Walk, spin, read bicycle journals, and

It's that time of year when people put their bicycles away for the winter. Some hardy souls soldier on and learn that the hardest part about dressing for winter is staying cool enough. It's so easy to overdress, and you work up more heat than you realize pedaling. When the snow and ice fall, a few more leave their bicycles at home, while others discover the joy of pedaling through a softly falling snow and how effective the snow plows are. Fat-tired bicycles are all the rage right now, especially in areas that get more snow than Missouri does.

If you have put away your bicycle, here are some suggestions to get you through the winter until you can get back on two wheels.

Walking: In cold weather and slick conditions, walking is preferable to any other option for short errands or recreation. Walking briskly warms you up without combining sweat and wind chill as bicycling does. Walking is a bit more stable, and if you do slip and fall it's at a slower speed and therefore less damaging.

Spinning: Spinning isn't my favorite activity. I don't see the point of pedaling nowhere. But it does keep you in shape. A friend of mine went on a spring bike ride with his wife, who had been spinning all winter. He had not ridden much since the fall. She left him behind on the hills!

Reading bicycle journals: My favorites are www.crazyguyonabike.com and www.fatcyclist.com. While fun, reading bicycle journals won't keep you fit. With a little ingenuity, you can combine it with spinning, so you can stay fit without being bored.

Skiing: I read an article about the happiness consistently generated by skiing. Skiing, however, is an expensive, time-consuming hobby that can only be done in places with mountains. Or is it? A friend of mine bought some cross-country skis and skis out his front door and into the park. He says he and his kids have just as much fun in the neighborhood as on the slopes at a resort.

Biking and walking only in good weather is a bit like starting and stopping smoking frequently. It's too hard to keep changing the habit. Staying in the habit of biking and walking all year round is easier and surprisingly fun.