The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Winter Biking Will Suck A Little Less This Year

By Kim Bellware in News on Dec 14, 2011 10:00PM

We already know our winter will be cold and snowy, but if you're one of the many downtown-bound bike commuters, this year might be the most bearable yet for winter biking.

Just last week, the city received special snow removal and salt truck specially fitted for the protected bike lanes as part of Advil's "Congestion Relief Project" (Check out our friends at GRID Chicago for photos of the truck and last week's event).

How protected bike lanes would be maintained in winter was a question on many commuters' minds when the first protected lane was installed along Kinzie this spring (there are more lanes on the way along Jackson Blvd, 18th St and Elston Avenue); come snow plow season, designated bike lanes and shared lanes are typically lost to the mountains of plowed snow.

The special truck and plow should make a difference to the cars and bikers who take the highly trafficked Milwaukee to Kinzie route each day. Though it's just one truck for now, commuters will be especially grateful if the city stays on track with Mayor Emanuel's plan to add at least 25 miles of protected bike lane a year.

Though no special plows or plans have been announced for the regular ol' bike lanes this year, check back next week for our two-part guide on winter biking in Chicago.

In the meantime, the Huffington Post has a nice infographic on why biking is so damn great-no matter what the weather's like outside.

Lookout for parts I and II of our Winter Biking in Chicago special next Monday and Wednesday.