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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 09-08-08, 11:10 AM   #1
hvannes
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So how do you ride downhill?

I haven't been winter cycling for some years, but this winter I will try again. When riding downhill I used to have the right foot loose and close to the ground in case I should fall. I wonder if other forumers have other techniques.

How do you feel about having the feet locked to the pedals vs using ordinary platform pedals in winter?


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Old 09-08-08, 11:24 AM   #2
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I have a 10% grade on the way to work. I wear SPD cleats and run studded tires and have no worries. If it's a concern, I'll simply ride the brakes and keep my speed down (and the brakes free of ice).

As to crashing, I'd rather just tuck in and roll than stick any body part out to catch.
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Old 09-08-08, 11:33 AM   #3
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I do switch to platforms in the dead of winter, but it's because my SPD shoes are too cold and I need to use boots below about 0*F. The only time I fall is if I get caught without my studded tires on. That's happened twice in 4 years. Both times it was my rear wheel that left me, and I had no trouble getting clipped out and landing on my butt and skidding along in a sit position for 20 feet, then getting up and continuing.
If my front wheel went out, I don't think having my feet free would help much.
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Old 09-08-08, 11:55 AM   #4
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I use clipless pedals in the winter as well, and I avoid taking my foot off the pedal. Sometimes I pop a leg out to the side to regain some balance, but that's pretty rare. As others have said, studded tires make all the difference in the world.
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Old 09-08-08, 12:14 PM   #5
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I can't see why you'd want to stick your foot out so it could snag on something and twist an ankle or knee or break something.

I think you can tell I ride SPDs straight through the winter. In fact, SPDs have substantially reduced my cycling injures. Used to be my feet would fly off slippery pedals then I'd whack my leg when the pedal came around again. I was considerably less bruised during my second winter (with SPDs) than in my first (with platforms).

Like ItsJustMe, my only winter crash was when I took the studs off a day or so too early and hit an ice flow on a side hill.

Like CastIron, the tuck and roll method left me completely unscathed--only a bit of dirt on my jacket.

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Old 09-08-08, 09:24 PM   #6
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I guess you could say that I run studded tires and studded pedals in winter. (Really, I run BMX pedals, the kind with pins in them for grip). I keep my feet on the pedals at all times. Roads are too rough where I live to do otherwise. It is not comfortable hitting a bump when all your weight is on the seat.
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Old 09-09-08, 12:05 PM   #7
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Just drag the rear brake, in slippery conditions your front brake is for making spectacular crashes. Also if your in more than 6 inches of snow and you know whats under that snow, dumping the bike is really fun. Try for epic fish tails.
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Old 09-10-08, 01:09 PM   #8
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I also run studded tires in the winter and use spd pedals.

I bought winter cycling boots and use spd clips on those too.
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Old 09-15-08, 11:01 PM   #9
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Studded tires and SPD's here too. Ride the brakes if you got to, With studded tires it's really no big deal.
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Old 09-16-08, 02:09 PM   #10
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If the roads aren't great, go slower. My commute is dark both ways in the winter so I play it safe.
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Old 09-26-08, 01:48 AM   #11
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My winter bike has platform pedals so I can wear any kind of footwear. On the downhills, I slow down considerably but I don't have trouble stopping. The public works department in town is careful to sand the hilly roads right away so traction is pretty good. It's the flat secondary streets that are much more dangerous as they don't get the immediate attention.
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Old 09-26-08, 08:12 PM   #12
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Clipped in.

My take is to overkill the tire selection, and then suffer a bit on the bare pavement if need be.
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Old 09-28-08, 03:50 PM   #13
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If your gonna use studs I recommend you pedal downhill. I do.
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Old 10-14-08, 05:10 AM   #14
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Just drag the rear brake, in slippery conditions your front brake is for making spectacular crashes.
A few years ago, me and my friends were out on mountain bikes in the woods. Unfortunately, 4x4s had been out churning up the mud, which had then frozen solid, making it almost impossible to ride on. So, we went out on the streets, line astern, which was fun until the guy at the front braked on black ice - so the rest of us immediately braked, and we all crashed one after the other. It must have been hilarious to see, but quite painful to experience.
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Old 10-14-08, 01:14 PM   #15
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definitely studded tires + drag the rear brake when needed, and don't think about speed.
just focus con getting from point A to point B safely.
Winter riding is not a game.
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Old 10-18-08, 07:53 PM   #16
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I guess you could say that I run studded tires and studded pedals in winter. (Really, I run BMX pedals, the kind with pins in them for grip). I keep my feet on the pedals at all times. Roads are too rough where I live to do otherwise. It is not comfortable hitting a bump when all your weight is on the seat.
+1 - I never know when I'm going to be cut off by a taxi, pedestrian or other bike - I'm happy to be able to put the foot down easily.

When I lived in Calgary, I did a lot more up/down hill action in the winter, and I used the same set up. Again, I never knew when I would be cut off (a fairly frequent occurence), and I appreciated the ease of putting one (or both) feet down.
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Old 10-23-08, 11:20 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by hvannes View Post
I haven't been winter cycling for some years, but this winter I will try again. When riding downhill I used to have the right foot loose and close to the ground in case I should fall. I wonder if other forumers have other techniques.

How do you feel about having the feet locked to the pedals vs using ordinary platform pedals in winter?


Hans

My girlfriend's mom once used the 'stick your foot out to stop a fall' technique and the pressure crushed her knee. Sad times.
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Old 10-23-08, 12:35 PM   #18
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I can't see why you'd want to stick your foot out so it could snag on something and twist an ankle or knee or break something.
Snag your foot on what? Snow? Sometimes, the two-wheel drift through a corner requires that the center of gravity be a little bit further on the inside of a turn. If it works for MX guys doing a mile a minute on some slop-infested dirt track, it should work even better for me.
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Old 10-23-08, 05:17 PM   #19
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I go as fast as I can and hope I don't fall. It's worked out for me!
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