In ‘snow globe’ city, committed cyclists keep their wheels rolling year-round

Dec 19, 2016

At this time of year, riding through the streets of Buffalo on two wheels can be harrowing even to think about. But for many Buffalonians, it’s a way of life no matter what the season.


Snow Roll riders make the turn at end of the Erie Basin Marina.
Credit Seamus Gallivan / Slow Roll Buffalo

Despite frigid temperatures, icy conditions, and snow beginning to pile up along area roadways, plenty of passionate cyclists took to the streets on Saturday, making the year-round tradition of the Slow Roll into a Snow Roll.

Slow Roll Buffalo Co-Founder Seamus Gallivan said while it takes a little extra gumption to get on two wheels in the winter, it’s not so far-fetched for many Western New Yorkers.

“There are people – many of us on that ride – who the bicycle remains if not primary, a vehicle that we use 12 months a year. I’ll be back on the streets today in this snow globe city and I expect cars to continue looking out for bicycles as we share the road.”

Gallivan was joined by plenty of fellow riders in a more than six mile trek from The Barrel Factory in Buffalo’s Old First Ward, through the downtown area, along the waterfront, and back again. The route did have to change slightly from original plans due to some poor plowing.

“There were some roads that were not really great to ride on that we avoided, and some that we rode through anyway,” said Gallivan. “We really were happy to say we had zero spills.”

Regular Slow Roll Buffalo Rider Francisco Velez Velasquez donned a Santa Claus suit and dressed his bike in horns and ornaments for the first Snow Roll of the winter season.
Credit Seamus Gallivan / Slow Roll Buffalo

Because weather for the first Snow Roll of the season was more inclement than it was last year, the event didn’t garner quite as high a turnout. Gallivan wasn’t concerned, though, since the focus was to enjoy year-round riding no matter what. One regular Slow Roller even got into the full holiday spirit, donning a Santa suit and decorating his ride for the occasion. However, plenty of those who participated were new to the winter biking experience.

“There’s certainly that fun element of maybe trying something new and different, which Slow Roll has been for a lot of people – just maybe in the context of the regular year, kind of getting out on their bike more often – and this is certainly the case,” said Gallivan.

While biking is an activity that many people might not have previously considered for the winter season, outside of pursuits like skiing and snowshoeing, those that are will have two more opportunities to join in. Snow Rolls are planned for January 28 and February 26. For anyone interested, Gallivan has a few pointers.

“[I] recommend having fenders so you’re not kicking up water from the road onto yourself. But really, you just have to have thick enough tires. Some people use the fat tire bikes which are fun but not necessary,” said Gallvan.

Gallivan also recommends bundling up properly for the ride, and visiting a local cycle shop to talk to staff about how to get ready for winter riding.

More information on Slow Roll Buffalo and future Snow Rolls is available at slowrollbuffalo.org.