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Winter commuting

Old 11-16-15, 01:04 AM
  #1  
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Winter commuting

Winter cycling: good idea or flat-out insane? - Canada - CBC News
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Old 11-16-15, 04:49 AM
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Why can't it be both?
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Old 11-16-15, 04:54 AM
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Let's just call it an "interesting" change. Ok, people (most cyclists) call me insane, but Rule #9 rules over all.


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Old 11-16-15, 06:58 AM
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I don't get #8 rule, what condition prevent someone from riding in winter? If you have the proper gears it's no big deal

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Old 11-16-15, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
I don't get #8 rule, what condition prevent someone from riding in winter? If you have the proper gears it's no big deal

There are days I may be able to ride, but given conditions--weather, roads (usually narrowed thanks to plows dumping snow on the shoulders), etc.--I don't trust drivers enough to go riding. They have issues in good conditions, and I just don't trust them to put down their cell phones when things are dicey. And even when they do, I've seen too many without winter driving skills to want to risk being in their way.
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Old 11-16-15, 08:00 AM
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^This
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Old 11-16-15, 08:46 AM
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Riding in winter is perfectly fine. Make sure you are very well lit and you'll be fine around the cars. I don't think it's crazy at all. In fact, I find warming up your car, scraping off the snow/ice, then carefully driving the 3 miles to work much more crazy than hopping on a bike for the same trip.

On a side note, a pic from the article... Not only a fat bike, but a TANDEM fat bike. Whoever rides that must be a bad-ass.

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Old 11-16-15, 09:14 AM
  #8  
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I bought a fat bike (Specialized Fatboy) last fall and committed myself to year-long commuting. My ride is 8.5 miles each way, so I promised myself that I'd ride it at least one day a week all winter.

I kitted out my Fatboy as a commuter (Jones loop bars, lights, fenders, rack, mirror, studded tires) and I did it!


My route is about half roads and half bike trails. On the roads, I stick to side streets with less traffic, or wide sidewalks on the main roads.
Yesterday's slush turns into this morning's icy death ruts, but the studded fat tires were unstoppable over such dangerous surfaces.

I'm concerned for cars in crap situations, but I try to make myself visible (lights and hi-vis) and stay out of their way. A good mirror helps a lot with situational awareness.

This purchase/experiment had lots of great outcomes:
* I kept my weight stable all winter, instead of putting on 20 lbs of beer weight from not riding
* I'm way stronger at climbing now (with fat tires, you're always climbing, even on flat ground)
* I have a killer singletrack bike now, too (the Fatboy is awesome at the MTB park; I haven't ridden my Headshock Cannondale 26 er since I bought the Fatboy)

Other gear observations:
Snow/ski goggles are key for sub-freezing riding. Get dual pane for fog-resistance.
Bern helmets are great, you can get them with winter and summer liners, and a goggle clip.
Layers of clothing work better than a bulky layer that gets sweaty.
Merino wool is awesome.
(Everyone has different hand/foot circulation issues, so gloves and shoes are often a highly personalized choice. My extremities keep pretty warm, so I usually get by with a pair of thin wool liner gloves under full-finger MTB gloves. I wear thicker ski-type gloves when it's crazy cold)
Shoes are a compromise: SPD clips get iced over with frozen slush, and well-insulated SPD shoes are expensive. Decent winter boots and wide, pinned platforms is a cheaper setup, and may work better in some conditions. Currently, I use platform/SPD M-324 pedals for the best/worst of both setups)
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Old 11-16-15, 09:25 AM
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It's little bit of both. I enjoyed it when I commuted, and I look forward to getting back into it. Ideally, I'd have one bike set up for normal winter/daily commuting year round and one set up with a 1000 watt electric hub or mid drive for those days I'm just to tired or worn out to pedal myself to work. I've never ridden a main road in the winter and I've always made sure to remain very visible on the side streets. The drivers around here have always given me a lot of room, even more so in the winter.
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Old 11-16-15, 11:25 AM
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Winter driving can be considered insane if you keep your summer or all season tires on – and some people do!! You also need to ensure your windshield washer and wipers are in good working condition for the snow, slush and salt. There are times when the authorities advice motorists if you don’t have to drive to work, don’t.

How different are those from cyclists?

Has anybody been to Anchorage Alaska? They have on-street bike lanes everywhere. So unless someone definitively tells me there are no cyclists in the winter, we have to assume those bike lanes are being used.
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Old 11-16-15, 11:42 AM
  #11  
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Winter makes me appreciate the summers more, now that I am in a place with 4 seasons. So bring on the requisite few weeks of ice and snow, and the few months of cold!
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Old 11-16-15, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
Let's just call it an "interesting" change. Ok, people (most cyclists) call me insane, but Rule #9 rules over all.


Marc

Nice bike. What size tires are those? They look pretty skinny. Do you like them more than 26" tires for the winter rides? I'm in Michigan as well, riding 26" but I wonder if I should try to find a bike with skinnier tires for my commute. Maybe I'll sell the old wood lathe I have lying around and pick one up.
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Old 11-16-15, 12:15 PM
  #13  
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To the general public we (winter commuters) seem pretty hardcore. But if you hang around here long enough it seems perfectly normal to be riding in sub-freezing temperatures, as well as ice-covered and snow-covered roads. No biggie, right?

I remember before I started to commute by bike I felt the same way:
No way I could ride 20 km to work and back home. Done.
No way I could ride when it's so dark in the morning/evening. Done.
No way I could ride when the temperature is in the single digits. Done.
No way I could ride when it's freezing out. Done.
No way I could ride when there's snow and ice on the ground. Done.

I mean, what else is there? Heavy wind. Tornado. Hurricane.

We just have to expand our zone of comfort.
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Old 11-16-15, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wwiding View Post
Nice bike. What size tires are those? They look pretty skinny. Do you like them more than 26" tires for the winter rides? I'm in Michigan as well, riding 26" but I wonder if I should try to find a bike with skinnier tires for my commute. Maybe I'll sell the old wood lathe I have lying around and pick one up.
The tires are Nokian W106 45-622, just wide enough to get through the rough stuff without too much rolling resistance.

Marc
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Old 11-16-15, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
To the general public we (winter commuters) seem pretty hardcore. But if you hang around here long enough it seems perfectly normal to be riding in sub-freezing temperatures, as well as ice-covered and snow-covered roads. No biggie, right?

I remember before I started to commute by bike I felt the same way:
No way I could ride 20 km to work and back home. Done.
No way I could ride when it's so dark in the morning/evening. Done.
No way I could ride when the temperature is in the single digits. Done.
No way I could ride when it's freezing out. Done.
No way I could ride when there's snow and ice on the ground. Done.

I mean, what else is there? Heavy wind. Tornado. Hurricane.

We just have to expand our zone of comfort.
How about alien/zombie invasions during a meteor strike?

Wisdom from Bikey Face.

Marc
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Old 11-16-15, 03:33 PM
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Of course, how could I forget zombie invasion.
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Old 11-17-15, 04:43 AM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Of course, how could I forget zombie invasion.
I figure I'll have to stop at Lowe's and pickup a chainsaw for the trip to work that day.

Marc
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Old 11-17-15, 06:45 AM
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For some commuters, winter conditions can make it impractical even with proper gears.

Originally Posted by erig007 View Post
I don't get #8 rule, what condition prevent someone from riding in winter? If you have the proper gears it's no big deal
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Old 11-17-15, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
I figure I'll have to stop at Lowe's and pickup a chainsaw for the trip to work that day.

Marc
Well, at least we've got the cardio part covered.
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Old 11-17-15, 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
I figure I'll have to stop at Lowe's and pickup a chainsaw for the trip to work that day.

Marc
Be prepared! It's even front wheel drive.
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Old 11-17-15, 10:11 AM
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A woman from the article: "There's was a certain level of bad-assery to it".

Though I've collected better clothes, lights, and equipment to make it easier, I confess to enjoying that aspect of it.

My winter bike used to be this black Bianchi "cross country" bike with purple logos. Kind of an early 29'er. I had converted it to drop bars and it looked like a road bike on steroids. With the studded tires it would been at home on the set of a Mad Max movie.

A guy was eyeing it on the elevator ride up to my floor one morning. As he got off, he looks back at it one more time and says: "That is one bad ass bike".

Best compliment I've ever gotten on one of my bikes. Sadly, during the Spring of a few years ago my son was using it to ride it to school. It got stolen.

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Old 11-17-15, 03:28 PM
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I rode to work and back a few times last winter. On occasions, it was very difficult and painful. I plan to do it more this winter.

I've bought new fleece gloves to go under my mittens, a new fancy jacket, and a warm ski helmet. I'm in the process of building a bike which will have studded tires, even though they are gross overkill for NYC.

@irwin7638, I love that graphic. I'm going to steal it and post it on my blog. Where is it from?
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Old 11-17-15, 03:59 PM
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I've found gloves do nothing for me. The thicker they are the hard it is to use my brakes and twist shifter. I am all about the pogies and up until the last minute I use a thin pair of merino wool gloves (45nrth).
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Old 11-17-15, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I rode to work and back a few times last winter. On occasions, it was very difficult and painful. I plan to do it more this winter.

I've bought new fleece gloves to go under my mittens, a new fancy jacket, and a warm ski helmet. I'm in the process of building a bike which will have studded tires, even though they are gross overkill for NYC.

@irwin7638, I love that graphic. I'm going to steal it and post it on my blog. Where is it from?
It's from Bikey Face, a cartoonist in Boston. Google Bikey Face Bike Habit.

Marc
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Old 11-17-15, 06:32 PM
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This is my sixth winter commuting. It's all about studs and attitude. For instance, the only day I didn't ride all the way in was when I had to walk my bike through these ice boulders:

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