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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-03-02, 06:01 PM   #1
threadend
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Worst type of snow

Snow on the ground takes on many different characteristics.

Nobody minds the light fluffy stuff, even in the the wet heavy slush your tires can get through to the ground for traction, and with studded tires and some care the hard packed icey glazed surface is not to difficult to manage.

So, what is the worst snow for cycling?

Right now we have the toughest snow to stay upright on when riding. It results from the compaction of about 3 1/2" of snow down to about an inch. The temperature is cold enough that the snow won't pack, it just remains a heavy granular mass on the ground that fills your tires' tread and squishes around as you ride.

Best short description I can muster is slippery 3/4" deep sand with a crusty upper surface with a hard smooth surface below.
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Old 12-03-02, 10:10 PM   #2
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Originally posted by threadend
.... So, what is the worst snow for cycling?

Right now we have the toughest snow to stay upright on when riding. It results from the compaction of about 3 1/2" of snow down to about an inch. The temperature is cold enough that the snow won't pack, it just remains a heavy granular mass on the ground that fills your tires' tread and squishes around as you ride. ....

Actually, I find that one not terribly efficient, but the hardest is when the same 3-6" of snow has been compacted by cars at a decent temperature, and then froze over. It leaves an uneven 0.5 - 1" of white ice which is a "good" surface for sliding around. Hard to stay upright on such stuff... even with studded tires.

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Old 12-04-02, 03:10 AM   #3
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I think the worst is wet, heavy snow that gets melted in the day and then freezes at night. Cars make ruts in this soup and then the tracks get frozen too.

During my commutes to/from work, it is usually dark and this kind of choppy glare ice. It is a nightmare.
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Old 12-14-02, 08:27 AM   #4
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I think it's the very thin layer less than 0.5" that hides the ice. Man do you go down fast.It's like someone kicked the wheels out from under you.
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Old 12-14-02, 11:56 AM   #5
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5" of packing snow will not allow the wheels to turn easy, even in the granny gears.
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Old 12-14-02, 12:08 PM   #6
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Originally posted by mgagnonlv

Actually, I find that one not terribly efficient, but the hardest is when the same 3-6" of snow has been compacted by cars at a decent temperature, and then froze over. It leaves an uneven 0.5 - 1" of white ice which is a "good" surface for sliding around. Hard to stay upright on such stuff... even with studded tires.
While this is quite bad, I find what is worse, is snow partially compacted by a few cyclists so the surface becomes extremely bumpy and grooved, then it freezes. It is virtually impossible to make it over patches like that unscathed.
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Old 11-24-03, 08:20 AM   #7
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What´s Your solution?

I almost fell today while biking to work, having packed and uneven slushy snow under my bike, and I bet, that the damn stuff freezes during the night and forms the notorious "micro-Alps", which I just can´t ride with my quite thin (although studded) Nokians. The frozen car- and bike tracks just suck the bike in , and it´s almost impossible to either balance in the track or then swerve out of it.

Have You got any solutions to this problem (other than "Move to non-snowy area")? I really want to bike during the winter, but if it almost doubles my commuting time and costs me a broken limb/skull etc, I´ll just pass and go by bus. Thanks for the answers!
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Old 11-24-03, 08:37 AM   #8
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I would agree with Mike for the most part, but my absolute least favorite snow is snow that can't decide if it is rain or snow. In the 28-32F range it is rain, snow and ice all at the same time.

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Old 11-24-03, 01:02 PM   #9
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That freezing rain is definately the worst.
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Old 11-24-03, 06:42 PM   #10
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Well, my thoughts are as follows:

If I'm in a hurry, they are all a major pain!

If I'm out joy riding, like today, then they all can be a real blast to play in!
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Old 11-25-03, 01:47 AM   #11
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In my opinion the worst is approximately 5-10 cms of wet snow, partially frozen during the night. Not frozen enough to carry you properly, so first you ride on it, then it suddenly collapses and you ride in it. Your front tyre climbs on top of it, only to fall in it again. Steering is very difficult.

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Old 11-25-03, 12:12 PM   #12
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I aggree with most of what is written here, but no one mentioned that 3-4" of "brownsugar" that collects on hard pack, that can really bog you down and squirm.
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Old 11-25-03, 06:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by threadend
So, what is the worst snow for cycling?
The cold kind.



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Old 11-26-03, 04:04 AM   #14
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I aggree with most of what is written here, but no one mentioned that 3-4" of "brownsugar" that collects on hard pack, that can really bog you down and squirm.
Agreed. I was late for work tonight because of that awful stuff.
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Old 11-26-03, 04:13 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by threadend
So, what is the worst snow for cycling?
The type we get here in Queensland. It's invisible!

Of course, some have suggested that might only be because it doesn't actually exist, but I think that's just a vicious rumour.
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Old 11-26-03, 09:27 AM   #16
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The type we get here in Queensland. It's invisible!

Of course, some have suggested that might only be because it doesn't actually exist, but I think that's just a vicious rumour.
The rumors are true, dood!


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