Scores turn out to experience 'the joys of cycling' in the winter

While many people would rather stay indoors and enjoy the warmth of their homes on this cold winter’s day, scores of avid bikers were out today for the annual coldest day of the year ride.

More than 100 take part in coldest day of the year ride

Dozens of bikers on Saturday participated in the coldest day of the year ride. (Paul Smith/CBC News)

While many people would rather stay indoors and enjoy the warmth of their homes on this cold winter's day, scores of avid bikers were out today for the annual coldest day of the year ride.

Jared Kolb, Executive Director of Cycle Toronto, the organizer of the event, said between 100 and 200 people took part in the five kilometre ride from Alexander the Great Parkette (Danforth Ave at Logan Ave).

"Often people gasp at the whole idea of riding a bike in the winter and what we say to them is if you can skate in the winter, if you can ski in the winter then you can ride a bike in the winter," Kolb told CBC Toronto.

Even though the temperature plunged to –13 C today, it is not the coldest day of the year. Kolb said the event had been planned months in advance to coincide with what is usually the coldest weekend.

Cycle Toronto Executive Director Jared Kolb says they've been organizing the annual coldest day of the year ride for over a decade. (Paul Smith/CBC News)

"Statistically this is around the time of the coldest day – last weekend of January, first weekend of February," he explained.

"It's not going to be as cold as that snap was in early January where we were experiencing -20 to -25 temperatures but this is a typical winter day that often people are out riding and experiencing the joys of cycling," Kolb added.

Cyclists of all ages took part

Thomas Meier, one of the youngest riders sums it up in two words.

"It's fun," he told CBC Toronto.

Thomas Meier was one of the youngest participants in the the annual coldest day of the year ride. (Paul Smith/CBC News)

Meanwhile, Gerry Withey said while she likes to cycle, her husband Gord Couttes "really likes to cycle" adding that "its Saturday so we're just doing it together".

Couttes said while a lot of people rely on their bike to get around they also have to put up with pretty harsh conditions.

"It hasn't been a great winter for cycling, it's been really, really cold and a lot of snow on the ground," he told CBC Toronto.

Gerry Withey (left) and husband Gord Couttes are avid bikers. (Paul Smith/CBC News)

Kolb said there are more people riding than ever before in the city of Toronto and bikers don't put their bikes away because its winter.

"People always think that you are going to freeze to death out there but often it's the reverse. Often it's that you are far too warm and so layering becomes a really important thing," he said.

"This is just a great way to stay active though the winter months, be able to bike to work or school or to run errands," Kolb added.

The Cycle Toronto executive also said while they've been seeing a commitment from the city to plough and maintain bike lanes, a city-wide grid of protected lanes is needed.

"A lot of Torontonians have said if they are going to ride through the winter they need a safe protected place to do it," he told CBC Toronto. 

With files from Taylor Simmons