Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 29
  1. #1
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Canada's Capital
    My Bikes
    Sekine RM40 1980, Miyata 1000LT 1990, Raleigh Mixte Sprite 1980, Raleigh Grand Prix 1979
    Posts
    549
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Ottawa Winter Cycling

    Is anyone out there brave enough to try riding during an Ottawa Winter? The city's website suggests it's doable, and I do see a few hardy souls out there sometimes. Any BF members one of those brave souls?

    I was thinking of getting an MTB beater to give it a try, but the road salt and -40c temperatures we get have me questioning wether it'd be worth it? At what point is it too cold for the machinery to operate?

  2. #2
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You're kidding, right? -40C in Ottawa? Maybe with windchill on a record-breaking cold spell! Stats for Ottawa. The coldest month, January, sees an average low of only -15.

    I cycled through the winter last year, and part of the winter before. It was much easier than I thought, and I saw many other cyclists on the roads every day. Frankly the biggest problem I had was over-dressing. A moisture-wicking t-shirt, fleece, and light shell were fine for all but the coldest days.

    We have a great transit system, use it as a backup. During really bad weather, cycle to the nearest station, lock the bike, and bus the rest of the way. Several station have covered bike parking. Unfortunately they remove the racks from the buses during the winter, and the blue bike racks (Velocity racks) are also removed.

    You might want studded tires, or at least knobbies. Lock de-icer is a nice idea, so you can still unlock your bike if it gets wet. Make sure you have lots of lights and reflectors, since we have more darkness than daylight in winter. "Winter", btw, as much as I hate it, really only lasts from mid-December to early March.

  3. #3
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    2,339
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    "Winter", btw, as much as I hate it, really only lasts from mid-December to early March.
    Now one might be tempted to ask, in turn, if you're kidding yourself? I've been to Ottawa in the winter before, and I have friends who've lived there for lengthy periods of time. Seems to me that winter in Ottawa, if you define it, as any reasonable person would, as the first day the temperature goes below zero to the last day it does so, begins in late October and lasts at least until mid-April, if not longer.

    If you don't agree that any day below freezing is a winter day, and that any string of days with lows below zero indubitably signal "winter" or at least the beginning of such no matter what month they occur in, then that seems to be a discussion of a more philosophical nature. Or of a Canadian nature!
    Last edited by rousseau; 09-26-06 at 04:54 PM.

  4. #4
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau
    If you don't agree that any day below freezing is a winter day, and that any string of days with lows below zero indubitably signal "winter" or at least the beginning of such no matter what month they occur in, then that seems to be a discussion of a more philosophical nature.
    I think that's an inane definition. The period, in Ottawa, best described as "winter", is mid-December to early March. That is, typically, the time in which you can expect:

    - daily highs below zero
    - significant chance of snow accumulation
    - significant chance of ice on ground, sidewalks, and roads.

    Did you even glance at the link I gave to Ottawa weather stats? We have three months with average daily highs below zero; and while we can have snow anytime from October to May, its unusual to see the extremes or see it not melt within a day (that stats page shows snow cover from Novermber to March, with only December-February as significant!). The city is thinking of emphasizing indoor activities for Winterlude because we can't count on the ice sculptures not melting, and the canal being safe to skate on! Wintelude is in February, BTW.

    I hate Winter, and I always feel like it lasts forever, but I have lived here for 30 years and even before cycling I knew that I needed winter clothes around December 1st, and I could put them away in March. Friends who moved here from Newfoundland insist Ottawa doesn't even have a winter, just a cold autumn.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    2,339
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    But, c'mon, that's really funny. You're defining winter as only the period when you can expect days with highs (repeat: highs!) below zero. Think about that for a minute: only a Canadian would claim that winter doesn't start until you get daily highs below zero! So perhaps a place like Windsor doesn't get winter, then? Or is there something so sturdy in the soul of the Ottawa resident that precludes shivering when it gets down to the comparatively balmy single digit temps of October?

    I suppose I'm claiming an arbitrary definition myself. I admit it. After all, for the majority of the world's population the worst winter gets is a month or so where night-time temperatures dip into the single digits. Still, from a Canadian perspective in terms of the urban belt along the border of the U.S., I think my definition makes the best sense: any time you start to get low temps below zero you're getting into winter. Fall is supposed to be crisp and colourful, not frozen.

    Harumph!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    My Bikes
    Raleigh
    Posts
    111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    and while we can have snow anytime from October to May, its unusual to see the extremes or see it not melt within a day (that stats page shows snow cover from Novermber to March, with only December-February as significant!).
    Wow!! Unusual to see it (snow) not melt within a day!!! You street must be electrically heated or you must have a insider's hot line to the city snow removal crew.

    Cycling throughout the winter can be done. If you prepare well, go for it.

    For me, I have enough exercise shovelling snow through out the four months of winter - especially after the city snow plows push the snow bank on to my drive way during every snow storm.

  7. #7
    Senor Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    464
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have cycled during an Ottawa winter, but more for fun than annything else. On the canal when it is frozen and such. For a most simple explanation I am a wimp when it comes to winter cycling, and am essentially a fair weather cyclist.

    I have known people who cycle all winter in Ottawa no matter what the weather. I had a friend that works for Purolator off of Hawthorne, who biked from Vanier every day no matter what. The funny part is that he owns a pickup truck that never gets used.

  8. #8
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    Wow!! Unusual to see it (snow) not melt within a day!!! You street must be electrically heated or you must have a insider's hot line to the city snow removal crew.
    What is it with people here? They seem to go out of their way to be contrary, meanwhile contributing nothing but noise. Here's a hint: if much of the day is ABOVE FREEZING, and we happened to get a little snow, IT WILL MELT AWAY. We have about 3 to 3.5 months during which snow accumulates on the ground.

    Hey, I've only lived here for 30 years, and posted the normal weather stats, so what do I know?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    My Bikes
    Raleigh
    Posts
    111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I am not saying anything contrary to you. We all agree that Canadian winter is harsh, but may be I am a pessimist compared with you. Let us be more accurate, since there may be people from other places (such as Florida or Fort McMurray) who is reading this thinking that Ottawa is just like California.

    There are 3 - 4 months (Mid-December to March) during which snow accumlates on the ground - but the snow is not as bad as the so called "snow belt" of Ontario which stretches from Toronto to London. But do expect snow storms four or five times a year bringing chaos to city roads. During a snow storm, the city set priority of snow clearing - beginning with the Transit Way, the bus routes, the major streets, the residential side streets and LAST are the bike lanes and bike paths. The Federal agency, the NCC, makes it clear that there will be no snow clearing on bike paths under their jurisdiction - may be winter cyclists can lobby their MP's on this. Therefore, expect snow banks to be there in Ottawa - making the curb lanes very narrow for cyclists to be comfortable, but they will be removed by city crews, say, in a week after a snow storm.

    Ridng bicycles on side walk is illegal in Ottawa, and, in addition, they are not uniformly maintained. The city crew has mini-snow ploughs for clearing side walks may be once a day during a snow storm, but largely it is up to the homeowners and/or businesses to clear the sidewalks. Thus sidewalks in some areas without home or businesss such as the one on Fallowfield Road may not be cleared at all throughout winter.

    Expect several freezing rains during winter time. It is extremely dangerous to walk, cycle, drive, (skating except) on any roads during freezing rains. Cars and bikes and anything left outside can become a pile of ice afterwards. Chipping the frozen ice off manually is the only option. If you have a garage, you are lucky.

    Private properties have varying degree of maintanence during winter. Some such as gas stations and fast food restaurants do a really good and quick job in clearing snow and trucking them away. Others (Loblaws in Barrhaven and some townhouses comes to my mind) are just terrible.

    I know you and many Ottawans cycle throughout winter. Now, lets see if I can inspire some cyclists from Texas or California to come here to challenge our winter during Winterlude.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rousseau's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    2,339
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    There are 3 - 4 months (Mid-December to March) during which snow accumlates on the ground - but the snow is not as bad as the so called "snow belt" of Ontario which stretches from Toronto to London.
    Holy font of wishful thinking and misinformation, Batman! First we have one Ottawa cyclist claiming winter doesn't really start until the daily highs (again, needs to repeated: the highs!) are below freezing, and now Toronto's part of the snowbelt.

    Here are some numbers from theweathernetwork.com:

    Snow in Ottawa by month (cm)
    50 45 32 9 1 0 0 0 0 4 24 56

    Snow in Toronto by month (cm)
    32 26 20 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 6 31

    Snow in London by month (cm)
    55 42 26 10 1 0 0 0 0 3 21 55

    Nuff said. Down here in Stratford we get almost double the snow they do in Toronto: this is really a part of the snowbelt.

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    My Bikes
    Raleigh
    Posts
    111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)


    We are very very Canadian, because we never agree to anything, even on our harsh winter --- except a cup of coffee at Tim Horton's to warm you up.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Novakane's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Canada's Capital
    My Bikes
    Sekine RM40 1980, Miyata 1000LT 1990, Raleigh Mixte Sprite 1980, Raleigh Grand Prix 1979
    Posts
    549
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Okay, this went differently than expected. lol.

    Sorry to be contrary, and the average stats are nice - but it seems the past few winters we get a few -40c cold snaps that last for almost a week. As strange as it seems, it's average to be off the average in Ottawa.

    Alright. Definition of Winter for the purpose of this thread :
    Sub zero temperatures with ice/snow on the ground, November to March let's say. Yes, the snow doesn't usually stay until near the end of December but there are days where there's snow and ice before that and those are winter conditions regardless of the actual date. Basically, as described by yuhoo above is what I had in mind, technical definitions aside.

    Back to the subject... So, freezing rain is a no-go? Do you have a separate winter beater or do you use your rainy day commuter gear same as you would in spring/fall?
    Doesn't the copious amount of road salt the city puts down just destroy the bike?

  13. #13
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Novakane
    Back to the subject... So, freezing rain is a no-go? Do you have a separate winter beater or do you use your rainy day commuter gear same as you would in spring/fall?
    Doesn't the copious amount of road salt the city puts down just destroy the bike?
    I wouldn't define all freezing rain as a no-go, but you will want a backup plan some days. Studded tires help, I found loosely packed snow could be worse than ice sometimes. I use the same bike year-round. We don't actually salt that much here, I had some corrosion on the inner rear derailleur plate, that was all (aluminum frame and rims). In mid or late November I put on the winter tires, and that's the end of my bike prep for the winter.

    And yes, Ottawa's weather does change a lot and can show extremes, from a week of -30ish windchills to a week of +10 with rain. I try not to make plans more than a day ahead of time!

    You might want to post in the Winter Cycling forum for more advice.

  14. #14
    42x15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    1
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    ok, so let's leave off the discussion about when winter actually takes place, and rephrase as biking 365 days of the year. I am among the fine Ottawa folks who take part in this, and this will be my third winter, first on a fix-gear. really i never found a problem with machinery not working due to cold, but more so to lack of upkeep. last year my derailers froze up, because they were obscenely clogged with grit, etc. and really not worrying about shifting during winter is not that big a deal anyways, cause it's best to pick a suitable gear and just stay in it, as you generally wouldn't ride the same as during beautiful weather. unless you are able to take care of a bike seriously ( a thourough cleaning once a week or so) you should really ride a junker that you just don't care about. I'd suggest going to the co-op http://www.flora.org/re-cycles/ or the bike dump http://www.bikedump.com/ and getting yourself a workable vehicle for when the snow and salt starts flying.

    as for what kind of ride, that's entirely up to you as to what you feel more comfortable with. some prefer wider mtb tires, as they stay on top of everything, though others argue that skinny tires cut through everything and get down to the pavement. i've ridden on a mtb both winters so far, but i'm gonna give skinny tires a go this year.

    for more info on winter cycling in Ottawa check out http://www.safecycling.ca/index.html

    here's their winter cycling workshop handout http://www.safecycling.ca/publicatio..._handout_E.pdf

    also critical mass goes on all winter long so come on out at 5:30 (ride at six) at confederation park the last friday of every month.

    hope this is helpful!

  15. #15
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    4,169
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau
    But, c'mon, that's really funny. You're defining winter as only the period when you can expect days with highs (repeat: highs!) below zero. Think about that for a minute: only a Canadian would claim that winter doesn't start until you get daily highs below zero!
    Pff... Where I used to live, it wasn't winter until it dipped under -10 C and stayed there. That was in Russia. And yeah, if it doesn't get below zero, the place doesn't get a winter as far as I'm concerned.

  16. #16
    Frozen in carbonite Grimlock's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Ottawa
    My Bikes
    '85 Full Cycle Cycle.
    Posts
    801
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    It is entirely doable to ride 365. Lots of lights, a good windproof jacket and waterproof pants and you'll be fine. Also, a bike you're not terribly attached to might be good too; there is a lot of gunk if you ride everyday.
    I agree that Californians or Floridians would probably balk at the idea of biking through what we do but that doesn't mean we can't or shouldn't do it.
    Quote Originally Posted by sp00ki View Post
    Using a nicer sealed bearing headset vs a $10 set is like throwing a frisbee vs a dodgeball.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Ottawa, Canada
    My Bikes
    Raleigh
    Posts
    111
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    As of today my lawn is still green. My wife flew back from San Francisco today and told me that Ottawa is warmer than California. It has been raining here in Ottawa most of the time for the last couple of weeks.

    OC Transpo had already removed their Bike Racks. But there are cyclists all over the city. Looks like we may have a warm winter. Our new mayor his Worship Larry O'brien may be able to keep his election promise (zero is zero) if there is no major snow falls this winter.

  18. #18
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by yuhoo
    [SIZE=2]As of today my lawn is still green. My wife flew back from San Francisco today and told me that Ottawa is warmer than California.
    High of 16C for Friday! The trend the last few years has been warm - in fact its no longer cold enough to reliably have our Winterlude ice sculptures in February!

  19. #19
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    18
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Guys, guys, guys. All this bickering about what is winter and why it's miserable.... Winter is an opportunity for a more technically challenging ride. I'm down the road in Kingston with a slightly warmer winter, but a lot more freezing rain. Sure it slows me down, but it teaches me lots about balance, control and recovery. Studded tires on a junker bike is plenty good. I also like to use a tall seat post and slightly undersized frame for lower C.o.G. and easier recovery from skids.
    You can rejoice in winter, or you can freeze.

  20. #20
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Or you can wonder what all the worry is about when we're heading for double-digit highs next week! A few days around 11C or so :-)

  21. #21
    Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    45
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by patc
    Or you can wonder what all the worry is about when we're heading for double-digit highs next week! A few days around 11C or so :-)
    Yeah, it sure doesn't feel like winter yet. I'm loving all this sunny weather though!

  22. #22
    Gios my baby hiromian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    My Bikes
    Gios 96, Mercier 72, Peugeot 74 X 2, Sears full suspension High rise banana seat, Kona 94, CCM Rambler 70s.
    Posts
    1,135
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I grew up in Ottawa and know that cycling in the winter there is just plain dangerous. While driving in a blizzard, and losing control, I hit a girl who was riding a bike on a parkway. That was insaine. The cop did not even detain me as he saw the complete asholery of someone choosing to put themselves in that kind of danger. (she was ok but her bike, which was under my car and we had to rock and push the car to get it off the bike, was toast.) I saw a man with his little kid on rear mounted kid seat fall over on the ice and knock his little kid out cold. That was nuts. Ottawa winters and bikes are a total no no. Its just way too dangerous. Ice snow slippery roads and sliding cars. Don't be a jerk. You will be totaly iresponsible to take that on as a thing to do. SO DONT!
    "Aiyah...Oh no"

  23. #23
    Lurker extraordinaire Golf XRay Tango's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    4500' and climbing
    Posts
    137
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hiromian
    I grew up in Ottawa and know that cycling in the winter there is just plain dangerous. While driving in a blizzard, and losing control, I hit a girl who was riding a bike on a parkway. That was insaine. The cop did not even detain me as he saw the complete asholery of someone choosing to put themselves in that kind of danger. (she was ok but her bike, which was under my car and we had to rock and push the car to get it off the bike, was toast.) I saw a man with his little kid on rear mounted kid seat fall over on the ice and knock his little kid out cold. That was nuts. Ottawa winters and bikes are a total no no. Its just way too dangerous. Ice snow slippery roads and sliding cars. Don't be a jerk. You will be totaly iresponsible to take that on as a thing to do. SO DONT!

    The car forums are probably a better place for that story. How does your dangerous driving make the victim an *******?

    A properly equipped cyclist is plenty safe in Ontario winters. Too bad the drivers often aren't.

  24. #24
    Dubito ergo sum. patc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Ottawa, ON, Canada
    My Bikes
    Bessie.
    Posts
    1,735
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by hiromian
    I grew up in Ottawa and know that cycling in the winter there is just plain dangerous. While driving in a blizzard, and losing control,
    So YOU chose to drive in a blizzard and YOU lost control, and this was the cyclist's fault somehow

    Good thing the city of Ottawa doesn't agree with you, in fact they provide winter cycling info,

  25. #25
    Gios my baby hiromian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    My Bikes
    Gios 96, Mercier 72, Peugeot 74 X 2, Sears full suspension High rise banana seat, Kona 94, CCM Rambler 70s.
    Posts
    1,135
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Golf XRay Tango
    The car forums are probably a better place for that story. How does your dangerous driving make the victim an *******?

    A properly equipped cyclist is plenty safe in Ontario winters. Too bad the drivers often aren't.
    ^^^What ever. You were there to make the judgement that I drive dangerously? You must be god. I'll bend over and pass you the lube.

    I guess my saving grace was the cop slid off the road too in coming to the sceen so he was in poor shape to judge me. Sorry I left out that detail. Here, I will explain it to you:

    Some times blizzards happen up on you as you are driving. That day, coming home from my job as a ski patol in the Outawais, the weather turned bad. Driving in it was as per usual for Ottawa. The car that slid into me and put me into a slide which had me hit a girl was not my choice. I have never seen before or since a 12 year old girl ride a bike on a busy 4 lane in a blizzard. I don't recomend it.

    You may be a god, you sound like one, so you must be able to ride like I only whish. That won't keep some sliding car from smushing your bike.
    Last edited by hiromian; 11-24-06 at 10:53 PM.
    "Aiyah...Oh no"

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •