TC Bike Life: Claire Karner

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TC Bike Life is a story series featuring ordinary people doing ordinary things on their bicycles in Traverse City.

As we gear up for our 3rd annual Traverse City Winter Bike To Work and School Day on February 12th, we’re highlighting many of our winter embracing Bike Champions.

Claire is one of our faves. Year round bicycle commuter to LIAA where she works as a community planner. Former running stud at TC Central and University of Michigan. New mom to Blaise.

We asked Claire to share her winter biking experience in Traverse City. Here’s her story:

Biking in the winter is fun and challenging! It’s a great way to get fresh air and exercise in the middle of the winter when the days are short and getting outside is often difficult. My husband, Jesse, and I had a blast biking through the winters of 2013 and 2014 shortly after we moved back from Oregon because we found biking in the snow was way more fun than biking in the rain (it rains non-stop all winter in Oregon). I look forward to getting my winter bike out of storage. It’s ugly and rusty, but works perfect for me – keeps me clean and dry and gets me where I want to go. I’ve had that bike since 7th grade.

The City and volunteers have been doing an excellent job keeping the trails and streets plowed and well-maintained throughout the winter. Also, for me, it is so much easier to jump on my bike after work and ride home without worrying about cleaning off my car and shivering inside waiting for it to warm up. I’m lucky to have a very short commute to work, but I also enjoy using my bike in the winter for longer trips across town for the same reasons.

Pro tips:

1. Getting through new snow is a lot like biking through sand, you just have to keep your momentum going.

2. In the winter, it is even more important to not be afraid of taking a lane since the side of the road often has piles of snow/slush.

3. I’ve found that I don’t need special gear for winter commuting. Any warm clothes you use for skiing, hiking, walking, etc. work perfect for biking in.

TC Bike Life aims to create awareness for the growing presence of people on bicycles in Traverse City, one story at a time.


What to tell your story? Email us at