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Cold Commute

By Andrew Persson |

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The winter season in Bemidji can be harsh, with extremely low temperatures being common. Many students are concerned about having their car warmed up before they drive to class every day, however there are still quite a few students, both on and off campus, that walk or bike to school in these frigid conditions.

Photo by Andrew Persson
Photo by Andrew Persson

One of the most important things to keep in mind when considering outdoor commuting is to cover as much skin as possible. Exposed skin gets cold very fast, and not only is it unpleasant, it is also a safety concern. If not dressed properly, there is a definite possibility for frostbite. Frostbite can occur after only an hour spent in 20-degree temperatures, and it’s safe to say most Bemidji winter days are much colder than that, so it is extremely important to wear a hat, gloves and jacket.

A great investment for this time of year is a reliable pair of boots. Off campus students may need to leave home before the city workers can clear sidewalks of snow, so having a tall pair of boots can save the hassle of wet clothing. Water resistance is key as well; feet are part of the body that will get coldest first, so finding a pair of boots to keep feet dry and warm all winter could help avoid any cold crises.

For those that will brave the conditions and still bike to class, there are three keys to safer travels. First, reduce the amount of air in the tires slightly for better traction, just as you do in a car.

Second, find suitable eyewear. Cold temperatures and the movement of air from biking can be difficult on the eyes, and even a pair of sunglasses can save from some painful rides.

Finally, slow it down during this season because roads and sidewalks are slippery and dangerous. For the safety of yourself, other pedestrians and automobile drivers, take the extra minute to get to class, it may make this winter’s commutes a lot easier and safer.

All students should dress warmly, but those that walk and bike to campus need to take extra precaution as they spend an excessive amount of time outside. Bemidji winters are rarely mild, so take control of your own well being by preparing to take on the elements safely this snowy season.