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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-11-07, 11:33 AM   #1
modernjess
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Minneapolis supports winter cycling.

The City of Minneapolis recently sent this out in e-mail form. I'm a year round rider here already but it had some info I didn't know, and I was happy to get it. It's nice to know that the city does try to support cyclists in the winter too. I guess I felt the need to post it because it contains some good winter cycling info that was worth sharing, and I'm sorta proud of my town for doing it.

-------------copy pasted below-----------


In Minneapolis, many bicyclists embrace the winter months by continuing to ride. If you are already biking, or considering winter biking, here are some tips for dealing with the snow, cold temperatures, and motorists:


* Travel slowly when snow and ice are present. Riding a bike on a street can be challenging, particularly when snow has been compacted by vehicles. Ride in bare patches of pavement when possible. Take turns and curves at a slower speed, and allow longer distances for braking. Also, be sure to plan ahead for extra travel time.
* Take the off-street trails. Since Minneapolis has so many miles of trails (60 miles and counting!), urbanites from across the country often suffer from ďtrail envy.Ē To top it all off, the Park Board and Public Works Department have policies of clearing snow from off-street trails soon after the end of a snowfall. In most cases, this occurs in less than 24 hours. Leave the grime and compacted snow of the streets behind, and head for the trails!
* Use an old bike in good working condition. Salt and sand can wreak havoc on your treasured bicycle, resulting in rust and breakdowns. Use an older but functional bicycle in the winter months. Two elements of a well functioning winter bike include effective brakes and a well greased chain (wet lube is ideal for snowy conditions). Wider tires with good traction are also essential.
* Dress in layers. Just like other winter sports, bicycling can heat up your body rapidly. Apply layers to your torso and legs, and be prepared to strip them away as your body warms.
* Cover your extremities. All of us have experienced the extremes of a sweating torso and numb ears or toes. Donít ignore your head, neck, hands, and feet when you bike. Comfortable stocking caps, scarves, socks, and gloves (which allow dexterity) should be considered. And if you want to look extra cool, use goggles.
* Ride defensively around motorists. Cyclists are more invisible in the winter (with fewer cyclists riding), and roads are more narrow (when curb-to-curb plowing has not occurred). Always be prepared for motorists to make a mistake. Follow traffic laws and be as considerate as possible. Educate yourself and your friends (motorists and bicyclists alike!) on traffic laws and safety. Please note, it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane when a bike lane is filled with snow.
* Stay visible. Riding in the winter months means more darkness. Brighten your ride by using headlights, taillights, and reflective clothing and gear.
* Use 311. If you see a bicycle-related problem, which involves plowing, shoveling, signing, or another traffic concern, call 311. The City relies on the public to flag problems. If you live outside of Minneapolis, call 612-673-3000. For problems occurring on park property, call 612-230-6400.
* Use transit. When the going gets tough, give yourself a warm break by using the bus or train. All Metro Transit buses and trains are equipped with bicycle racks.
* Embrace winter. Our identity is shaped by our weather. Snow and cold temperatures add diversity and beauty to Minneapolis. Riding a bicycle in the winter can be exhilarating and practical. It keeps you in good health, itís good for the environment, itís cheap, and at times, itís even the fastest mode of travel.

Happy Riding,

City of Minneapolis Bicycle Program
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Old 12-11-07, 11:46 AM   #2
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It would be nice if they would broadcast the last line of#6 on that list via the news.

You can also sign up http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/bicycles/ for email alerts through the city. I also signed up for guaranteed ride home yesterday. Cool program!

And I didn't realize that the goggles made me look extra cool...
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Old 12-11-07, 11:53 PM   #3
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This is nice to see. I've noticed more courteous drivers lately as well. I think it's a mixture of respect and pity when they see us out there. But the Midtown Greenway still isn't free of "grime and compacted snow" and its been over a week.
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Old 12-12-07, 02:44 PM   #4
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This is nice to see. I've noticed more courteous drivers lately as well. I think it's a mixture of respect and pity when they see us out there. But the Midtown Greenway still isn't free of "grime and compacted snow" and its been over a week.
Neither are the roads. Snow removal has been subject to deep and numerous budget cuts in recent years. Strange considering how much less occasion they've had to need it.
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Old 12-12-07, 07:47 PM   #5
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Weak ass Public Works Department...
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Old 12-12-07, 07:49 PM   #6
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I doff my Bell Ghisallo to you northern commuters. You are truly the Hard Men of Commuting.
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Old 12-12-07, 08:31 PM   #7
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I doff my Bell Ghisallo to you northern commuters. You are truly the Hard Men of Commuting.
Why? It was a balmy 5 F this morning. LOL

TY caloso.
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Old 12-12-07, 09:13 PM   #8
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I doff my Bell Ghisallo to you northern commuters. You are truly the Hard Men of Commuting.
I don't know about that. I cry a lot during the morning commute.
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Old 12-12-07, 09:19 PM   #9
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Please note, it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane when a bike lane is filled with snow.
I believe in Minnesota it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane at all times.
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Old 12-12-07, 09:22 PM   #10
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I believe in Minnesota it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane at all times.
Ahhhhh but this is what the man doesn't want you to know. Damn the man.
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Old 12-12-07, 09:55 PM   #11
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I believe in Minnesota it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane at all times.
MS 169.222
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Old 12-12-07, 10:41 PM   #12
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MS 169.222
Legal Question: Can a city pass a law that overrides the state law within the city limits?

I'm not suggesting that Minneapolis might have done that, I'm just curious.
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Old 12-12-07, 10:48 PM   #13
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This is nice to see. I've noticed more courteous drivers lately as well. I think it's a mixture of respect and pity when they see us out there. But the Midtown Greenway still isn't free of "grime and compacted snow" and its been over a week.
Today I noticed a lot more bare pavement on the trails. It might just be my imagination, but the studded tires seem to go a little easier on compacted snow than on pavement. Maybe it just seems that way because they're quieter in the snow.

Anyway I'm very appreciative of the trails and the fact that they are relatively clear compared to the sides of many residential streets. There are about a half dozen people in my office that commute during the warmer weather. I'm the only one left now although someone else said they're just waiting for trail/road conditions to get a little better.
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Old 12-13-07, 12:50 AM   #14
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It might just be my imagination, but the studded tires seem to go a little easier on compacted snow than on pavement. Maybe it just seems that way because they're quieter in the snow.
I've noticed this as well. Its could be that bare pavement+studs makes for a little too much traction. But that first ride in the spring with slicks back on the bike is sweeeeeeeeet!
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Old 12-13-07, 09:20 AM   #15
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Why can't other cities, ones that would more easily support year around cycling, (sorry below 0 is my cycling limit) have this kind of cycling support?
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Old 12-13-07, 11:15 AM   #16
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Why? It was a balmy 5 F this morning. LOL

TY caloso.
Ugh. It was 30F here this morning and it was BRISK, baby! I can't imagine riding when it's 25 degrees colder.
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Old 12-13-07, 11:32 AM   #17
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I wish the City of Seattle would have an attitude towards cyclists that is half this nice. Recently, a street car was put in in a section of downtown, but, tracks were placed too far to the right for bicyclists to ride safely on the right, and gaps between the pavement and the tracks is 40-something mm. And, they are postponing putting in any bike-safe infrastructure (signs, for example) until 2009.
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Old 12-13-07, 12:41 PM   #18
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I believe in Minnesota it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane at all times.
Yes - as to riding on the roadways, but not to completely monopolize the lane unless specific conditions exist (bad road conditions or construction, loose snow, parked cars, too narrow of a lane to safely pull to the right). The provision authorizing cycles on the roadway has to be read in conjunction with the provision that requires the cyclist to ride as far to the right as possible (except where road conditions don't permit, or when preparing to make a left, etc.) These provisions, in turn, are read in conjunction with the "passing" provisions which dictates how a motorist is required to pass a bicycle (the bicycle is considered a "slow moving vehicle" for the purposes of determining how the cager must pass -- i.e. passing with a safe clearance of at least 3 feet, not pulling back to the right until there is safe clearance, etc.).

The city/municipal ordinances cannot directly contradict the state statutes (which isn't to say it doesn't happen from time to time, in which case there are a separate set of laws, as well as the state constitution, that governs statutory interpretation and how to reconcile conflicting laws). But the statutes usually leave room for the municipality to pass ordinances that control within their jurisdiction. For instance, the provision about bicycles being permitted to ride on sidewalks except in business districts or where otherwise prohibited, gives the city leeway to designate areas where bikes aren't allowed. Or the general provision about bikes being allowed on legal roadways (not on highways, for instance) would allow a municipality to designate roadways where cycling is not permitted.
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Old 12-13-07, 02:52 PM   #19
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Legal Question: Can a city pass a law that overrides the state law within the city limits?
I'm not suggesting that Minneapolis might have done that, I'm just curious.
No. Doesn't mean they won't put one on the books (again).

Link to MN bicycle laws as published by The State.
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Old 12-13-07, 07:43 PM   #20
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You miss my point. In the original "tips," it said, "Please note, it is legal to ride in a general traffic lane when a bike lane is filled with snow." If I did not know better, I would assume from this that in the absence of snow it is not legal to ride in a "general traffic lane," which is not the case.

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Old 12-13-07, 07:49 PM   #21
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Wow! I'm impressed and VERY jealous! Safe riding!
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Old 12-13-07, 10:33 PM   #22
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Had a great time riding to school this morning. I even wore my fingerless gloves, it was absolutely beautiful.

I love Minneapolis.
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Old 12-15-07, 08:06 AM   #23
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its -3 out and ok about to hop on the bike and stick it to old man winter again.
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Old 12-15-07, 08:56 AM   #24
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I'm planning a ride on the lake today to hone my ice riding skills a bit with my new studs..-3F and no wind so far...everything will sound crisp and sharp....
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Old 12-16-07, 07:25 PM   #25
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What a blast!!!
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