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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 01-10-05, 10:43 AM   #1
vtjim
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Pedestrian Rant

This is just a good-natured rant about pedestrians. I've been doing fine with winter commuting on our rail-trail, but now that we've had a few inches of snow, the pedestrians have been out tracking it all up and turning it into a kidney-jarring bump-fest.

It's depressing because I'm not sure I want to keep riding like that. I wish the walkers would just follow the tracks of the walker who went first. That way they'd have their own track to follow. We cyclists (there are a few of us) could make our own track, and the nordic skiers could have their track as well.

The peds just walk all over the place. It's a cryin' shame!

Anybody else deal with this? Is there a way to make the ride more comfortable? Short of getting a bike with shocks, that is. I'm guessing "not."
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Old 01-10-05, 12:51 PM   #2
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Get used to it. A rail trail is a recreational facility. It's not a lot of fun as a pedestrian if I have to be careful to be sure that I walk one foot after another like some sort of bipedal cat. Meander, my two-legged friend, meander!

If the trail's no good I'll bet there are streets that cover the same route.
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Old 01-10-05, 01:18 PM   #3
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I usually use city roads, the heavier traffic typically is on said road the clearer it is because the heat of the cars melts everything underneath. Plus main roads tend to be kept much clearer. Just avoid rush hour.

Though I've occasionally seen side roads where the roads haven't been plowed yet or plowed well or something but the sidewalk is (mostly) cleared. Depends on the neighborhood. But how ever clear the sidewalk is there is usually at least one segment completely unshoveled.

Anyways, you could use roads, or pressure your city into clearing those paths or if your looking for some good exercises and want to help everyone out you could shovel it yourself.
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Old 01-11-05, 08:50 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
like some sort of bipedal cat


Great mental image.

No, I wasn't meaning that peds should step exactly into existing footprints. Just stick to the same general 3 or 4 foot-wide track. In some sort of cycling utopia, that would be the case.

Well, actually, they'd just plow the trail in that utopia. Or it would never snow on the trail. But I digress...

I know it'll never happen, but I wanted to complain anyway.

Unfortunately my commute takes me over a major river. The direct route is the rail trail which has a bridge over the river. The other route is not direct at all and for all intents & purposes shoulderless in the winter, and heavily trafficked. I'm not comfortable riding those roads this time of year.

I've already inquired about plowing the trail. No response yet.
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Old 01-11-05, 09:03 AM   #5
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Hey, I just got a response from our city. It's exactly what I expected, unfortunately. My main problem is the comment about being responsible to maintain it. People are already walking, running, and cycling on it. It's covered with snow and ice. Go figure.


The response:
Quote:
This has been considered through the years and I understand the
question. We do not remove snow from the bikepath for several reasons.
Once we clear snow we are now responsible to maintain as a walking
surface. This necessitates salting and sanding to make safe. This is a
liability issue. That begs the question of why not do that. We do plow
a small portion between College St. and Lake Street. The balance of the
bikepath is not plowed because of cost and equipment challenges. To be
specific maintaining even half of the bike path would increase overtime
expenses, salt expenses, and repair expenses to both turf and equipment.

In many areas of the bike path simply plowing snow would work until the
volume became to much for trucks to push. Ideally, we would use a snow
blower which we do not have. I understand this may be confusing, I
would be more than willing to explain during a phone conversation.

You are not he first person to request this. This normally gets asked
once or twice per season.
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Old 01-11-05, 10:35 AM   #6
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Strange response.

Tell them in Chicago, they maintain the bike path through the winter. It's not that hard- they just seem a bit lazy if you ask me.

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Old 01-11-05, 11:23 AM   #7
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That response just illustrates what many vehicular cyclists will tell you: these things are billed as transportational facilities, a road for cyclists (and joggers, and walkers, and inline skaters, and ...) but they don't actually care to put forth expense for proper construction or maintenance. "I mean it's not like it's a real road..."

But I digress.
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Old 01-11-05, 12:24 PM   #8
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You're both right. The city plows its miles and miles of sidewalks. The path I'm asking about is only about 5 miles long. There's really no strong reason why it can't be cleared. Maybe I should just ride on the sidewalks. (no, i won't do that.)

I did respond and mention that the trail is already being used by a lot of pedestrians, runners, and even a few cyclists. Basically it comes down to the fact that, legally, if they touch it with a plow, then their legal liability changes.

Someone suggested I "fall down" on my bike and sue them for not clearing a public right of way intended for bicycle use. But then we realized they'd probably just ban bicycles on the trail.
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Old 01-11-05, 12:55 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtjim
Someone suggested I "fall down" on my bike and sue them for not clearing a public right of way intended for bicycle use. But then we realized they'd probably just ban bicycles on the trail.
Or do what they do here in Boston which is claim that the cyclist has no expectation of safety or access. The former was the defense when a cyclist was severely injured (and his bike damaged) after running into landscaping tools and debris that had been left on the poorly-lit Southwest Corridor path at night. The latter is their defense when cyclists complain over and over again about maintenance crews and police cars parking on the same (yes indeed, the path is actually for landscaping and rail maintenance access, they're just nice enough to let the rest of us use it--or so says the DCR).

Meanwhile the SWC path was cited as substitution for legally-mandated bicycle accommodations (which can be--and should be--as simple as wide shoulder lanes and routine traffic calming techniques) on the nearby Columbus Avenue when it was renovated several years ago. Whatever.

But I digress.
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Old 01-11-05, 01:24 PM   #10
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On another note, the Colchester parks/recreation department (or whatever it's called over there) has no idea what "beg the question" really means.
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Old 01-11-05, 02:13 PM   #11
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I'm getting the same thing here when ride into plattsburgh,NY. I think it's got to do with the freeze thaw process we are having right now. They are having a hard time getting the ice off the paths. They freeze at night and thaw during the day Then refreeze! All the snow melt runs into the path an freezes again.
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Old 01-11-05, 06:37 PM   #12
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I know you said short of getting shocks, but this so much fun.

I have a 14 mile bike path near my home.

For my hard tail I got a USE xcr seat post shock. I have Nokian 296 studded tires, I run about 22 psi in front and 25 in the back. I had to get the seat post shock to really enjoy this. I ride over the deepest frozen foot prints there are. The bike fishtails sometimes but you learn to just flow with it without falling. Sometimes you end up going 45 degrees to where you thought you were going. So what.

There are places where the snow is undisturbed, sometimes and you can ride through that too. I usually go as far as time permits. It is an excellent workout, the snow is a lot of resistance. In the spring I have stronger legs than all my buddies. The first hard uphill sprint on the road bike is MINE ! ALL MINE ! Every single time. You don't have to do this more than twice a week to get very strong.

You might like it, in the spring I miss it. I actually miss the ice. Flat ice is a ton of fun. Any lakes around??
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Old 01-12-05, 09:09 AM   #13
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Nice pictures. Looks almost the same as the trail I ride. Does the seat shock make a big difference? I find I take a lot of abuse in my arms unless I make an effort to "stay loose". There's also the danger of biting off my tongue.

Actually, you may be onto something there. The shock would take some of my weight off the bumps, lessening the effects. I'll look into that!

Oh, I have studs too. Studded tires make it a lot more fun... (When it's smooth, at least.)
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Old 01-12-05, 09:21 PM   #14
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the worst place to bicycle is on a trail shared with pedestrians. you never know what they will do. give me a street with cars. i know what they do. regards, henry
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Old 01-12-05, 11:18 PM   #15
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Hey they're plowing the paths up here, and not salting or sanding. They did it all last winter too. And the foot prints are bad, but then you also get the pedestrians with their mutts, and then add to it some really bad navigators. I've gotten stuck in other riders ruts that go all over, sending my rear one way and my front another. Yikes.
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Old 01-13-05, 11:09 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vtjim
Nice pictures. Looks almost the same as the trail I ride. Does the seat shock make a big difference? I find I take a lot of abuse in my arms unless I make an effort to "stay loose". There's also the danger of biting off my tongue.

Actually, you may be onto something there. The shock would take some of my weight off the bumps, lessening the effects. I'll look into that!

Oh, I have studs too. Studded tires make it a lot more fun... (When it's smooth, at least.)
This bike has front suspension. I still do have to stay loose on the arms.

When I first started riding over the bumpy ice I did not have a suspension seat post. I do this for miles like maybe 12 if I have time. It was so bumpy without the seat post I was not able to do a mile. I bought a few different suspension seat posts. They all made it possible and smooth enough to keep doing it. It makes a huge difference. My lesson over years of experiment with all the different seat post suspensions. Is.....go right to the best.. USE xcr...skip the less expensive ones. I tried them. For this particular application (continual 2" or 3" bumps for miles) you want the best. There are other high quality ones out there, but I have not tested them for four years. I have two, one on another mtb. With the studs and the seat post suspension I go straight over most bumpy ice. Except of course an almost parallel rut. This makes the bumpy ice fun too. Keep you tire pressure low if you don't get pinch flats.
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Old 01-13-05, 11:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naisme
Hey they're plowing the paths up here, and not salting or sanding. They did it all last winter too. And the foot prints are bad, but then you also get the pedestrians with their mutts, and then add to it some really bad navigators. I've gotten stuck in other riders ruts that go all over, sending my rear one way and my front another. Yikes.
Have you tried studded tires?
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