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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 01-19-11, 07:48 AM   #1
BigCurly
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Frost on the roads

Hi everyone,

I've been commuting to work since September, I stopped when the weather got cold, but this week has been nice so I rode to work on Monday and Tuesday. This morning it is -1 and the roads look frosty.

I know a lot of people bike in much worse conditions, I was just wondering what I should look out for on the roads on mornings like this one? I'm not riding to work this morning and I am not happy about it.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 01-19-11, 08:10 AM   #2
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If you dress for it, you can ride. Takes a little longer than in the summer, what with all the extra stuff to put on, but cold doesn't need to stop you. Folks do it in worse conditions.
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Old 01-19-11, 08:12 AM   #3
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I draw the line at 0-10 degrees F. Any moisture in the air tends to stick to the ground in the worst places here, and you never know what you're gonna get at 5:30 a.m. I ride in these temps only if the forecast is for clear skies. Some of you are just plain nuts
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Old 01-19-11, 09:40 AM   #4
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I had quite a bit of black ice to get through this morning on my commute. Stay vertical on your turns and easy on the acceleration and braking. This is when my fixed-gear really comes in handy! Also, watch out for those rounded curbs. I normally go down them at an angle to reduce the impact and my bike went right out from under me last week as I exited our driveway.
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Old 01-19-11, 10:49 AM   #5
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Studded tires for icy roads.
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Old 01-19-11, 11:08 AM   #6
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I don't ride if there's black ice on the roads. Not worth the risk to me.
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Old 01-19-11, 11:21 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BigCurly View Post
Hi everyone,

I've been commuting to work since September, I stopped when the weather got cold, but this week has been nice so I rode to work on Monday and Tuesday. This morning it is -1 and the roads look frosty.

I know a lot of people bike in much worse conditions, I was just wondering what I should look out for on the roads on mornings like this one? I'm not riding to work this morning and I am not happy about it.

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks.
-1C or -1F? If -1C ride like you always would. If -1F, take it slower, in case of ice any braking or sudden/sharp turns can be hazardous. Keep your center of gravity on the rear tire as much as possible. Deflate your tires a bit to improve traction. Studded tires or at least knobbies will also help.
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Old 01-19-11, 11:34 AM   #8
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Studded tires for icy roads.

+1. Seriously, try studded tires- they are great for frost or ice on the road. Ride with them all winter, even if the roads are clear. Just put them on in Nov/December, forget about 'em until April.

It's a great way to remove doubt about riding the bike, when conditions seem iffy otherwise.
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Old 01-19-11, 11:54 AM   #9
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If it's -1 C then just ride and maybe take it a little easier like the roads were wet. If it was just after some rain or snow melt and there's sheets of ice you need to worry about then, yeah studded tires are a big help.

The stuff that condenses and freezes on the road is nothing to worry about. A layer of wet leaves will be a lot slipperier. I ride a road bike most of the year and don't switch to my winter bike until after the first significant snow or ice storm. It has plain old 23 mm tires on it and I use it in temps well below freezing.

Though I switch to studded tires for the winter, there are people who stick to their road bikes and normal tires if they're riding downtown.
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Old 01-19-11, 11:59 AM   #10
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Based on the description (stopping in September due to cold, nice weather this week, roads "looking" frosty), I'd say the OP meant -1C. In that case, JPprivate is right. Ride like you always do. Unless it's been much colder than that for days, the roads won't be icy when the air temp drops to -1C. As always, though, watch out for wet leaves and use caution on bridges which might actually have some frost at that temp.
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Old 01-19-11, 12:44 PM   #11
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I don't think it's ever a bad idea to do some non-commute trials. The next time conditions are ripe for frosty roads, get up a little early and try riding on a quiet street or parking lot. Brake easy then gradually harder with the rear brake to see what affect the frost has on traction. Things like that.
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Old 01-19-11, 12:59 PM   #12
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Ride until you get to where you are going... or fall. Whatever comes first ;-). Either way you've got to get back on again.

Seriously just take it easy.
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Old 01-19-11, 01:03 PM   #13
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Some of the more useful bike handling tips I've come across:

http://icebike.com/Articles/TechniquesBlackIce.htm

The bit about leaning your body instead of the bike is particularly helpful.
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Old 01-19-11, 02:30 PM   #14
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I don't ride without studded tires if there's any chance of ice on the roads. That means the studs are on in November until March, maybe April.

A lot of my route is extremely rural and I wouldn't care if I fell there, but I also ride on 50 MPH roads with two lanes (one each way) and semi trucks. I've had semis pass me at 40 MPH on my right as I'm waiting to turn left, within a foot of me. I can't risk falling in front of traffic doing 50 MPH on icy roads.
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Old 01-19-11, 03:45 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandbike View Post
+1. Seriously, try studded tires- they are great for frost or ice on the road. Ride with them all winter, even if the roads are clear. Just put them on in Nov/December, forget about 'em until April.

It's a great way to remove doubt about riding the bike, when conditions seem iffy otherwise.
+2. The studs saved my can twice this morning. They're expensive but worth every penny. [It also helps that I bought mine at dealer cost ]
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Old 01-19-11, 03:53 PM   #16
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i feel lucky to live somewhere that keeps the roads clear all winter. people slip and fall trying to walk on the sidewalks, and i have great traction on the roads with my bike.
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Old 01-19-11, 06:12 PM   #17
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Thanks,

I'll be back on my bike tomorrow morning and off to work!
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Old 01-20-11, 01:48 AM   #18
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Trestles and bridges chill first, here we have the trolley tracks ,
planked in between the rails.

The wet planking was frosty tonight.
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Old 01-20-11, 10:44 AM   #19
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Just watch out for icy patches, and enjoy yourself!

Marc
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