Happy Winter Bike to Work Day (in Chicago at least)

Historically in Chicago January 20 marks the coldest day on record — when temps registered 27 degrees (F) below zero at O’Hare International Airport.

In honor of the dedicated cyclists who keep the pedals turning during these cooler temperatures, Chicago’s Active Transportation Alliance is hosting a celebration this morning for bike commuters. Today we don’t have the below zero temperatures (yet) but it’s still chilly out there.

Happy Winter Bike to Work Day from Chicago!

As posted on the Active Trans calendar:

Bike by the Federal Plaza in Chicago’s Loop on Jan. 20 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for the annual celebration of cyclists who don’t let cooler temperatures stop them from pedaling to work.

The Active Trans warming tent will provide riders with Caribou coffee and tea plus our traditional Eli’s Cheesecake. This event commemorates coldest day in Chicago history—Jan. 20, 1985, when the official temperature at O’Hare International Airport was 27 degrees below zero. Federal Plaza is located at Adams Street and Dearborn Street in the Loop.

Get a Grip Cycles will be at the event showing off winter gear and offering free adjustments, West Town Bikes will be pumping out the tunes with its sound system trailer and Chicago Bike Winter will be offering free fleece headwear. Representatives from the Chainlink website also will be on hand to introduce cyclists to their resources.

For more winter riding events and tips, check out the resources organized by winter cyclists on the Bike Winter website.


  1. Ghost Rider

    Did you attend this? If so, I’d love to hear more about it.

  2. Graham

    I will go ahead and say what all the Southerners are thinking: You people are nuts!

    Stay safe out there!

  3. Iron_Man

    My town in SW Missouri may not have any event, but I’ve noticed the drivers do seem to show me a little more respect in this weather. Come spring all bets are off of course.

  4. Ghost Rider

    @Iron_Man — I’ve heard that, too. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but perhaps the feeling is, “that poor sap must be REALLY desperate to get somewhere…I suppose I’ll give ’em extra caution.”

  5. Elizabeth (Post author)

    Sadly I did not attend the day’s festivities…. work took me in the opposite direction on this particular day. BUT — temps were definitely not that bad. And even Friday’s 2-degrees morning temps were tolerable. I was colder when it was 29-deg and sleeting (dampness just goes right through me) but the streets are bone dry (except for the occasional ice patch which I already know to expect) and the winds were mild – and somewhat at my back both ways! Horray! You can see a full report and a few images direct from Active Trans’ blog

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