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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 01-21-14, 03:43 PM   #1
climberguy
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Nine types of snow

Riding the last couple of days with snow on the road has me thinking about some northern indigenous groups or tribes that have nine (or is it eleven?) names for different types of snow. I'm starting my own categories (no names yet) and have identified at least the following:

-very new light dry snow (easy to ride in)
-heavy, wet new snow (OK to ride if not too deep)
-drifted snow (ride quality depends on depth)
-drifted snow with a crust (tough going)
-very wet slush, almost liquid (sloppy but not bad for riding)
-snow packed and polished by cars, almost ice (often no fun; needs studded tires)
-snow lightly packed by only one or two passes of cars (OK for riding)
-snow from a recent pass of a snow plow (not bad if not deep)
-refrozen snow (bad)

(To complicate matters, ride quality may vary with the temperature.)

(Of course there is actual ice, as there is water, but I'm excluding them from my "snow" categories.)

I don't think my list is finished; it's an early work in progress. Feel free to add your own varieties.
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Old 01-21-14, 06:42 PM   #2
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http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ycling-Lexicon
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Old 01-21-14, 08:04 PM   #3
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Thanks. A lot more went into that than my brief observations, tho some of it may be particular to the locale--Edmonton.
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Old 01-22-14, 08:09 AM   #4
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Woke up this morning and it was snowing sideways = bad cycling day (might try it anyway).

Big soft fluffy flakes = Beautiful day for a winter ride
Big half frozen globs of frozen rain/snow that splat when they hit = Ridable with the right gear but watch your road conditions
Lake effects snow in Great Lakes region = Where'd everybody go?
Any snow in Florida = Immediate life threat, stay indoors, wear several layers of t-shirts and find socks.
Two feet of snow with high winds in Lake of the Woods, MN = Tuesday (yeah, I borrowed that from Sixty fiver)
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Old 01-22-14, 08:51 AM   #5
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Brown snot, car churned crud mixed with sand and salt. Not easy to pedal in and has very little traction.
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Old 01-22-14, 12:04 PM   #6
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Stay away from the yellow snow
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Old 01-22-14, 05:56 PM   #7
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Brown snot, car churned crud mixed with sand and salt. Not easy to pedal in and has very little traction.
Salt Snow
Below about 20 F, salt will not melt snow.
What it will do is mix in with the snow to a brownish semi-packed type ... ~slurry.

Worst of all, this slurry semi melts against the slightly warmer road surface.
Which means your tire almost sticks but what it sticks to slips against the road.

This "Salt Snow" is the most annoying-dangerous Winter hazard I've run into.
Even studded tires don't help much.
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Old 01-22-14, 06:54 PM   #8
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Salt Snow
Below about 20 F, salt will not melt snow.
What it will do is mix in with the snow to a brownish semi-packed type ... ~slurry.

Worst of all, this slurry semi melts against the slightly warmer road surface.
Which means your tire almost sticks but what it sticks to slips against the road.

This "Salt Snow" is the most annoying-dangerous Winter hazard I've run into.
Even studded tires don't help much.
I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing this yet, but when I do I will add it to my list.
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Old 01-22-14, 07:12 PM   #9
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Salt Snow
Below about 20 F, salt will not melt snow.

This "Salt Snow" is the most annoying-dangerous Winter hazard I've run into.
Even studded tires don't help much.

It's definitely in my top 2 or 3. I live on a busy US highway and I get this at the end of my driveway from the state plows. I'll spare everyone the gory details of trying to plow it out of the driveway with a garden tractor but there is no way I'd try riding a bike in it.
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Old 01-22-14, 10:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leebo View Post
Brown snot, car churned crud mixed with sand and salt. Not easy to pedal in and has very little traction.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrkAngel View Post
Salt Snow
Below about 20 F, salt will not melt snow.
What it will do is mix in with the snow to a brownish semi-packed type ... ~slurry.

Worst of all, this slurry semi melts against the slightly warmer road surface.
Which means your tire almost sticks but what it sticks to slips against the road.

This "Salt Snow" is the most annoying-dangerous Winter hazard I've run into.
Even studded tires don't help much.


I refer to it as "Snot", "Winter Crud", "Black Slush", etc . . . and I absolutely agree that this junk is the worst of the worst, especially when its on top of an under layer of glare ice !!! What it does to a bikes components isn't pretty either, even some of my home-made welded 304 stainless steel tubing frames have suffered corrosion from this stuff and the only thing I've found that does a decent job of protecting the bikes drive chain(s) against this stuff is X-lox which is a generic lower cost version of Liquid Alox which is a combination lubricant and corrosion preventative originally designed to keep the inside bore of battle ship guns from corroding while at sea and is still used to this day as a lubricant and corrosion preventative in certain ballistic applications. I get mine in a jug from white label lubes online and its the only thing I've found that will keep a bikes chain lubed prevent corroding and binding when exposed to this snot on a near daily basis. Also helps on the brake and shifter cables to keep them from corroding and keep them from freezing up and binding up in their housings.

As to riding in this snot, good studded snow tires with knobby tread and lots of studs is bare minimum and often have to add home-made bike tire chains to that when it gets bad enough.

This snot is the worst possible winter road conditions for cycling in my opinion.
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