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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 12-20-10, 06:21 PM   #1
Sculptor7
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Fearless Winter Cyclist

Tonight I was driving home with my wife through the first slippery snow of the season, creeping along trying to avoid hilly streets, as well as cars skidding in all directions when on my left I caught a glimpse of a cyclist cruising down a snow-ice covered hill as though it were the middle of summer. Must have had studs in his tires; I hope. Never got a chance to see how he made out at the stop sign on the cross street below.
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Old 12-20-10, 07:02 PM   #2
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Yep, that's how it works.

I also find that in the winter, the "balance of fear" tips in the cyclist's favor. Drivers become afraid of us, use more caution (read: common sense), and give a wider berth.

That or they're afraid the craziness will rub off...
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Old 12-20-10, 07:04 PM   #3
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I commuted today (as usual). I didn't think it was too bad here in Ma, just a tad slippery.
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Old 12-21-10, 12:32 PM   #4
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Yep, that's how it works.

I also find that in the winter, the "balance of fear" tips in the cyclist's favor. Drivers become afraid of us, use more caution (read: common sense), and give a wider berth.

That or they're afraid the craziness will rub off...
Agreed. And it provides a nice reset for the next season. I think it's because winter reminds them that driving is dangerous.

In spring drivers seem to be reasonable and courteous. By fall they're throwing stuff and trying to scare you off the road.
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Old 12-21-10, 03:53 PM   #5
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I also find that in the winter, the "balance of fear" tips in the cyclist's favor. Drivers become afraid of us, use more caution (read: common sense), and give a wider berth.
I never thought about it like that, but you are right.
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Old 12-21-10, 04:29 PM   #6
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I also find that in the winter, the "balance of fear" tips in the cyclist's favor. Drivers become afraid of us, use more caution (read: common sense), and give a wider berth.
IDK about this. We had a few inches of snow this morning, and while practically every vehicle that passed my crazy self was trying to give me "a wider berth", they almost all hit that area of snow that collected in the middle of the road and I could hear the reduction of traction that resulted. I was practically waiting for one of them to lose control.
So, yes they do become afraid of us, and give us a wider berth, but no - I absolutely don't think we are safer at all because of it.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:34 AM   #7
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Autos definitely give me wider berth in the winter. There are the occasions when I get a "What in the world are you doing!!" out of the half-rolled down passenger window (they wouldn't want to get too cold rolling it all the way down, right?) when I am riding along in the right tire track during a particularly bad snow storm. Of course, as always, they motor on before I can comment.
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Old 12-22-10, 11:59 AM   #8
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Yeah, studs make ice a complete non-issue. In fact, sheer ice becomes highly preferable over a pile of snow.
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Old 12-22-10, 12:31 PM   #9
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We had a huge powder dump here in MN somewhat recently. Tooling on up the hill on my Pugs while cars were failing to make it up the hill that I live on was pretty entertaining. Then I put the bike away and started pushing cars and telling them to go back home until the snow emergency is over.

I've gotten a few "YOU'RE @#*$ING CRAZY" jeers, yeah. This season is really bad, we've got 6' or 7' snow banks at some intersections, and very few ped paths are plowed, so I've had a hard time communicating to drivers what I'm doing at some traffic situations.
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Old 12-23-10, 08:42 AM   #10
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I am presently where it snows and the bike paths are covered with ice...
I stumbled upon a local bike club that had their monthly meeting discussing the topic of winterizing your bike and yourself.. interesting.. Best tip for keeping your feet dry.. Plastic bags wrapped about one's feet, stops the socks from turning to ice...
. What surprises me.. There's ice on those pathways... I see cyclists on them everyday. even in the frigid nights..
When I check out the bikes parked outside stores on the bike racks.... Few of them have studded tires.
wth... How can you keep a bike upright on an icy road..
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Old 12-23-10, 01:13 PM   #11
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How can you keep a bike upright on an icy road..
I have known people who have done it. If you can see the ice, you can go around it. Most ice (not all) on the roads and paths gets mixed with snow so there's some sort of traction on it. And riding in snow isn't help by studs.

However, none of these people (that I've known) have ever made it through a whole winter of daily riding without crashing at least once. And this group of people is dominated by the freshman-college-guy group, or the "I just crashed my mountain bike into a tree and there's blood running down my arm, but I don't seem to have broken any bones so it's totally not a big deal at all, let's keep riding" kind of guys.
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Old 12-23-10, 03:23 PM   #12
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I think I put my Nokian Mount & Grounds back on for their 3rd winter last Monday. They add about 5-8 minutes to my 10 mile commute and I hate the first few days of it. But now that the snow and ice are here, I'm having a great time once again.
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Old 12-23-10, 04:41 PM   #13
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I remember riding back in the early 80's all winter on 27x1-1/4 tires, I don't remember how many times I went down each winter back then. I do believe that I bounced back a lot better then.

Now, I can't imagine riding without my Nokians, I don't believe that they were available back then, well, they may have been available, I just wasn't aware of their existence...Ya gotta love the 'net.
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Old 12-23-10, 04:50 PM   #14
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I don't label motorists driving in winter conditions, why must I be labeled?
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Old 12-23-10, 05:13 PM   #15
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Warning: music in video is not safe for anyone (I hate Drowning Pool, and especially this song ). I highly recommend muting.

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How can you keep a bike upright on an icy road..
[video=youtube;Lqo4hwnJt6Y&NR]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lqo4hwnJt6Y&NR=1[/video]

You ride slowly and carefully, try not to accumulate speed on the downhills, and end up walking some uphills. You will fall from time to time, and as long you don't try to catch yourself with your arms, and don't hit your elbows or head too hard on the ice, you probably won't suffer anything worse than some bruising. If you slip frequently, you learn how to ride it out. If your reflexes are sharp, you might be able to get a foot down in time, like a few riders in the video.

If the riders in the video'd had studded tires, almost none of them would've fallen. As it was, they all survived, and it's doubtful that any required medical attention (although some will undoubtably be sore for a bit).

Last edited by GriddleCakes; 12-23-10 at 05:15 PM. Reason: turrible music warning
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Old 12-23-10, 05:21 PM   #16
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We had a huge powder dump here in MN somewhat recently. Tooling on up the hill on my Pugs while cars were failing to make it up the hill that I live on was pretty entertaining. Then I put the bike away and started pushing cars and telling them to go back home until the snow emergency is over.
Last Winter I took the van home, had to do a drop on the way. It had started snowing couple of hours earlier, and as usual, the city couldn't deal with a minor dump as rush hour was starting. The trip should have taken about 40 minutes, 4 HOURS Later, I abandoned the van and walked the last mile home. Could have made the hill maybe, maybe, if i could have gotten a straight run at it... Given that there were 4 buses stuck a various places..

Anyway, the only people I saw getting any kind of decent pace.. yup, cyclists. I can't tell you how many times I'd wished I was on the bike.
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Old 12-23-10, 05:24 PM   #17
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I don't label motorists driving in winter conditions, why must I be labeled?
We are human. Humans label and categorize. That's what we do.
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Old 12-23-10, 05:29 PM   #18
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Lol, great video. :-)
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Old 12-24-10, 01:20 PM   #19
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Lol, great video. :-)
Me too!
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