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  1. #1
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    paths vs. streets for winter

    Greetings crew,
    I've been lurking around this site for the last two years and, since moving to Madison, I finally decided to get an account and open myself up to the collective wisdom.

    This is a question for cyclists in Madison, WI:
    For winter riding, is it better to ride on the bike paths or on the streets? I've heard people say that some paths are terrible and covered in black ice, while others say that the paths are the first surfaces cleared and sanded. I commute and I'd like to commute through the winter and start mentally preparing my routes. Which do you all prefer?

  2. #2
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    Though I am not living (nor have I ever beento) Madison, Wisconsin I *am* right below you in Chicagoland.
    I ride about 5 miles of path before riding the last 6 or 7 miles on the road, and in the thick of winter the path is the worst part. Though it gets cleared (for the most part) and sanded it has a freeze/thaw cycle that causes a majority of the sand to be burried under the black ice patches and mostly washed away. The black ice patches move from time to time as well due to this cycle.
    If I had my druthers I'd chose to ride the road for my complete trip in the winter because once the salt melts the ice and the autos clear the water away it is a vry dry surface. But since the road that runs along the path is a Parkway and closed to bikes I have no choice there.
    So there you have it.
    Last edited by Tom Servo; 11-04-07 at 10:34 AM.

  3. #3
    META Severian's Avatar
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    I use multiple paths in my commute. What I can tell you is that I know the west side paths pretty well. The commuter corridor from Allied through odana, along monroe, past campus and to the Monona Terrace is always clear about a day or so after a heavy storm. There's usually patches of ice, but as long as you have a decent light at night and are alert during the day they don't pose much of a problem. The John Nolen trail isn't all that good in the winter, but the trail along wingra is ok. I don't know about the east side trails yet. I changed jobs so my commute changed. But, I can't see the east-siders standing for having crappy trails in winter.

  4. #4
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    Very informative. Thanks to you both.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    Though I am not living (nor have I ever beento) Madison, Wisconsin I *am* right below you in Chicagoland.
    I ride about 5 miles of path before riding the last 6 or 7 miles on the road, and in the thick of winter the path is the worst part. Though it gets cleared (for the most part) and sanded it has a freeze/thaw cycle that causes a majority of the sand to be burried under the black ice patches and mostly washed away. The black ice patches move from time to time as well due to this cycle.
    If I had my druthers I'd chose to ride the road for my complete trip in the winter because once the salt melts the ice and the autos clear the water away it is a vry dry surface. But since the road that runs along the path is a Parkway and closed to bikes I have no choice there.
    So there you have it.
    LSD?

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