for the day," she said. "Just being outside even for 10 minutes, 15 minutes — being outside in the sunshine makes your day so much better."


Meanwhile, people working in the construction industry said they take the cold weather very seriously.

Cory Fairbrother, owner of Fortified Construction, said the current cold snap makes it too dangerous for his workers to be toiling outside.

"Construction is going to shut down on a day like today," he said. "It's not safe."

cycling wind chill 2 Cory Fairbrother, owner of Fortified Construction says outside construction isn't easy in freezing cold temperatures. Credit: Olivier Ferapie/CBC

Fairbrother said once the weather improves, it's important for anyone working outside to dress in layers and take warm-up breaks.

"Basically, your extremities, like your head, is what you've got to worry about," he said. "The heated gear really keeps your core warm and that's kind of the centre of the whole thing."

While clients may want outside jobs to be completed quickly, even in the middle of winter, Fairbrother said delays are inevitable.

"Gloves are an issue at the best of times. It's hard to reach into a pouch to get a nail when you have gigantic mitts on," he said. "It's not not very feasible to make that work."

The latest forecasts state extreme wind chills that feel like –40 or colder are expected to persist until late Friday morning.

*This article was originally published by CBC News. *


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