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Thread: Black ice

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    Black ice

    Had my first wipe out of this calendar year today. Winter's finally setting in. Cause? Black ice. Thought this might help you guys out, then.

    If you live in a hilly area, slow down everywhere. Weather fluctuates greatly even with a 5 foot drop in elevation - I live in the lower area of town and needed to go somewhere where the elevation was about a couple feet higher.

    The road looked wet, so I took care... but there was black ice where I was cornering. Watch out all the time, especially if you know you'll be travelling in "flat" areas or hilly areas. If you're going downhill, the conditions should improve as you roll downwards.

    At this time of the year I suggest you don't clip in, as clipping in makes the ride a little more dangerous. My fall today broke my cages and straps because I was trying to get out so desperately as I went down.

    Back wheel sliding isn't much of a concern as front wheel sliding. Why? I can't explain; trust me it just is. (Someone helpful will explain it below! ) Use your back brake more than usual and only feather with the front break.

    Be safe out there! I don't want anyone else to wipe out!

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    I'm sure others will point this out, but get some studded tires. Those things grip to ice better than rubber grips to pavement. If you're at all like me, you'll wind up seeking out the ice, as it is far smoother than the pavement.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Black ice will get you... studded tires that is the main reason i have them.

    What do you do when it's freezing but really sunny all day and snowmelt is everywhere? baby the bicycle all the time? You'll cross an area that was in the shade 30 minutes ago and eat ****.

    I also recommend against clipless, it can makes the difference between landing on your head and shoulder or getting a leg out in time. That is a big difference.

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    stupid after seven Ratchet's Avatar
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    I can't decide when to put the studs on... I ride to work in the afternoon, at 40-50 degrees (no chance of ice there), but home in the morning at 20 degrees. I worry that there is a chance of frost/ice out there. If I put the studs on, I'll be wearing them out prematurely, but if I don't, I'll risk a broken neck.
    I didn't mind the $60/each tires so much, until I realized that I can buy tires for my car for $5 more. Hmmmm.... that's just wrong...
    Proud to be rockin' it Wilma-style...

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Black ice will get you... studded tires that is the main reason i have them.

    What do you do when it's freezing but really sunny all day and snowmelt is everywhere? baby the bicycle all the time? You'll cross an area that was in the shade 30 minutes ago and eat ****.

    I also recommend against clipless, it can makes the difference between landing on your head and shoulder or getting a leg out in time. That is a big difference.
    Using studded tires depends, largely, on where you live. Been winter commuting for 30+ years and I've never used studs. Never had the need. I have crashed on ice but that's so infrequent that using studs along the Colorado Front Range just isn't worth the hassle. That includes the mini Ice Age of 2006/2007 when there was 10' of packed snow and ice for a mile around my house.

    As for clipless, there are disadvantages to 'getting a leg out'. I did a number on my hamstring because I did unclip and got my foot down. My leg went one way and my bike when another. If I'd stayed in the clips, I might have had a bruise but that's a lot easier to endure than a hamstring injury.

    But getting out of clipless isn't all that difficult. Talk to any one who mountain bikes with them. We pop out of them instantaneously without thinking about it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratchet View Post
    I can't decide when to put the studs on... I ride to work in the afternoon, at 40-50 degrees (no chance of ice there), but home in the morning at 20 degrees. I worry that there is a chance of frost/ice out there. If I put the studs on, I'll be wearing them out prematurely, but if I don't, I'll risk a broken neck.
    I didn't mind the $60/each tires so much, until I realized that I can buy tires for my car for $5 more. Hmmmm.... that's just wrong...
    Just make sure you buy studded tires with carbide studs. I've been riding on Nokian Mount & Grounds for several years now, and I've never lost a stud, nor have they been worn down. I'm now riding 2-up on them and they're still holding up. A pair of studded bicycle tires will last you MUCH longer than a pair of automobile studded tires.

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    I prefer clipless in snowy conditions - snow tends to build up on soles of shoes and makes for a slippery experience. I don't want to accelerate out into traffic and have a foot slip off the pedal.

    Bought my first ever pair of studded tyresfor this winter. They are usually pointless in the UK - we get snow on the roads for 3-4 days a year, and black ice in the shadows. Then the last two winters we've had heavy snow, packed to ice, for months at a time. Never really worried about riding in the snow, but the packed rutted ice defeated me last year. One crash at least every 20 miles or so was too much.

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    stupid after seven Ratchet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Llamero View Post
    Just make sure you buy studded tires with carbide studs. I've been riding on Nokian Mount & Grounds for several years now, and I've never lost a stud, nor have they been worn down. I'm now riding 2-up on them and they're still holding up. A pair of studded bicycle tires will last you MUCH longer than a pair of automobile studded tires.
    Those are the tires I bought, is it too soon to ride them?
    ETA: I put about 40 miles per week on in the winter (no extra long commutes in the cold), but don't care if I burn through a set a year, it would be worth it!
    Last edited by Ratchet; 11-07-11 at 10:28 AM.
    Proud to be rockin' it Wilma-style...

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Using studded tires depends, largely, on where you live. Been winter commuting for 30+ years and I've never used studs. Never had the need. I have crashed on ice but that's so infrequent that using studs along the Colorado Front Range just isn't worth the hassle. That includes the mini Ice Age of 2006/2007 when there was 10' of packed snow and ice for a mile around my house.

    As for clipless, there are disadvantages to 'getting a leg out'. I did a number on my hamstring because I did unclip and got my foot down. My leg went one way and my bike when another. If I'd stayed in the clips, I might have had a bruise but that's a lot easier to endure than a hamstring injury.

    But getting out of clipless isn't all that difficult. Talk to any one who mountain bikes with them. We pop out of them instantaneously without thinking about it.
    Sure it depends where you live, but everyday during many parts of the year here you get sun melting snow and it's usually frozen by the time you're heading home again(every snow-storm from jan-feb). Earlier in the year you get black ice formed by random pools of rain or run-off from lawns.

    Speaking from experience, i'd rather take a crash without clips. You may have hurt your hamstring but that is easier to fix than your AC joint and whiplash w/ large concussion.

    I have also seen many, many mountain bikers crash worse than they had to because they couldn't unclip or they have to sacrifice time to unclip instead of throwing the bicycle and running it or rolling it out. In general the speed at which the crash happens plays a big part in determining that, and crashing can happen pretty fast on ice if you don't see or suspect it.

    Quote Originally Posted by hairytoes View Post
    I prefer clipless in snowy conditions - snow tends to build up on soles of shoes and makes for a slippery experience. I don't want to accelerate out into traffic and have a foot slip off the pedal.

    Bought my first ever pair of studded tyresfor this winter. They are usually pointless in the UK - we get snow on the roads for 3-4 days a year, and black ice in the shadows. Then the last two winters we've had heavy snow, packed to ice, for months at a time. Never really worried about riding in the snow, but the packed rutted ice defeated me last year. One crash at least every 20 miles or so was too much.
    If you buy platform pedals with larger pins it isn't much of a problem, plus you won't have to purchase expensive spd shoes... you can just use your own winter boots (which is great for commuting and walking around town). That said sometimes i do take my spd shoes even in the winter.

    You know it is funny how you say those studded tire are useless, but have you considered that you conditions which would be dangerous on slick rubber are now safe and will slip(sorry) though your memory as uneventful?
    Last edited by electrik; 11-07-11 at 12:51 PM.

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    I didn't say studded tyres were useless, I said they were usually pointless (in this part of the UK).

    However, we have had consecutive winters with prolonged ice, and I'd rather spend on the studded tyres and put up with their weight and drag than crash every time I ride.

    Still don't agree with you about clipless vs platforms. It's my experience (of the ice we get here) that there is no warning of a slip. One second you are fine, the next you are on the deck.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairytoes View Post
    I didn't say studded tyres were useless, I said they were usually pointless (in this part of the UK).

    However, we have had consecutive winters with prolonged ice, and I'd rather spend on the studded tyres and put up with their weight and drag than crash every time I ride.

    Still don't agree with you about clipless vs platforms. It's my experience (of the ice we get here) that there is no warning of a slip. One second you are fine, the next you are on the deck.
    Come on. Studded tires always have a point.

    Feel free to ride your clips while riding on studs, but i would really not recommend it if you're riding on plain ol' rubber. I mean, hockey pucks are made outta rubber and we all know how well they move on ice. I'm surprised you'd rather crash clipped in than not, but that is your choice. Personally i don't want to be attached to a bicycle when i crash, particularly when it's got heavy panniers attached to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Llamero View Post
    Just make sure you buy studded tires with carbide studs. I've been riding on Nokian Mount & Grounds for several years now, and I've never lost a stud, nor have they been worn down. I'm now riding 2-up on them and they're still holding up. A pair of studded bicycle tires will last you MUCH longer than a pair of automobile studded tires.
    And, the M+G's have fairly low rolling resistance. I've done 40 mile+ rides on pavement with no problems.
    more cops have been killed by donuts than guns in chicago it is a medical fact ask any doctor.

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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Sure it depends where you live, but everyday during many parts of the year here you get sun melting snow and it's usually frozen by the time you're heading home again(every snow-storm from jan-feb). Earlier in the year you get black ice formed by random pools of rain or run-off from lawns.
    Like I said, it depends on where you live. Snow here tends not to melt so much as sublime, i.e. convert from solid to vapor without forming liquids. It comes with an average winter humidity of 12%. We don't get a lot of pooling and freezing. And what pooling and freezing we do get, you can easily ride around or you can ride over it. You have to ride gingerly and you have to avoid turning, stopping, etc. but you can ride over it.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Speaking from experience, i'd rather take a crash without clips. You may have hurt your hamstring but that is easier to fix than your AC joint and whiplash w/ large concussion.
    I'll speak from experience too. I have crashed on ice. It happens even here. Each time I've crashed I'm amazed at the speed with which it happens. There's no preparation or warning or much chance to react. You are on two wheels and then you aren't.

    I've also mountain biked extensively for 30+ years. I learned long ago that when you crash, it's best not to try and save yourself by bailing off the bike...I'm not stupid enough to huck off cliffs where bailing out is a good idea. Generally speaking you want to 'keep your hands, arms and legs inside the car at all times', i.e. you don't what to be throwing you hands out to brace your fall (broken arms and wrists and collar bones) and you don't what to be throwing your legs out to stop you from falling (popped hamstrings and groin tears, broken legs). you usually don't have time to disentangle yourself from the bike because the crash is very rapid...just like ice.

    The best avenue of action is none at all. I automatically go rag doll, hold onto the bars and let the bike, my major muscle masses and my helmet take the blows. Same on ice. Trying to bail off the bike only leads to other injuries.



    I
    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    have also seen many, many mountain bikers crash worse than they had to because they couldn't unclip or they have to sacrifice time to unclip instead of throwing the bicycle and running it or rolling it out. In general the speed at which the crash happens plays a big part in determining that, and crashing can happen pretty fast on ice if you don't see or suspect it.
    Yep. But that speed works against you. You probably can't jump off. So having or not having your feet clipped in isn't going to really matter.

    Now say you did have the lightning reflexes to jump off the bike when it goes down on ice. Where are you going to go? Now, instead of two wheels on ice, you have two feet on ice. The ice isn't any less slippery...the reason you are in this pickle in the first place...and you still have momentum. You are still going to hit the ground but you are all tensed up from trying to save yourself. You are likely to end up with more injuries then if you'd just ridden the bike down.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    If you buy platform pedals with larger pins it isn't much of a problem, plus you won't have to purchase expensive spd shoes... you can just use your own winter boots (which is great for commuting and walking around town). That said sometimes i do take my spd shoes even in the winter

    You know it is funny how you say those studded tire are useless, but have you considered that you conditions which would be dangerous on slick rubber are now safe and will slip(sorry) though your memory as uneventful?
    Well let's see. You are criticizing hairytoes for not liking studs but using them and you are saying that SPDs are dangerous but you use them. Pot. Kettle. Black?
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    The best avenue of action is none at all. I automatically go rag doll, hold onto the bars and let the bike, my major muscle masses and my helmet take the blows. Same on ice. Trying to bail off the bike only leads to other injuries.
    +1 to this. I started commuting recently, first w/ toeclips then with clipless. Skipping the sorry details about too tight straps and clipless newbieism, I fell about 5 times last year. By the 5th time I learned to just tuck in my elbows and knees and land on my side - minimal injury.

    On topic, the other danger zone for black ice is any elevated structure (bridge etc). Radiative cooling can make a bridge surface be below freezing when the road around it is 35-37. I went down hard turning into such a bridge and nearly fractured my kneecap.

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    Am I the only one who has never fallen on snow or ice? I have strapped pedals, but have never even come close to falling. On ice the bike is rock solid (although this is probably because of my useless studded tires ), in snow, if it's deep enough to risk falling, it's deep enough to make it impossible to pedal. The only times I have to step of the pedals in winter is when the rear wheel starts spinning on a steep hill, and I am no longer moving forward. It seems many of the posters here need to invest in a good pair of snow tires rather than figure out the best way to wipe out (if a truck is barelling along behind you, there is no good way to wipe out IMO).

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Like I said, it depends on where you live. Snow here tends not to melt so much as sublime, i.e. convert from solid to vapor without forming liquids. It comes with an average winter humidity of 12%. We don't get a lot of pooling and freezing. And what pooling and freezing we do get, you can easily ride around or you can ride over it. You have to ride gingerly and you have to avoid turning, stopping, etc. but you can ride over it.



    I'll speak from experience too. I have crashed on ice. It happens even here. Each time I've crashed I'm amazed at the speed with which it happens. There's no preparation or warning or much chance to react. You are on two wheels and then you aren't.

    I've also mountain biked extensively for 30+ years. I learned long ago that when you crash, it's best not to try and save yourself by bailing off the bike...I'm not stupid enough to huck off cliffs where bailing out is a good idea. Generally speaking you want to 'keep your hands, arms and legs inside the car at all times', i.e. you don't what to be throwing you hands out to brace your fall (broken arms and wrists and collar bones) and you don't what to be throwing your legs out to stop you from falling (popped hamstrings and groin tears, broken legs). you usually don't have time to disentangle yourself from the bike because the crash is very rapid...just like ice.

    The best avenue of action is none at all. I automatically go rag doll, hold onto the bars and let the bike, my major muscle masses and my helmet take the blows. Same on ice. Trying to bail off the bike only leads to other injuries.



    I

    Yep. But that speed works against you. You probably can't jump off. So having or not having your feet clipped in isn't going to really matter.

    Now say you did have the lightning reflexes to jump off the bike when it goes down on ice. Where are you going to go? Now, instead of two wheels on ice, you have two feet on ice. The ice isn't any less slippery...the reason you are in this pickle in the first place...and you still have momentum. You are still going to hit the ground but you are all tensed up from trying to save yourself. You are likely to end up with more injuries then if you'd just ridden the bike down.



    Well let's see. You are criticizing hairytoes for not liking studs but using them and you are saying that SPDs are dangerous but you use them. Pot. Kettle. Black?
    You want to crash with 50lbs of bike and panniers attached to your feet while following your rag doll crash philosophy. It's ok for you, but it doesn't sound too intelligent to me. The idea you can't tuck or roll out of a crash or adjust which body part hits first is nonsense.

    I can imagine the sort of mountain biking you get up to when you're scoffing at people who are able to very quickly ditch the bicycle. Of course that level of skill needs to be practiced, something which you admit to none of so i guess i understand your skepticism. The worst mtb crash philosophy is to go down with the ship. Do you hang onto the bars for dear life when endoing? I hope not.

    Lastly, i don't think i'm being hypocritical by recommending studs and not recommending clipless. Which is all i'm doing.

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    Senior Member Bat56's Avatar
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    When people fall on the it's always black ice. Of course. if it were pink ice you'd probably ride around it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    The idea you can't tuck or roll out of a crash or adjust which body part hits first is nonsense.
    You must have the reaction speeds of The Flash. Congratulations.

    I'm slightly confused as to why you think falling (on ice) when strapped in is more likely to produce joint injuries than if you 'bail out'.

    In my experience of crashing on ice, I automatically pull in my elbows as I tense up my torso. My shoulder hits first, closely followed by hip/thigh. By this time I'm on the road, sliding along.

    If the bike (and myself) were summersaulting along (maybe 'cause I hit the kerb), yes, I can see that not clipping out could cause major joint injury. I just can't imagine such a situation happening on the road unless it involved a collision with another vehicle. Maybe it is more of a risk when riding on pink ice.

    I've never managed to pull such a spectacular event when riding (on the road) on ice. All that happens is that the front wheel goes sideways, I don't get the bike back up in time, and I'm on the road. splaaat.
    Last edited by hairytoes; 11-11-11 at 06:54 AM. Reason: pink ice

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    I use dual platform/clipless pedals (M324s) along with studded tires (Marathon Winters) for snow and ice riding for the very reason that I can get a foot down faster when on the platforms. If you go down on ice riding at speed, there is no time to react, and its makes no difference whether you are clipped in or not. You are going down.

    However, riding slowly on snow or snow/ice, particularly if you have short steep hills where it is possible you will spin out and lose all momentum, getting a foot down a nanosecond faster can keep you from falling over. Also, sometimes on heavily rutted ice, instead of walking the bike, I can coast slowly with one foot on the pedal and the other foot hovering over the ice. I don't want to be clipped in doing this.

    Nonetheless, the main reason I use dual pedals in the winter is that on really cold or snowy days, I wear hiking boots, which don't have cleats.
    Last edited by alan s; 11-11-11 at 07:28 AM.

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    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hairytoes View Post
    You must have the reaction speeds of The Flash. Congratulations.

    I'm slightly confused as to why you think falling (on ice) when strapped in is more likely to produce joint injuries than if you 'bail out'.

    In my experience of crashing on ice, I automatically pull in my elbows as I tense up my torso. My shoulder hits first, closely followed by hip/thigh. By this time I'm on the road, sliding along.

    If the bike (and myself) were summersaulting along (maybe 'cause I hit the kerb), yes, I can see that not clipping out could cause major joint injury. I just can't imagine such a situation happening on the road unless it involved a collision with another vehicle. Maybe it is more of a risk when riding on pink ice.

    I've never managed to pull such a spectacular event when riding (on the road) on ice. All that happens is that the front wheel goes sideways, I don't get the bike back up in time, and I'm on the road. splaaat.
    Thank you for the compliment.

    My main complaint about being clipped in is because the fall happens very quickly the bicycle often separates from you, however being still firmly attached to it via clips the bicycle can add to the "rag doll" effect disturbing any inertial balance you had while still upright. Further, being attached at the feet is really going to hamper your ability todo anything.

    I do agree with tuck and roll or at least not extending an arm with intent to stop yourself(the technique is to slap tuck and roll), but landing straight on the shoulder scares me since the AC is so fragile. Many cyclist have the tell-tale golf ball shoulder because the mechanics of falling off a bicycle seem to increase the odds of landing on that joint.

    Anyways there might be pink ice if the roadway was pink, point being that ice is the colour of whatever is underneath though perhaps not the case with yellow ice... lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Llamero View Post
    It seems many of the posters here need to invest in a good pair of snow tires rather than figure out the best way to wipe out
    I thought the topic was black ice, not snow. I can't fit studded tires on my commuting bike, 23C is as big as will clear. And I don't want to ride a bike 1.5-2X as heavy just because of 10 linear feet of black ice I occasionally encounter on my commute.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    Using studded tires depends, largely, on where you live. Been winter commuting for 30+ years and I've never used studs. Never had the need. I have crashed on ice but that's so infrequent that using studs along the Colorado Front Range just isn't worth the hassle. That includes the mini Ice Age of 2006/2007 when there was 10' of packed snow and ice for a mile around my house.
    Thank you. I've never used studs either and don't want to. It makes sense to me, but certainly isn't the consensus. I can make adjustments in my route or speed on the bad days. I hit the road once or twice a winter, but usually at a slow speed under difficult conditions. That's usually ice that I don't see under snow.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    The best avenue of action is none at all. I automatically go rag doll, hold onto the bars and let the bike, my major muscle masses and my helmet take the blows. Same on ice. Trying to bail off the bike only leads to other injuries.
    I appreciate that one. My worst accident had about a half second warning before a crash. I didn't know what to do, so didn't do anything. After it really did seem like the best thing to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bat56 View Post
    When people fall on the it's always black ice. Of course. if it were pink ice you'd probably ride around it.
    Enjoyed that.

    Quote Originally Posted by alan s View Post
    Nonetheless, the main reason I use dual pedals in the winter is that on really cold or snowy days, I wear hiking boots, which don't have cleats.
    Me too. I have a nice pair about 9 inches high that is great for winter snow. Not to mention that there have been a couple of times when I've had to push a bike home because of a flat or a break down. My commute is only 6 miles each way, so I usually do prefer that to trying to work things out at 20 below.
    mainlytext.com/bike.html Bicycling in winter, the entertainment version

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    Resident smartass. Fargo Wolf's Avatar
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    Been a while since I had to worry about black ice. That said, if I know the temperature is near freezing, or lower, I assume the road/path is icy and ride accordingly. Especially in shady areas. I've never bothered with studded tires or chains, but have always ridden, according to what the conditions dictate. If it looks icy, I slow down and ride accordingly type thing.

  24. #24
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    You want to crash with 50lbs of bike and panniers attached to your feet while following your rag doll crash philosophy. It's ok for you, but it doesn't sound too intelligent to me. The idea you can't tuck or roll out of a crash or adjust which body part hits first is nonsense.
    You can't "tuck and roll out of a crash' on ice because of the speed of the event. I've never crashed on ice where I had much time to think about anything. Even in mountain biking, crashes are much slower events and usually preceded by an "Oh crap!" moment. I've never experienced mountain bike crashes that happen as quickly as crashes on ice.

    Yes, you might be able to bail on a mountain bike trail and expect a reasonable result. Most often, however, you want to keep trying to avoid going down so you fight to the last minute but slowing down, trying to find a better place to crash, adjust your body, etc. But in a mountain bike crash your front wheel generally isn't sliding out from under you. Brakes, tires and friction are usually effective. On ice brakes tires and friction are ineffective or, more probably, the cause of the crash.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    I can imagine the sort of mountain biking you get up to when you're scoffing at people who are able to very quickly ditch the bicycle. Of course that level of skill needs to be practiced, something which you admit to none of so i guess i understand your skepticism. The worst mtb crash philosophy is to go down with the ship. Do you hang onto the bars for dear life when endoing? I hope not.
    You don't know me. You don't know where or how or what kind of terrain that I ride. I don't huck off cliffs but that just puts me in with 99.99% of mountain bike riders who either don't have the nerve to huck off cliffs or who don't have a death wish. My mountain biking tends more towards cross country riding which is very, very different from extreme riding. However, if you watch videos of extreme mountain bike riders, even they don't always jump off the bike nor do they always land on their feet. Watch them closely and you'll see that when they hit the ground (if they don't land on their feet) they are almost all in rag doll mode. It's the way you avoid injury. In the video below, you don't see a whole lot of people bailing off their bikes



    As for endos, those fall into two categories: relatively slow speed events or unexpected high speed events. If they are slow, you might try to bail but you likely can't get untangled from the bike and are just have to deal with the embarrassment. If they are high speed events, you have about a much reaction time as you do on ice and all you can do is try to avoid broken bones. I've done both. In neither would I try to jump off the bike. Look at the guy who tries to bail around 55 seconds in the video. All he end up doing was damaging the dangly bits.

    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Lastly, i don't think i'm being hypocritical by recommending studs and not recommending clipless. Which is all i'm doing.
    You busted hairytoes chops about not thinking that studded tires are worth it, you say that clipless are dangerous in winter and then you admit that you ride clipless (occasionally) in those conditions. The reader can draw their own conclusions.
    Stuart Black
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    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Closed Office View Post
    Thank you. I've never used studs either and don't want to. It makes sense to me, but certainly isn't the consensus. I can make adjustments in my route or speed on the bad days. I hit the road once or twice a winter, but usually at a slow speed under difficult conditions. That's usually ice that I don't see under snow.



    I appreciate that one. My worst accident had about a half second warning before a crash. I didn't know what to do, so didn't do anything. After it really did seem like the best thing to do.
    I suspect that Calgary's winters are a little more like Denver winters than like east coast (Canada or US) winters. Brief, intense snowstorms followed by cold and/or dry conditions. You guys have chinook winds like Denver and I assume that even it's cold, the snow disappears. We call the chinooks 'snow eaters' because the snow just disappears. It's actually a phenomena known as sublimation where the snow goes from solid to vapor without becoming liquid. Under those conditions, we (and you, probably) watch our snow piles go away. I bet you guys have dry powdery snow with a low moisture content, too.

    To give others an appreciation for what chinook winds can do, we had a storm here in Denver in 2003. Dumped 29" of snow over two days (starting on a Tuesday). By Friday, you couldn't have told that it had snowed at all. We didn't even have that much water running off it even though the stuff was snowcrete.

    I would suggest a knobbed tire in snow, however. It does grab the snow better than a smooth tire and provides a little control for snow...which can be a lot of fun to ride in
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

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