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Old 12-03-07, 11:31 AM   #1
swwhite
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Announcing my winter certification

Just a "press release" to announce the next step in my bicycling evolution, winter certification. This is loosely defined as being able to get to work by bicycle when the roads are covered with snow.

I tried this last year when there was unplowed snow on the roads, and could not get through, and turned back. This time, the roads all had gotten a preliminary swipe with the plows, but they still were covered with the packed snow. (Eskimos must have a special word for that.) Since it still was snow, almost all the way, and I had no difficulty moving on it with my new studded tires and lighter winter bike, I feel justified in claiming that I am capable of riding in snow. If the snow ever is deep enought to stop me, it is going to hinder greatly the motorized traffic as well.

Now that I have achieved this fourth certification, I am in search of a commemorative patch to sew on my jacket. I have to find a design and someone who makes such things in small volumes (of 1). The three other certifications I have achieved are for cold, rain, and darkness. This winter certification completes my advanced level of cycling capability.

Now for the next challenge, I am reaching for the three "grand master of utility cycling" certifications. The first will be a grocery run by bicycle, hauling home at least four standard bags of groceries. The next, which I no longer can achieve because of my marital status, would be going on a date on a bicycle. The final level, which I also can no longer achieve because the kids are too old, would be an accomplishment so rare and so difficult that I probably never could do it even if I had the chance. Nor could anyone, probably. That highest level of utility cycling capability would be...picking up one's teenage daughter from school on a bicycle.

Maybe I could get some sort of honorary patch for those top two levels.
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Old 12-03-07, 01:46 PM   #2
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... The next, which I no longer can achieve because of my marital status, would be going on a date on a bicycle. ...
Ah, but this makes you eligible for the heretofore-unattained level of Grand Utility Ultra-Velo Family Dynamic Poobah:
getting your wife to go on a date with you on your bike. Not on her own, on yours.
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Old 12-03-07, 02:15 PM   #3
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Not on her own, on yours.
I've been looking for a reason to buy an Xtracycle.
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Old 12-03-07, 02:23 PM   #4
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Riding at night in the cold over snow covered streets during freezing rain would be next step i believe. Anyway i have three of these, i am missing a snow ride since dont have winter tires. Here in Toronto they do a pretty good job of keeping the streets clean so i never buy them .
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Old 12-03-07, 02:31 PM   #5
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I've gotten groceries in the dark, ridden in the snow in the dark, and a bunch of other stuff. My peers think I am a different kind of "certifiable" however, I'm with you. If I can't get somewhere on The Goat, no one else can get there, either.
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Old 12-03-07, 02:38 PM   #6
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Merit badges now?
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Old 12-03-07, 02:53 PM   #7
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Riding at night in the cold over snow covered streets during freezing rain would be next step i believe. Anyway i have three of these, i am missing a snow ride since dont have winter tires. Here in Toronto they do a pretty good job of keeping the streets clean so i never buy them .
Yeah, I've not had to ride through crazy deep snow here yet. Last winter (in Jan or Feb this year) we had a surprise storm one morning, there were a couple of inches still left on Spadina (a major road), but mostly fairly well cleared for the majority of my riding. I prefer taking major streets as it's often a faster route so these are naturally cleared more.

I'm still running my road treads, and until Thursday was riding my roadie (sans fenders ) - I don't want to bother changing to knobbies unless I really have to, and it just isn't that bad out there, in fact I probably would've been fine on my roadie today. I'll be having some fun tonight on the way home

There are certain weather situations I wouldn't ride in, but they're the same kind of things I wouldn't also walk in. If I would go outdoors in it, I'd ride my bike in it is my rule. I've never done a full year of commuting - so I'm keen to keep on trucking, and so far it's not been much of a drag. My gripe now is just having to work harder riding the heavy MTB, I should get fenders on the roadie and quit my yapping
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Old 12-03-07, 03:33 PM   #8
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Merit badges now?
Just a little mental trick to keep the motivation up. Buying gadgets is another method.
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Old 12-03-07, 04:01 PM   #9
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The final level, which I also can no longer achieve because the kids are too old, would be an accomplishment so rare and so difficult that I probably never could do it even if I had the chance. Nor could anyone, probably. That highest level of utility cycling capability would be...picking up one's teenage daughter from school on a bicycle.
.
Agreed. This would be impossible. That's not to say it couldn't be done but to say that it wouldn't be done. Ever (hence it's impossible). I dare say picking up a teenage son on a bike would fit the same category---impossible.

If you approached the school an appropriate bike, such as a tandem or one with a bakalite (sp?), and pedaled into the designated "pick-up" zone to wait for your kid--he/she would never, ever come out. They know where to hide and you'd never find them. I'm sure of this--I've got three teenagers who are fairly well adjusted. But they wouldn't do this.

My old neighbor had an older Chevy that was repainted green (was grey). He picked up his daughter every day from school, at a market a block away from the school. She wouldn't get in the car if he drove to the school with it.
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Old 12-03-07, 07:09 PM   #10
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Swet, me too (to the OP). It's really not that bad. I was getting al thee dire warnings ("You wil FALL if you don't have Nokias front and rear, and if you don't have disc brakes, you WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP AND YOU WILL DIE" ). I found none of that too be true. When going through snow of any significant depth I was travelling way too slow to even need brakes. And Ice was no issue at all with 35mm cyclocross tires. What a let-down.
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Old 12-03-07, 07:28 PM   #11
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Just a little mental trick to keep the motivation up. Buying gadgets is another method.

Touche'.
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Old 12-03-07, 09:37 PM   #12
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Now that I have achieved this fourth certification, I am in search of a commemorative patch to sew on my jacket. I have to find a design and someone who makes such things in small volumes (of 1). The three other certifications I have achieved are for cold, rain, and darkness. This winter certification completes my advanced level of cycling capability.
Over in the Roadie Forum someone was starting a titanium club where each member with a titanium bike gets a number. We could have commuting ceritifcations. Then you can get larger batches made. Also we'll need a badge for heat. +90F I'm thinking.

I'm halfway joking, but in a way it does seem like an interesting idea.

Cold = <20F
Heat = >90F
Snow = 2" of standing snow
Rain = You leave for work even if it is raining steadily
Dark = You commute at night

I'm certified in all of the above.
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Old 12-03-07, 09:49 PM   #13
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<-- Still running slicks at -25C and snow packed sections.

Have a hombrew 'spiked' tire for when it gets really nasty - but I am gonna try and stay with slicks through the winter
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Old 12-03-07, 10:05 PM   #14
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<-- Still running slicks at -25C and snow packed sections.

Have a hombrew 'spiked' tire for when it gets really nasty - but I am gonna try and stay with slicks through the winter
My plan was to try to run semi slicks all winter, but at the first dusting of snow today I got a bit nervous for some reason and ended up throwing on an old set of MTB tires. The knobbies do make me feel much more confident.
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Old 12-03-07, 10:06 PM   #15
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Over in the Roadie Forum someone was starting a titanium club where each member with a titanium bike gets a number. We could have commuting ceritifcations. Then you can get larger batches made. Also we'll need a badge for heat. +90F I'm thinking.

I'm halfway joking, but in a way it does seem like an interesting idea.

Cold = <20F
Heat = >90F
Snow = 2" of standing snow
Rain = You leave for work even if it is raining steadily
Dark = You commute at night

I'm certified in all of the above.

Being as you're from the 'Burgh how about adding a DDF(Dirty Dozen Finisher) Patch, too?
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Old 12-04-07, 05:04 AM   #16
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Cold = <20F
Heat = >90F
Snow = 2" of standing snow
Rain = You leave for work even if it is raining steadily
Dark = You commute at night

I'm certified in all of the above.
Likewise. Although, can we get "platinum psycho commuter" status for:

Cold < 0F
Heat > 100F
Snow => 6"
Tornadoes and/or hail
I got nothing for darkness, other than dark + snow or dark + tornadoes and hail.

Again, I'd qualify for all of the above. Although Tornadoes, Hail, Cold, and Snow all were riding distances of under 4 miles each way.
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Old 12-04-07, 05:44 AM   #17
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Congrats on your new certs (add it to the resume/cv now before you forget). For the complete qualifications you should demonstrate your mastery of saftey skillz: fix a flat in sub zero temps and push a stranded motorist out of a ditch. After completing these two tasks and buying me a black & tan you will be a "master winter commuter"
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Old 12-04-07, 02:10 PM   #18
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Just a "press release" to announce the next step in my bicycling evolution, winter certification. This is loosely defined as being able to get to work by bicycle when the roads are covered with snow. <SNIP>

Now that I have achieved this fourth certification, I am in search of a commemorative patch to sew on my jacket. I have to find a design and someone who makes such things in small volumes (of 1). The three other certifications I have achieved are for cold, rain, and darkness. This winter certification completes my advanced level of cycling capability.

I like the patch idea... Lets see in the last 2 weeks:
- At least 3 commuted in torrential rain. I've had to wear my full rain gear about a half dozen times.
- All commutes have been in the dark pretty much since Daylight Saving Time come to an end
- At least a half dozen days the temperature was below 32 during the commute
- Yesterday I rode home in what was officially a Severe Weather Advisory including a geniuine Snow Storm. Luckily I live just North of Buffalo so I only had 25 MPH winds gusting to 50 MPH and about 1" to 2" of accumulation to deal with (South and well East of the city there was up to 13" of snow). Due to the heavy wind the roads were VERY icy under the thin layer of snow. Studded tires rock!


Now for the next challenge, I am reaching for the three "grand master of utility cycling" certifications. The first will be a grocery run by bicycle, hauling home at least four standard bags of groceries.

- Been there done that. My paniers were bursting at the seams, as was my handle bar bag, and the items that were bozed were bagged together and strapped on top of the rack.

The next, which I no longer can achieve because of my marital status, would be going on a date on a bicycle.

- Does a Picnic at a local part count? It was an 8 mile bike ride? I just bought a Kent Tandem (I know I should spend at least $1000 for a good one, but I just don't have that kind of money right now), and at least this way I can try to get more riding in with my wife.
Come this Spring the Tandem or our individial bikes WILL become the preferred method of getting to the stores in the weekends (the Wife doesn't quite know that yet). My wife suffers from Asthma and gets winded easily. With the Tandem I hope to be able to build up her endurance and be able to get her to enjoy the bike rides. The stores are less than 3 miles from home so this is not an unreasonable goal. It will also prevent over-shopping.


The final level, which I also can no longer achieve because the kids are too old, would be an accomplishment so rare and so difficult that I probably never could do it even if I had the chance. Nor could anyone, probably. That highest level of utility cycling capability would be...picking up one's teenage daughter from school on a bicycle.

-My daughter was asking about being able to ride to School. I first need to get my wife's lungs a bit stronger and get my 6 year old riding comfortably solo (both I hope to achieve this Spring). I will then be able to ride along with my daughter to School. I now leave for work after she gets on the School Bus, and I pass her School on the way to and from work. In the afternoon my wife would then have to ride to school (about 2 miles) and pick her up and escort her home. The middle school and high school are both about .75 miles further down the road. If I feel comfortable she may be allowed to do the middle school un-accompanied. Middle school starts in 5th grade, and she should be able to be to have enough road "smarts" to do it safely by then. I used to ride to high school on my bike so that she should easily be able to do on her own. Certainly a LOT cheaper than owning and operating a car.

Maybe I could get some sort of honorary patch for those top two levels.

I think that would be well deserved!

Happy riding,
André
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Old 12-04-07, 02:16 PM   #19
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Over in the Roadie Forum someone was starting a titanium club where each member with a titanium bike gets a number. We could have commuting ceritifcations. Then you can get larger batches made. Also we'll need a badge for heat. +90F I'm thinking.

I'm halfway joking, but in a way it does seem like an interesting idea.

Cold = <20F
Heat = >90F
Snow = 2" of standing snow
Rain = You leave for work even if it is raining steadily
Dark = You commute at night

I'm certified in all of the above.
I am +1 on all of those. Now what badge to you get for convincing your co-worker to do likewise.
I had a great ride yesterday with the Innova studded tires. During the day my co-worker bought the Nokia 106's for his bike from Peter White. He is even eyeing up my Shimano hub and wheel set Peter White build for me back in October. This is all season riding is contagious. We are both getting some sort of kick from just getting through all the bad weather. There must be something slightly wrong with us, but it at least it should be safer and much cheaper than taking on some other trill sport like sky diving.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 12-04-07, 02:45 PM   #20
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"platinum psycho commuter":
Cold < 0F
Heat > 100F
Snow => 6"
Tornadoes and/or hail
You guys all rock. I've got the above, except no tornado, just blindingly painful hail. The noises it makes as it pings the metal bike frame is cool at first, and then the stuff showers down on you. Aah!

Here's my son earning his winter commuter merit badge when he was 11 years old. 5°F / -15°C & 10 mph / 16 km/hr head wind.

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Old 12-04-07, 03:04 PM   #21
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Cold = <20F
Heat = >90F
Snow = 2" of standing snow
Rain = You leave for work even if it is raining steadily
Dark = You commute at night

I'm certified in all of the above.
The San Francisco version looks like:
Cold = <50F
Heat = >70F
Snow = What?
Rain = It rained, and you actually saw it,and it was a work day.
Dark = You commute at night
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Old 12-04-07, 09:31 PM   #22
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Cold < 0F
Heat > 100F
Snow => 6"
Tornadoes and/or hail
I think we need to make it 3 out of 4 to qualify for "platinum" status. There's a limited number of places that'll actually see sub zero temps and 6 inches of snow on the roads, yet still have 100 degree days in the summer. You can't exclude someone just because of their location.
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Old 12-04-07, 09:53 PM   #23
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My plan was to try to run semi slicks all winter, but at the first dusting of snow today I got a bit nervous...
Funny you mention that. I re-certified for snow+dark today (tonight actually) and was still riding on slicks. The snow kept lodging in the lip of my headlight and I was a bit apprehensive about taking a hand off the bars to wipe it clear. They worked much better than I would imagine, although, my new "snow/ice bike" equipped with studded tires is ready for later in the week.

I'd give a badge to anyone who commutes everyday by bike too...it's so easy to succumb to the ease of the metal box (for me at least)


< 0F? That's the top one IMHO

;^)
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Old 12-04-07, 10:14 PM   #24
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The San Francisco version looks like:
...
Rain = It rained, and you actually saw it,and it was a work day.
This morning was pretty wet. It was raining steadily when I left, and I got *soaked*! Getting out the booties next time, my feet were making squish squash sounds walking through the office to the shower.

But ya, to your point, that's most likely the worst commute of the year here in SF.
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Old 12-06-07, 10:09 AM   #25
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Yesterday my ride to work started with temperatures around 19F. During the day we hit a high of 22 F, but the temperature was back to 19 Fon the way out of the office. I had to ride to my Mother in-laws house to meet up with my wife and daughter for diner. I went home around 8:00 PM and it sure felt colder when I started. I figured it was just that my gloves and shirt were still a little bit humid from the sweating I did on the ride other. I got home and some light in the garage and the bike computer tells me it is 9 F. I figure that must be wrong. An hour later I realized I had to get some supplies that could not wait, and I realy needed to put some gas in my car since I have to go out of town for a business meeting today. My car tells me it is hovering between 8 and 9 F. Wow, that is a new "low" for me while riding the bike. After a mile of riding I was comfy wearing nothing more than tights, a T shirt, a fleece pull-over, a wind breaker, and a cap under my helmet... I didn't think this would be warm enough, but it is.

Today is the first day in weeks that I've had to drive tomorrow back to riding again... I can't wait.
Happy riding,
André
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