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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 12-18-10, 11:21 AM   #1
irwin7638
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Winter trail maintenance

I posted this on the A&S forum but thought I would try here also:
How are the trails and bike lanes in your city maintained in the winter, is an effort made to clear them or are they left to be used for skiing? I see both cases in my area.
Around here we get 96" of annual snowfall, it's the first of 15 years that I'll be in the city for the winter and I am anticipating what it will be like, in the rural areas we just shared the road. In the city the MUP get kinda, sorta plowed after a big snow, the lanes end up being dumped on until the salt and chemicals melt it down. The paths out of town get turned over to the skiers and snowshoe traffic. It will be the first year that I try studded tires, I'm going to pick them up in just a little while.

Marc
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Old 12-18-10, 11:49 AM   #2
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In early winter, they promptly plow the trails about 2 hours after I'm at work.

Later on, they seem to get sick of doing even this and wait for the warm weather.

On top of that, they never put down any salt, so after a while the ice build-up is immense.

I keep thinking of falling down on a lonely trail some cold morning....

In winter I find it safer on the streets.
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Old 12-18-10, 02:27 PM   #3
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I cross a bridge for bikes and pedestrians and it is hit or miss if they decide to plow it. However, they have gotten better. Unfortunately the wind blows some of the snow back over the top.

On the parts of my commute with a bike lane I am usually closer to the road since they rarely ever plow it. The bike lanes are usually poorly maintained to begin with. Summer its broken glass and dead critters. Fall it is leaves and sticks. Winter their is snow and ice. Spring it is usually thawed garbage from the winter.
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Old 12-18-10, 09:47 PM   #4
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The trails are usually plowed fairly quickly. Minneapolis prides itself on its pedestrian and bike trails. However, they often only plow one or the other so it's more common for peds to be sharing the same trail in the winter so you have to be more careful.

This year might be different as we've already had 3 big snowfalls and technically winter hasn't even started yet. If they start to run over their plowing budget, they may start cutting back.

Bike lanes are useless once the snow piles up. Cars are forced to park farther from the curb and onto the bike lanes.
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Old 12-18-10, 10:33 PM   #5
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We have it pretty good in Sioux Falls. Snowed Saturday night and about half the trail (forms a loop around the city) was plowed for the commute in Tuesday morning. About 90% plowed by Wednesday. No salt or sand so there is ice buildup along with packed snow so studs become quite handy.

Side streets in the city are a little more "interesting". Plowed but many of the residential areas have an inch or two of "mashed potato" snow just to keep us entertained.
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Old 12-19-10, 07:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post
The trails are usually plowed fairly quickly. Minneapolis prides itself on its pedestrian and bike trails. However, they often only plow one or the other so it's more common for peds to be sharing the same trail in the winter so you have to be more careful.
.
Whaaat!You have separate trails for bikes and pedestrians!?!?? What kind of utopian experiment is that? No dog leashes stretched across the trail providing incentive to run down the owner?
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Old 12-19-10, 08:27 AM   #7
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Up here the few bike lanes that are around are covered (sounds like everyone's are). MUPs are for the most part unplowed. Once the powder gets about an inch below my 26" hub it's unrideable. To their credit the actual city will clear the portion that falls within the city limits a few days after a good snowfall. Unfortunately, this is almost useless for transport since "the city" isn't that big. They also use a snowblower vice a plow which leaves nasty ped/animal ruts, and an uneven surface (and then there's those icy bike tracks, who keeps leaving those? haha). It's pretty hazardous once it freezes as it's like riding over the rails over and over again. I don't hold it against them, the whole area is short on funds.

The trail advocacy group keeps the section north of the city groomed for x-c skiers. I keep off of this out of courtesy to them.

In the winter I just take the lane, and keep one eye on the mirror in case I have to ditch for the plow/ errant motorist.

Last edited by IR Baboon; 12-19-10 at 08:29 AM. Reason: Thought of something else.
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Old 12-19-10, 01:09 PM   #8
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In Calgary, the road plowing is fairly pathetic. They do plow major routes, and an increase in the budget, along with the use of private contractors when the conditions overwhelm the limited number of city plows, is causing some improvements this season. My own pet peeve is they seem slow to get out there and start plowing, which leads to unnecessary packing, which becomes ice latter. The MUPs do get plowed, along a selection of major routes, usually faster than the roads get done. When we get repeated snows and melts, this sometimes leads to areas of nasty melt lakes which freeze over. For the most part, Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pros cope with that. There are some parts of my route which don't get swept, this can stop me riding for a few days, the alternate routes suck, and walking the unrideable bits makes the commute unacceptably long. This year, along the piece South of the Bird Sanctuary, where sweeping does not take place, someone has done some hand shoveling, any of you guys from round here know who? I wouldn't mind giving up an hour or so to meet up with a couple of shovels and ice chisel to clean off the tricky bits.
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Old 12-19-10, 03:27 PM   #9
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some places are ploughed, some places are not.
Why? I don't know.

One thing is for sure, I like the unploughed sections, because the winter tires roll better on that, than bare pavement.
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Old 12-19-10, 04:13 PM   #10
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here in baltimore they don't really plow the trails/lanes unless they happen to be right next to a lane. they don't particularly get much attention i feel, but they are clean enough? once the snow REALLY starts coming down, i just ride the tire ruts anyway.

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Whaaat!You have separate trails for bikes and pedestrians!?!?? What kind of utopian experiment is that? No dog leashes stretched across the trail providing incentive to run down the owner?
if you've never been to minneapolis, it is pretty utopian (from a cyclist standpoint). it's been rated one of (if not the) best city for cycling by a lot of groups. i was in awe when i visited.

in this photo you can see a trail. 2 way bike traffic + a pedestrian lane. in the background, that suspension bridge, that's JUST for this trail to cross the highway. whole f-in bridge.
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Old 12-19-10, 07:14 PM   #11
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some places are ploughed, some places are not.
Why? I don't know.

One thing is for sure, I like the unploughed sections, because the winter tires roll better on that, than bare pavement.
Problem with unploughed sections is that you can be rolling through on some light snow, then hit a major drift and stop suddenly in your tracks. This is more of a problem if you are riding at night when it's hard to gauge snow depth.
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Old 12-19-10, 09:45 PM   #12
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here in baltimore they don't really plow the trails/lanes unless they happen to be right next to a lane. they don't particularly get much attention i feel, but they are clean enough? once the snow REALLY starts coming down, i just ride the tire ruts anyway.



if you've never been to minneapolis, it is pretty utopian (from a cyclist standpoint). it's been rated one of (if not the) best city for cycling by a lot of groups. i was in awe when i visited.

in this photo you can see a trail. 2 way bike traffic + a pedestrian lane. in the background, that suspension bridge, that's JUST for this trail to cross the highway. whole f-in bridge.
The path in the picture is part of my commute. FWIW, the bridge in the background also has a nifty blue lighting system.
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Old 12-20-10, 10:27 AM   #13
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Average snowfall around here is 80-ish inches or somewhere thereabouts.

City staff plow the MUPs (and salt them, where they're paved) quite regularly. During a major snowstorm they'll let the snow pile up a bit, but it's generally cleared within 24 hours. On-street bike lanes, on the other hand, seem to be used as convenient places to pile snow in the winter.
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Old 12-20-10, 12:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
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One thing is for sure, I like the unploughed sections, because the winter tires roll better on that, than bare pavement.
Yep.

But I say that mostly as a mountain biker, rather than a commuter.
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Old 12-20-10, 12:21 PM   #15
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In Montreal bicycle infrastructure is unmaintained and unplowed in winter. Sidewalks and pedestrian overpasses and such are plowed.

Just yesterday I saw a sign for a bike lane that said April 1st to November 15th, the bike lane was covered in snow and ice and the road was plowed and relatively clear.
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Old 12-21-10, 06:40 AM   #16
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In Montreal...
Just yesterday I saw a sign for a bike lane that said April 1st to November 15th, the bike lane was covered in snow and ice and the road was plowed and relatively clear.
Now that's interesting, at least they've put out notice not expect maintenance. The rest of us just seem to get plowed under, I think the street department assumes nobody is going to use the bike lanes in the winter.
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Old 12-21-10, 06:42 AM   #17
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here in baltimore they don't really plow the trails/lanes unless they happen to be right next to a lane. they don't particularly get much attention i feel, but they are clean enough? once the snow REALLY starts coming down, i just ride the tire ruts anyway.



if you've never been to minneapolis, it is pretty utopian (from a cyclist standpoint). it's been rated one of (if not the) best city for cycling by a lot of groups. i was in awe when i visited.

in this photo you can see a trail. 2 way bike traffic + a pedestrian lane. in the background, that suspension bridge, that's JUST for this trail to cross the highway. whole f-in bridge.
How long is this bridge? I may go there just to see it.
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