Brrrr…and you thought it was cold here?

HERE in good ol’ Blighty, the weather has definitely turned its dial setting to Winter.  Every weekend, cyclists across the land awake blurry-eyed and poke their heads round the curtains to see if the conditions make it possible to venture out onto the roads.

Snow? No chance. Ice? Definitely not. Frost? Only on gritted main roads? All three? Maybe the turbo then. There’s no doubt about it, we think that we’re a pretty hardy bunch here up northern. Rule No.5 – we eat that before breakfast. After all, we’re northerners, aren’t we.

Well, we’re all about to look – quite frankly – like namby-pambys courtesy of photographer Valérian Mazataud. Why, well the Franco-canadian is based in Montreal, which – along with Moscow and Sapporo,  is one of the coldest and snowiest cities in the world that has more than onemillion inhabitants.

Valérian said: “Nevertheless, it’s the only one which finds its way into the top 20 of the most bicycle-friendly cities, according to the Copenhagenize index.

“During the winter, an estimated 15 per cent of cyclists remain on their saddles, around 50000 of them.

“If 10 years ago, the winter cyclist could be considered as a freak (hurluberlu in french), the phenomenon is now far from being marginal.

“These self-proclaimed ‘huluberlus’ may well be the first represents of a urban population accepting its ‘winterity’. In other words, choosing to embrace winter rather than fight it.

“North is not so much in latitudes, as it is in attitudes and reminds us of Louis-Édmond Hamelin, a famous Quebec linguist and geographer. Could accepting one’s winterity be a first step towards accepting one’s identity?

“Project Urluberlu aims at portraying this semi-nomadic winter population through a series of formal portraits inspired by ethnographer or anthropologists explorers discovering unknown tribes, in their natural environment, that is to say, huge snow piles left over after a street has been cleared from snow.”

To view more of Valérian photos of cyclists braving far worse winter weather than our own, head over to



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About james 65 Articles
Editor of Spin Cycle Magazine

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