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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 12-15-10, 08:32 PM   #1
gerv 
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Describe your snowiest ride

In 100 words or less, describe the heaviest snow you've had to ride through.

Here's mine:

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Last year, I rode to work before hearing that we were expecting 6-8 inches of snow + wind. I left during the storm and dragged my bike to the Express bus stop thinking I could hitch a ride home on the bus. 45 mintues later, the bus hadn't appeared and I began to wonder when hypothermia would be a factor, so decided to walk the bike 1.5 miles to the nearest non Express bus stop.

Got about 100 feet through the snow (sidewalk wasn't ploughed...) and realized the walk would take forever, so got off on a side street and found a tire track left by some huge SUV. Got in that thing with my bike tire and rode to the bus stop. Was probably doing a top speed of 3mph. There were several times when the snow in the track thickened and I had to stop riding and walk through some drifts. I thought I was set for a nasty spill, but actually got through without incident.

As I arrived at the stop, the bus was just leaving, but driver stopped to pick me up. There was no one aboard. Got my bike on the front of that thing and got home.
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Old 12-15-10, 08:53 PM   #2
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for the fun of it, i tried to ride my cyclocross bike in about a foot and a half of snow. i couldn't get more than 10 ft or so, even in a super low gear. the prospect of pushing my cranks/pedals/feet through the snow beyond just my wheels was ridiculous! anything above the BB is pretty much impossible i feel.

sorry that's not much of a story, in terms of actual traveling, i've never had to deal with more than 3-4" since i pretty much stay in the tire ruts.
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Old 12-15-10, 09:40 PM   #3
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Just got back from a nightimes ride of 10 miles in freezing rain. When I started out it was not too bad, but after a couple of miles my glasses got coated and I could not see. The roads are hilly with no shoulder so when cars came up behind I got off on the grass and snow. In order to get home safely I let some air out of my studded tires to soften them up. That helped a lot. All in all it was fun but I'm glad to be home without wrecking.
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Old 12-15-10, 09:49 PM   #4
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No big story here, either.

I've done a couple of rides in 8" of snow. Once it was champagne powder and a fun ride. The other time it was Cascade cement and a death march. It was night so I'd pop out into the road when there were gaps in traffic, hike on where I guessed the MUP was the rest of the way. I had about a mile and half of ATV tracks on the MUP to ride in which was nice.

I guess the wet snow would be the heaviest snow ride, even though both were about the same depth.

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Old 12-15-10, 09:52 PM   #5
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2 years ago on the my last day of co-op before Christmas there a really bad snow storm. it just happen to be the same day i left my gloves at home. i ended up walking my bike about 1.5km. lucky for me about 3/4 of the way home i ran into my brother in law who was on his way back to work and he gave me his work gloves. when my hands unfroze they hurt for a couple of hours.
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Old 12-15-10, 11:03 PM   #6
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I had a few, I remember one evening in '03 or '04 where there was probably about 5" of new snow on the ground just at the start of the evening rush, I had about a 12-mile haul home. Probably 2" more fell during the ride, which was a combination of pushing on the sidewalk past traffic jams, following truck tracks, plus I got lucky and tucked in behind a snowplow for a bit. Most of the major roads were gridlocked with stuck cars.

Got home in about 1:20, my co-workers who drove were all 2-3 hrs for similar distances.
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Old 12-16-10, 01:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gerv View Post
In 100 words or less, describe the heaviest snow you've had to ride through.
"Why is there two mutherfunking feet of snow on the ground? Why didn't I accept Mike's offer of a ride home? Why didn't I just go outside and look when he said 'Dude, it's really coming down, are you sure you don't want a ride?' ARG! I'm a funking idiot!"
*push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push dodge snowplow ride ride ride ride ride ride ride ride ride ride ride ride turn onto side road push push push push push push push carry carry carry carry carry carry carry carry push push push push push push push push push push push curse curse curse curse curse curse curse push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push home*
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Old 12-16-10, 01:51 AM   #8
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I rode through about a foot of snow last year when we had a snow day. Sometimes I couldn't get traction in the deepest sections. (The picture is of a sidewalk that was plowed.)

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Old 12-16-10, 02:32 AM   #9
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The day after Snowmageddon 2010, even snowplows were getting stuck the day of. I got stuck at work because of the storm and had to get my bike home so I thought I would give it a try. Seven and a half miles, but it wasn't that bad, just very, very slow. Going down a hill I lost momentum and fell over like a Keystone Cop.
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Old 12-16-10, 07:30 AM   #10
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Last year's first storm, Dec 6 or 8 I think, I was at work when it started. I think about 8-10 inches were on the ground when I left work. The bike path was smooth sailing. About 10mph through pretty fluffy deep snow. My feet sunk in on each pedal stroke.

Got off onto a side street as part of my route home. That was much less fun. The first one was a bus route, so there was lots of driven snow. That was a 4-5mph climb trying to stay in tire tracks in my lowest gear (34/28). Crunch crunch crunch.

The last few blocks home I was riding by a string of stopped cars. All backed up behind a few people who were stuck. As I rode by the last one he rolled his window down and shouted "I like your character!"

Not sure what's so great about mine, I had a much easier trip home than they did .
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Old 12-16-10, 01:49 PM   #11
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Last Thursday we had 3 inches of snow while I was at work. The 5 miles home were some of the toughest I've ridden. It was warm enough that the snow truned into cake batter where the cars had driven. Slippery glue. I ended up riding on the shoulder (when I could) where the cars hadn't 'mushed' it up. A few years ago we had six inches of this stuff and it is the only time I had to bail out on a commute and throw my bike in the back of a pick up after a quarter mile of misery. I have had enjoyable rides in up to 8 inches of 'new' powder' but dread the heavy stuff.
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Old 12-16-10, 08:16 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bent-not-broken View Post
It was warm enough that the snow truned into cake batter where the cars had driven. Slippery glue.
Cake batter snow is excellent for coating everything you have on the bike... panniers, even your glasses will be a mess.

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push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push push
The only thing that keeps you going is the hope that there's one wide-tire SUV ahead of you.

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I rode through about a foot of snow last year when we had a snow day.
My 57 year old legs wouldn't get through a foot of snow... no way.
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Old 12-18-10, 11:32 PM   #13
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Plowing is pretty good around here. I've ridden in storms up to a foot and only had to ride through 2-3 inches, which was manageable. Probably the worst I've experienced was a spring time storm of a foot or so where the weather was warm enough that everything turned to slush. The riding itself wasn't too bad, but the slush showers and slush blasts from passing cars were a little annoying.

Paul
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Old 12-19-10, 01:05 AM   #14
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The only thing that keeps you going is the hope that there's one wide-tire SUV ahead of you.
wide tire tracks are great until you run into the SUV stuck in the snow. most people that own vehicles don't realize that the skinnier the tires the better the traction you get.
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Old 12-19-10, 05:17 AM   #15
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The only thing that keeps you going is the hope that there's one wide-tire SUV ahead of you.
Yeah, except that other motorists kept wanting to use that same tire track. It was a late night D&D gaming session, and the storm caught everyone off guard, even NOAA (who'd predicted light flurries, with no accumulation). We got almost 3 feet of snow in about 10 hours, after a 2 week dry stretch that had the city standing down (as in: laying off) half of the snowplow service. The next day the city almost shut down, and we're a winter city that never shuts down for snow. It was some late season perfect storm of relative humidity and atmospheric pressure drop that no one saw coming. Luckily, I only lived about three miles from the DM's house, so I didn't have to push very far.

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wide tire tracks are great until you run into the SUV stuck in the snow. most people that own vehicles don't realize that the skinnier the tires the better the traction you get.
You have obviously never been passed by a Pugsley as you struggled along in 6 inches of dense snow. Skinny only helps if you can sink to the bottom, but fat tires allow you to float on top.
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Old 12-19-10, 05:42 PM   #16
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One time a snowstorm arrived while I was at work, on a day I had ridden to work. At quitting time, the plows had not been out. I ended up pushing the bike most of the way home. A trip that normally takes 45 minutes took two hours.
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Old 12-19-10, 09:00 PM   #17
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The cleanest part of the whole ride was the parking lot at work...
The whole week, they wanted me to take the company car home so I wouldn't have to ride in the stuff. Why the great offer? Obviously I would have to shovel the thing out & it would likely be followed by some sorry excuse about how someone will need it & you can't have it ...

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Old 12-20-10, 11:00 AM   #18
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You have obviously never been passed by a Pugsley as you struggled along in 6 inches of dense snow. Skinny only helps if you can sink to the bottom, but fat tires allow you to float on top.
bikes are different than vehicles. i know skinny tire on a bike suck in the winter. i have the widest tires on my bike that will fit.
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Old 12-20-10, 11:55 AM   #19
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2'. less on the roads. good fun. full on blizzard.
single speed with nokians 294s.


now i have a pugs:
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So long. Been nice knowing you BF.... to all the friends I've made here and in real life... its been great. But this place needs an enema.
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Old 12-20-10, 02:16 PM   #20
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That would be last Saturday with this slimy thick goo all over the secondary roads. Studded tires kept me from falling but I kept swerving all over the place. After about a mile I gave it up, turned around, and did 19 miles of the fairly clear main road through the valley. Shoulders were slushy but the tires could get traction just fine. That "cake batter" stuff I started in was just not ridable.
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Old 12-20-10, 07:39 PM   #21
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Today I ignored the weatherman and rode anyways. Nice and clear when I left this morning for work, but by the time I left 6" had fallen and was still coming down pretty hard. The Pugsley is not invincible...



I was able to ride some sections, but it was just a giant battle for traction, so I ended up walking a lot today.
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Old 12-20-10, 08:19 PM   #22
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The Pugsley is not invincible...
Say it ain't true!
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Old 12-21-10, 07:27 AM   #23
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bikes are different than vehicles. i know skinny tire on a bike suck in the winter. i have the widest tires on my bike that will fit.
My bad, I missed that you were referring to cars, not bikes.

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Today I ignored the weatherman and rode anyways. Nice and clear when I left this morning for work, but by the time I left 6" had fallen and was still coming down pretty hard. The Pugsley is not invincible...
That is some ugly, heavy looking snow! We just received 6" of the fluffiest powder that you could ask for, and I hardly noticed it with my 2.1" tires. Later, when the Lady and I went for a walk to get away from the city lights and ogle the eclipse, we ran into a group of about a half dozen fat bike riders out on the coastal trail. After talking with them (and sharing their flask and our set of binoculars), it was clear that they were enjoying the riding as much as the amazing dance of the celestial spheres.

There's just something about being out in the woods, navigating by reflected city light off of fresh fallen snow...
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Old 12-21-10, 10:51 AM   #24
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bikes are different than vehicles. i know skinny tire on a bike suck in the winter. i have the widest tires on my bike that will fit.
I recently tried both a skinny tire (35c Schwalbe Marathon winter) and a tire as fat as you can get short of a Pugsley (Nokian 294), and found that other than the 294 being much slower on relatively cleared roads, there wasn't nearly as much difference as I thought there would be -
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ers?p=11962740
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Old 12-21-10, 04:49 PM   #25
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Mine was last winter and it was a miserable ride through a mix of snow and rain. It had snowed all day and about 4 inches had accumulated on the ground. I was looking forward to riding home through that, but then the snow turned to freezing rain and all the snow on the ground started turning to slush. I was on a mountain bike with knobby tires. I started riding through the snow and within 15 feet I hit a rut I couldn't ride out of. I stopped and thought about leaving the bike at the rack and taking the bus home, but I didn't want to leave the bike there overnight. And I also noticed some people warming up in their cars and I know they saw me, so I didn't want them to think I was a quitter. I soldiered on.

I got back on the bike and tried again. I knew once I got out of the parking lot I could ride in the middle of the street where the path was somewhat paved. I could feel the wheels hit a few more ruts but I was able to manouver my way out of them and get onto the open road. The icy rain was stinging my face and all the slush was starting to form a shell around the rear derailer, so I couldn't shift anymore. There weren't too many cars on the road but when they drove by I had to move over into the thicker snow and I was constantly dreading I would get stuck and fall over.

I had a few slips but no falls, thank goodness. By the time I got home the bike was a mess and was covered with snow, ice and mud. I regret not taking more time to clean it off because parts of it rusted. At the time I just wanted to hurry up and get in the house, so I did a quick wipedown and left the bike in the garage to dry off. For the rest of the winter I just decided to walk or take the bus anytime it snowed.
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