Winter Cycling - Worth the risk?
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01-02-02, 09:04 AM
Today is my first day back to work after a two week vacation. And sadly, I had to drive due to icy conditions. The last two miles of my five mile commute are on a two lane highway, including a major interstate exit bridge. The shoulder is covered with a dusting of snow and a thin layer of ice. This would force me to ride in the lane of high-speed traffic. FYI, this is a pre-dawn ride when everyone is half asleep and driving with mostly frozen windows. I am thinking I will have to wait until the ice melts, but I would rather just get out there and bike. I have health and life insurance, so I guess there is no problem.
Any advice for cycling in similiar conditions?
How slippery is it? Maybe you can just ride normally on the stuff. Did you try riding on it? When we have freezing rain and black ice, I just ride on the grass alongside the road until free of the slick stuff. Nokian studded tires work well on ice, and should solve your problems.
Find a bike shop that has a trainer and ride inside.
01-02-02, 10:04 AM
Originally posted by capkos
Find a bike shop that has a trainer and ride inside.
I have a trainer, but that is what I am trying to avoid. I think my house slippers see more miles than my trainer. I suppose I shouldn't let a little ice bother me. But, there is something about high speed traffic and icy shoulders that makes me uneasy. The shoulder along the highway is paved along with a cable barrier on the side. So, there is nowhere to ride except the shoulder itself. I have cycled through many a winter, but until this year, my commute has never taken me on a highway. Oh, humbug.
01-02-02, 10:26 AM
Youre right, the problem is not so much riding on snow and ice, but riding with traffic on ice. Dopey drivers dont make allowences for the conditions and can take you out .
I have slipped on ice, but it doesnt hurt. The painful bit happens when the car behind you slams his brakes on and skids into you.
Im walking into work until the ice melts at the end of the week.
Few people understand the hellish circumstances of the icy two lane roads of an Iowa winter. You have to experience it to know what it is like.
I am a staunch bicycle commuter advocate, but in your case, I would say, keep of the dark, snowy, icy Iowa highways in winter.
It is only a matter of time before somebody hits you. Glad to know you have good insurance. Sadly, insurance money might not be able to get you back on a bike after a bad crash - though a clever mechanic might be able to make a wheel-chair out of your retired bike. Get the picture?
I concur wholeheartedly with Mike.
Live to ride another day!
Jon and his bear agree 100% with Mike and Louis, also. The one thing that we won't mess with is ice. Add motorists to ice and you've got a combination too potentially lethal to think about. There are just some days when it's not possible to cycle safely.
01-10-02, 01:13 AM
Not that one more similar opinion is going to matter but I would also have to concur with the 4 previous posts. I ride year round in the city (on side streets preferably - more snow but fewer cars) and whenever I wipe out my immediate danger is always the surrounding traffic. If the conditions are so slippery that you were not able to stay upright, how can a motorist at speed possibly swerve around you?
I would like to add that if you are feeling uppity (or 'ert' as Allister would say) just go for a late night romp around the neighbourhood. There is nothing quite as serene as a quiet winter's night and you will be able to enjoy it more not having to deal with traffic.
Don't do it! Wait until the ice clears. i didn't cycle to work for the fortnight prior to Christmas because of black ice in the mornings.
Just think how a broken collarbone (or worse) would affect your riding.
Insurance is no substitute for being pain and injury free.
01-10-02, 03:26 AM
I've cycled over heavily frosted roads and found these okay (the sort you get when it's been very cold but largely dry). It's sheets of black ice that would put me off. Just to be difficult I like riding off-road when it's frozen.
Note: as of 16/01/02 I discovered how much fun black ice is... see thread 'Down but not out' :(
Forget it! Riding on icy roads in the dark is not a good idea (in my mind). Wait till the roads are dry. Why risk injury or worse by risking it. PS I DO ride outdoors in the winter but if my safety is at risk I will cross train, or ride the rollers or wind trainer etc
Originally posted by RayBan
Forget it! Riding on icy roads in the dark is not a good idea (in my mind). Wait till the roads are dry. Why risk injury or worse by risking it.
Well, I wouldn't go so far as to wait until the roads are dry and the sun is up before bicycling. That wouldn't be practical in many places. Many places in the USA are light only between 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM in the winter. In Scandanavia, the days are even shorter. The only people who could bike during those hours are the unemployed and the very rich, oh and maybe the third shift workers.
Hey, you gotta ride and you gotta ride all year.
The point is that it is very dangerous to bike on ice IN HEAVY TRAFFIC.
I would say find a different and less congested route or, if not available, don't mix with traffic when the road conditions are icy.
Well no one but you can make the final decision about the weather and the condition of the road. If after what everyone has to say, you are still unsure then you should probably wait it out and use the trainer. Maybe give it a go on the weekend when there are similar conditions that way you won't be pressed for time to get to work if you decide to turn back.
I use the four icy and snowy months of the year to concentrate on maintenance on the old clunker and do lots of weight lifting. Squats!
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