Winter Rider Profile: Alexis, Ottawa

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Who Are You?

Great question. Someday I might even have an answer for it.

Occupation

We'll see.

How many winters have you been biking?

14 or so. They all kind of blur together to create 1 interminable experience.

Why do you ride you bike in the winter?

Riding in the winter has been my job. Paid to put up with the wind and the snow and the cars spraying slush all over you as they pass too closely. The pedestrians with their hoods up who don't bother looking when they decide to leave the sidewalk. Numb toes, frozen fingers, wind burnt cheeks and nose. Eyeballs that feel like they're about freeze solid. Pants and shoes completely destroyed by road salt. Ditto for all bike parts. Soul being slowly crushed...wait, what was the question?

What's the dumbest question or comment you've received about winter biking?

"Cold enough out there for ya?" Is that really how you're choosing to use your breath? We only have so many in our lives! Not worth it.

"Is it snowing out there?" Well, you're sitting directly beside a window, how about you turn your lazy head and see for your fucking self.

Have any crazy things happened to you while riding in the winter?

Getting stuck is deep snow drifts, bailing on ice.

I tried to ride through a snow bank that ended up having a solid core of ice covered by fresh powdery snow. Got the front wheel up and over but the back wheel hit the core and bucked me off. Slammed my foot into the ground and stubbed the shit out of my big toe. Ended up not being able to wear a shoe for a few days and eventually lost the toenail.

Any final words?

Anyone can ride their bike in the winter, it just takes the right clothing and attitude. But I'm fucking done with it.

*This is a special edition of our Winter Rider Series. Alexis is retiring today from 14 years as a bike messenger (hence the bitterness). Congratulations!