Portrait of a Winter Beater by Tamia Nelson

Snow and ice, road salt and grit, harsh temperatures and abrasive slush… these add up to rough conditions for riding a bike. Which is why many cyclists switch to a beater bike for winter commuting. The owner of this soft-tail salvaged the bike from the crusher’s jaws. With electrical tape he lashed on a trashed milk crate to carry his returnable bottles and sack of groceries. Tape keeps the torn saddle from disintegrating, too, and it builds up hand grips where there were none. He smiled widely when loading up for the two mile ride home on sloppy streets, uncaring that his bike won’t win any beauty contests. He was riding, after all. And others weren’t. (Including me!)

Winter Beater Bike by Tamia Nelson

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For half a century, Tamia Nelson has been ranging far and wide by bike, boat, and on foot. A geologist by training, an artist since she could hold a pencil, a photographer since her uncle gave her a twin-lens reflex camera when she was 10, she's made her living as a writer and novelist for two decades. Avocationally her interests span natural history, social history, cooking, art, and self-powered outdoor pursuits, and she has broad experience in mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, cycling, snowshoeing and skiing.