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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-12-10, 04:23 AM   #1
bragi
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Embracing Adversity

I rode home in pouring rain this evening. Along the way, I rode up and down several steep hills. I do this kind of thing pretty regularly, and I have to say that I actually kind of like it. Bicycling isn't very hard or dangerous, but I enjoy the fact that it's somewhat more arduous than driving a car or using public transit. I don't mind rain, and I positively love to crank up steep hills.

On the other hand, it snowed here a few weeks ago, and I simply stopped riding as long as the ground was white... because I was afraid.

So, my questions are these:

1. What sorts of adversities do you enjoy, or at least tolerate, on a bike?
2. Under what conditions will you not ride a bike?
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Old 12-12-10, 05:26 AM   #2
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I don't have to deal with the snow and ice down here, but I wouldn't look down on someone who avoided it for safety reasons.

I ride without regard to any conditions here. I try to embrace the challenge when things get tough, and to remember that it can be good training for rando rides, when similar issues could come up.

The biggest issue here on the coast is usually wind. 25 mph predicted tomorrow (yikes!). 15 mph comes up quite often, and I try to push through it as hard as possible. I figure if I push on at 14-15 mph speed on my commute, it won't seem out of reach to push against the same kind of wind at 12-13 or so on the second day of a big ride. Of course, if the wind is at my back, it's great fun to roll down the road at 23 or 24.

It cracks me up how often someone at work feels sorry for me, or wants to offer me a ride home, on days where I don't even blink about heading out. Their threshold of 'suffering' is evidently quite low. I tell them I had fun riding in the rain, and they just can't understand.
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Old 12-12-10, 08:46 AM   #3
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I haven't hit any conditions that have stopped me from riding...yet. In this part of the country (Deep South) I may forgo a ride in the hottest part of the day, but that would be about it. For winter conditions there is so much great equipment out there I see no reason not to ride. Studded tires, wind proof clothing and wool make it quite tolerable. I doubt I would ride in full blizzard, a hurricane, severe thunderstorm or hail. Other than that...ride on!

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Old 12-12-10, 02:00 PM   #4
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1. What sorts of adversities do you enjoy, or at least tolerate, on a bike?
I used to find riding at night in traffic intolerable, but I do I do it more and more. If you want to get home and it's December and you are working late... I prefer to stay off trails after dark.

2. Under what conditions will you not ride a bike?
Actually, I set a rule that I won't travel below 10F. However, I manage to break that rule all the time. I usually won't go under 0F if there's wind unless it's a short ride.. too hard on the lungs
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Old 12-12-10, 07:02 PM   #5
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On the commute home tonight, I had to deal with thick blowing snow, 20F, slush and a thick coating of the fresh stuff that had been falling all day. I forgot my helmet (wear it for the slick conditions, just in case), so the snow was going in my eyes, not a lot of fun. There were drifts that buried my 2.25's, yet those aggressive treads just ate through it all.

I had a BALL! I DON'T want to have to take the bus to work this winter AT ALL, and so far, I have a good start; the nasty stuff hit a good month early this year.

Temps are no issue; I've ridden across town in -5F with -35 windchills -- hurt, but I did it. I just don't like ice.....

I won't mingle with the traffic too much, though, as these fools don't respect BIG RIGS, much less each other or me! Sidewalks are legal here, and I have no qualms about riding the grassy easements, either.
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Old 12-12-10, 10:58 PM   #6
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I also love hills, which is good because our ferry hill is about a km of between 10 and 15 percent. I have been known to go out of my way just to climb a good hill.

Road conditions, namely ice and poorly maintained shoulders/roads are what usually stops me from riding. But on the west coast, that is pretty minimal. Though I was off the bike for a few days a couple of weeks ago when we got about 8" of snow.
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Old 12-13-10, 04:02 AM   #7
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"I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph." - Theodore Roosevelt

1. What sorts of adversities do you enjoy, or at least tolerate, on a bike?

If you ever see me riding in driving rain or snow, make note of the manic grin and intermittent shouts of laughter (they start to manifest somewhere in the third or fourth mile); once you give in to the crazy, you start having fun. Ice is a blast with the right tires, and I eat short steep hills for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, because they are delicious! Long hills and headwinds suck, but I'll suffer them knowing that I'll eventually reap the downhill or tailwind. And I've yet to meet "too cold to cycle." My personal best (or is it worst?) is -40F.

2. Under what conditions will you not ride a bike?

Once there's more than 4 inches of dense snow or 8 inches of fluffy snow on the ground, the bike won't go anymore unless I get off and push. And once I can no longer pedal the bike, I've ceased to enjoy cycling, so I'll drive or catch a bus. Same if the destination is too far, or the load too large, for the bike.
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Old 12-13-10, 12:55 PM   #8
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Once I set out on a bike for a nearby store on a sunny summer afternoon. All of a sudden, with no warning whatsoever, it began to rain. Within seconds, I was riding on a busy city arterial in the heaviest rain I've ever known--a real Great Lakes summer squall. I couldn't see more than a few feet in front of me, and within a couple minutes I was up to the BB in flood waters. I kept on going to the store, and the rain stopped as suddenly as it started by the time I got there. Since it was a warm day, I was wearing quick dry shorts and T-shirt, and after dripping in the sunshine for a few minutes I was dry enough to do my shopping.

That was one of my most adverse rides, because I wasn't prepared for it physically or psychologically. Usually I keep a good eye on the weather and I'm ready for whatever happens. I'll admit that I have a little contempt for people who "can't take" adverse weather. I try to think kindly of them, but sometimes I don't succeed.
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Old 12-13-10, 01:01 PM   #9
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To tell you the truth i like riding in most peoples adversities, i enjoying riding in the dark, rain, and love riding in the snow, mostly due to the fact that when its dark, raining, or snowing there tends to be less people, traffic and ped. wise.
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Old 12-13-10, 01:09 PM   #10
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To tell you the truth i like riding in most peoples adversities, i enjoying riding in the dark, rain, and love riding in the snow, mostly due to the fact that when its dark, raining, or snowing there tends to be less people, traffic and ped. wise.
Me too.
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Old 12-13-10, 01:49 PM   #11
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Riding on a snowy road is great because motorists give me a wide berth. When the temperature gets bitterly cold, riding isn't as much fun. It's still workable, but the rides tend to be a lot shorter.
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Old 12-13-10, 02:34 PM   #12
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My favorite "adversity" is to ride in the early morning hours, before astronomical twilight... Of course I do not like getting up that early, but when I do I enjoy the ride.

As to what I will not ride in, I have a rule of three. Cold - Rainy - Windy

I will ride if one or two of the above are true (at least in the not extreme levels), but not if all three are true. On sunday I rode in cold (for Texas) weather, about 35 degrees with strong north winds at 19mph. Which wasn't fun, but the frequent 30mph gusts made it down right not enjoyable at all... This morning was even colder (abt 25 deg) but with no wind or rain, so it was pretty nice.
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Old 12-13-10, 03:40 PM   #13
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Rain is cool. I actually enjoy riding in the torrential downpours. I am not too fond of really cold weather but it does not stop me from going places on my bicycle.
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Old 12-14-10, 01:25 AM   #14
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I'll admit that I have a little contempt for people who "can't take" adverse weather. I try to think kindly of them, but sometimes I don't succeed.
We all have our own definitions of adverse weather. I don't think anything of riding in any kind of rain. I also do not mind heat that much (though I stop using helmets above 90 F). Snow and ice, however, intimidate me, and then I start walking and/or look for my bus pass. (OK, in Seattle, in snow, the bus isn't really an option. They close schools here at the sight of the first flake.) You, on the other hand, don't mind snow, but have mentioned once or twice that you'd rather not ride in rain if you can help it.

If I lived in Chicago, I'd probably invest in studded tires and try the Siberian riding thing, but snow is rare enough where I live that it just isn't worth the investment. I have no problem walking around once or twice a year.
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Old 12-14-10, 08:03 AM   #15
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I enjoy riding in heavy rains in the summer, it's refreshing. Today I rode my bike to work, it was -11C (12F), and the roads were snowy. I felt like a bad-ass. Unfortunately, I did get slush splashes on my dress pants, but hopefully I'll get the waterproof pants I asked for for Christmas.

What I don't enjoy and try to avoid is riding in the rain when it's cold out. That's just not fun. This weekend it was +2C (35F) and raining. We were planning to go out and do a little shopping but nope. Just wasn't worth it.
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Old 12-14-10, 09:29 AM   #16
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I enjoy riding in heavy rains in the summer, it's refreshing. Today I rode my bike to work, it was -11C (12F), and the roads were snowy. I felt like a bad-ass. Unfortunately, I did get slush splashes on my dress pants, but hopefully I'll get the waterproof pants I asked for for Christmas.

What I don't enjoy and try to avoid is riding in the rain when it's cold out. That's just not fun. This weekend it was +2C (35F) and raining. We were planning to go out and do a little shopping but nope. Just wasn't worth it.
Waterproof pants rock!!!!! Was pouring rain this morning on my way into work, got there and a co-worker says to me you look like a drowned rat, of course after i took my rain barrier off i was completely dry. Ha take that rain, another good purchase to go with the rain pants is a pair of neoprene socks, that way you dont have to buy water proof cycling boots which are crazy spendy. But if you get the neoprene make sure you get some silk or sim. liner sock as they do tend to make your feet a little warm.
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Old 12-14-10, 01:02 PM   #17
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For feet I just wear hiking boots. So far so good.
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Old 12-14-10, 01:32 PM   #18
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I like:
. The peacefulness of a dark night
. Getting caught in conditions I would think to avoid but conquering them anyway
. Coming inside after a brisk cold ride with rosy cheeks and warming up with tea
. Feeling so tired I can't bike anymore but then biking a couple hours more anyway to reach the destination
. A sudden downpour providing much needed relief on a humid summer day and trying to catch the rain with my tongue
. Making tire tracks in a freshly falling snowstorm
. Keeping dry in the cold rain with a good jacket rain pants and shoe covers
. The first warm breeze of spring after a winter of biting temperatures
. Navigating the obstacle course of urban traffic chaos successfully!

I don't so much like:
. Frostnip
. Wearing the wrong clothes for the weather (most of the time, sometimes getting soaked is fun)
. Headwinds too strong to reach the desired destination in a reasonable amount of extra time
. Running out of energy with no food far from anywhere to get some
. Road conditions where I can't stay upright
. Drivers with a hate-on for cyclists
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Old 12-14-10, 02:07 PM   #19
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I generally don't like cold and wet weather but, like many others, I get great satisfaction from cycling in the worst weather I'm trying to ride in any weather, although we don't get such brutal Winters as people in the middle of the continent do. We may get a couple of weeks of deep snow, that's all, but it can get cold down to single digits (F) and windy for some time too. Last Winter I rode through anything wet slush, frozen slush, in the middle of blinding blizzard (most transportation in the city was shut down), I played "Follow the Plow" game to get to work, I was labeled crazy and suicidal

I ride loaded, people often ask me if I'm touring, but I carry some spare clothes so that I can "reconfigure" if the weather changes drastically which is known to happen in NY: upper 50s in the AM, low 30s in the afternoon.

So, I'm doing my best to tolerate all kinds of weather and while I don't enjoy the bad weather itself, I do enjoy being able to deal with it.

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Snow and ice, however, intimidate me, and then I start walking and/or look for my bus pass
You should really try studded tires. Fun! Easier than walking on ice.
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Old 12-14-10, 03:02 PM   #20
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...I played "Follow the Plow" game to get to work, I was labeled crazy and suicidal
No...Suicidal is when you ride right in front of the plow.

For me the scariest part of winter riding (espec. at night) is to look over my shoulder and see a phalanx of 3 or 4 snowplows bearing down on me and closing fast. I have jumped over waist-high snow berms to get out of the say of plows. One time my brand new bike computer fell off and I never did find it, even though I came back in the spring to find it after the snow melted.
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Old 12-14-10, 05:55 PM   #21
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I avoid winds over 25mph. I've been pushed into traffic, blown to a standstill, blown into the gutter. I'd rather enjoy ice and studded tires than trash cans and tree limbs blowing at me. I don't mind rain so much now that I pack gaiters, foot-baggies and safety glasses wherever I go. Shucks--need to re-create my ziplock pogies.
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Old 12-14-10, 07:24 PM   #22
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I avoid winds over 25mph. I've been pushed into traffic, blown to a standstill, blown into the gutter. I'd rather enjoy ice and studded tires than trash cans and tree limbs blowing at me. I don't mind rain so much now that I pack gaiters, foot-baggies and safety glasses wherever I go. Shucks--need to re-create my ziplock pogies.
I've never really experienced winds that strong but I've seen what the wind can do to cars, trees, houses so that sounds like a very valid reason not to ride a bicycle. Even a 50lbs one.

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No...Suicidal is when you ride right in front of the plow.

For me the scariest part of winter riding (espec. at night) is to look over my shoulder and see a phalanx of 3 or 4 snowplows bearing down on me and closing fast. I have jumped over waist-high snow berms to get out of the say of plows. One time my brand new bike computer fell off and I never did find it, even though I came back in the spring to find it after the snow melted.
Yeah, plows scare me too. Although, logic tells me that they would stop, right? Right?
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Old 12-14-10, 08:22 PM   #23
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Anchorage fricking Alaska. That's what I have to deal with. Not just the 6 or more months of ice and snow, but the horrible drivers and the homicidal snowplows. Just this morning I had to veer off to avoid being devoured by this municipal snow removal device with six foot whirling blades in front of it. It's like a video game here. But so far nobody has run me down, and apart from having my eyes frozen shut a few times I haven't had any injuries.
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Old 12-15-10, 02:48 AM   #24
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I avoid winds over 25mph...
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I've never really experienced winds that strong..
We had 25+ on Sun. and Mon. here. It wasn't that bad riding. Stopping, you had to unclip both sides and get down off the saddle to avoid getting blown over.
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Old 12-15-10, 07:32 AM   #25
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I hate riding in cold rain.

It's been wicked cold with strong winds here lately and I did not enjoy riding in it.

I like warm sunny days when I can wear sandals and fingerless gloves.
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