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War Stories

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Old 01-12-18, 06:38 PM
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Colorado Kid
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War Stories

Around the lunch table today, (The bicycle commuters in our group) told many "war stories' of great weather challenges they rode through. What epic Snow, Rain and other conditions have you rode through?
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Old 01-12-18, 06:44 PM
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Had I ridden today I would have had a story--headwinds 60+ km/h, freezing rain turning to snow, temperature dropping rapidly from 11*C in the morning to -6 by quitting time. Fortunately I did not have to face this onslaught.

Last February I rode to work in fair weather but had to battle freezing rain by quitting time. Here's what the bike looked like when I got home. You can imagine the conditions.

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Old 01-12-18, 06:48 PM
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Yesterday's ride home, with the rain and melting snow, was very, very wet. Not really difficult, but just...wet.

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Old 01-13-18, 08:16 AM
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I remember how much clothing I had to hang in the boiler room to dry. head to toe, all the stuff, all the layers. didn't bother anyone cuz it was out of site but I was the only bike commuter so I felt a bit odd about it. great situation tho cuz it all always dried out nicely in time to ride home. I rode thru anything. good times. would love to find a new similar situation
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Old 01-13-18, 12:18 PM
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I skip the ice and snow bike rides because people around here drive like idiots. If we're going to play bumper cars, I want a couple thousand pounds of CAR around me! Lucky for me there was little traffic yesterday when the snow shower hit!

But I did get caught in a hail storm once. I misjudged the weather radar and thought I could get home in the 25 minutes before it hit. The thunderstorm moved faster than I thought, and caught me halfway home. I took "shelter" under a narrow overhang of a convenience store (in the worst part of town, naturally!) when the hail started coming through my helmet vents. Once that let up, I took off and promptly found myself in a foot of running water 50 yards down the street.
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Old 01-13-18, 06:32 PM
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Tropical Storm Lee in Mobile, AL - 16 mile RT. My significant other had the (one) car out of town when the storm hit, and I still had to get to work - oops!

More recently, I misjudged a commute home and ended up waiting under a roof at a church for 20 minutes while a nasty hail storm hit.

Winter? Nothing too major. When it's that bad, things are usually closed!
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Old 01-13-18, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by BooksandBikes View Post
Brave! The lane is narrow!
Be careful. Heavy traffic too! You are very courageous.
It's not as harrowing as it looks. The traffic moves quite slowly on this segment. You can't tell from the pics but I'm actually passing the cars more so than they are passing me. Bike lane is actually pretty wide by our standards with a rare 'thick' dividing line.
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Old 01-15-18, 04:15 PM
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Got another one today:

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The outbound trip was fine. Just cold. I knew we were expecting 2-4 cm during the day, but I was hoping it would come later. Nope, it came just in time for me to go home. Riding on 35-mm Schwalbe Winter Studs. It was mostly fine, but when going over thicker, loosely packed snow I could feel the bike sliding every so slightly. Quite unnerving, actually. I made my best effort to stay on the tire tracks.

I would have driven had I known.
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Old 01-16-18, 04:41 PM
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^^^ ^^^
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Old 01-16-18, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
mostly fine, but when going over thicker, loosely packed snow I could feel the bike sliding every so slightly
yeah, if the treads get filled & compacted, we get less usable stud poking out. hope you don't ride much on that 3 laner!
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Old 01-16-18, 07:57 PM
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My first (or so) job was at a bike store. The boss was a sweet and nasty old lady named Pearl. She paid by the hour; if I was there at 8:30 and stayed until 5:30 I'd get paid for my eight hours (don't do the math). If I wasn't there by 8:30, I got paid for an hour less. So the morning I woke up to an inch of ice covering EVERYTHING, I rode my bike to work as usual. It wasn't easy; but I was eighteen and made of nylon and rubber. I was there at 8:25 as usual, ready to start the day. No one else was there. I waited in the freezing rain for an hour, then left a note and went home, after which called the store every ten minutes or so until Pearl answered. I was home barely a half hour before heading back, in fact under two hours "late." By then the ice on everything was even thicker.

Funny thing is, all I really remember is fighting with Pearl about my hours, arguing that I should be paid from 8:30, not docked $7 for being two hours late because, I argued, I wasn't the one who was late. She was. She didn't like that! But I'm stubborn now and I was stubborn then. She was stubborn too, but I had righteous indignation on my side. I won.

Honestly I barely remember riding on that ice ... It was annoying and interesting... but faster, safer, and easier than driving a car on it.

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Old 01-17-18, 08:02 AM
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Back in 2007 there was an ice storm starting but I rode into work anyway, at Purdue University. Got there, seemed awfuly quiet, turned out the campus closed for the day. Shrugged, rode back home.

Oh, and the entire winter of 13-14.
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Old 01-17-18, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by 55murray View Post
Oh, and the entire winter of 13-14.
This.

You don't even have to be a biker to brag about surviving that. Parts of me STILL hurt from shoveling 8 hours a day for a week straight.
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Old 01-20-18, 09:31 PM
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Commuting in -5F was the coldest temp I've ridden in.
Pogies (big mitts) over the handlebar ends are essential.
On the plus side, no slush spraying all over me or the bike.
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Old 01-20-18, 09:55 PM
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All this ice and snow reminds me why I live on the west coast. If I want frozen water, the nearby mountains will provide. Who needs that stuff?
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Old 01-20-18, 10:36 PM
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Jesus. You people are freaken dedicated. I drive to and from work and just change close and go for a ride when I get home. Not a snowball's chance in hell that I would willingly ride outside if it's even close to cold enough for snow.
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Old 01-21-18, 11:46 AM
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I got battle-hardened during my youth in Vancouver as I would ride home from my summer job in the pouring rain.

In Toronto, during my first year bike commuting, I got caught in the thunderstorm of June 17, 2014. When I got home, I stripped off my clothes and jumped into the shower. After I got out, my wife said the kitchen was leaking so I crawled into the attic and put a bucket under the leak.

The next day, the news reported that a golfer had been struck by lightening but survived because a nurse was nearby who saved his life.
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Old 01-21-18, 12:12 PM
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This is what the side streets often look like in Chicago when it's snowing.
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
As you indicated, studded tires (SMWs) pretty much make this routine except where there's packed snow. I'm on a folding bike with 20" wheels, so handling gets a bit squirrelly when the wheel climbs up onto the snow pack, then punches through. It's like there's a momentary "free-fall" which can be a challenge for keeping the balance. Luckily, I'm only going a total of about 7 miles on relatively traffic-free side streets.
The last time I couldn't ride because of weather was in February of 2015. I probably won't get much riding in this winter because I broke a bone in my leg a couple weeks ago... walking to my garage to get the bike out! I'd have been safe on the bike.
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Old 01-21-18, 08:05 PM
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Winter 2014-15 was cool, took the bus and subway a few days.
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Old 01-22-18, 09:00 AM
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Originally Posted by 1WheelMax View Post
Jesus. You people are freaken dedicated. I drive to and from work and just change close and go for a ride when I get home. Not a snowball's chance in hell that I would willingly ride outside if it's even close to cold enough for snow.
We build up our toughness and dedication gradually. If my coldest riding temperature were 50ºF, I couldn't jump into 25ºF weather. Some years I'm tougher than others. This year, I've ridden in low temperatures, but I have not been eager to ride on slippery roads. I've ridden on slightly slushy streets this year, but only using the Citi Bike fleet. The bikes weigh 50 pounds and have fenders and chainguards. They handle well on slippery surfaces.
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Old 01-23-18, 11:48 AM
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One of my most challenging rides was shortly after I started bike commuting and didn't know better. I was riding to my girlfriends house during a big rain storm, and was riding in a puddle that kept getting deeper and deeper. Eventually the water was over the bottom bracket with each pedalstoke making a splashing sound as my foot went under water as I realized the water was up over the top of the base of the supports for the high voltage power lines that the bike path runs under. I pedaled out of there as quick as I could and haven't repeated that mistake.
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Old 01-23-18, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
It's not as harrowing as it looks. The traffic moves quite slowly on this segment. You can't tell from the pics but I'm actually passing the cars more so than they are passing me. Bike lane is actually pretty wide by our standards with a rare 'thick' dividing line.
I used to live in Mississauga, virtually on the border with Etobicoke. Where is this taken?
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Old 01-23-18, 12:11 PM
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I blogged about my most harrowing ride: https://biketipsblog.wordpress.com/2...-commute-home/
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Old 01-23-18, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
I used to live in Mississauga, virtually on the border with Etobicoke. Where is this taken?
Highway 7 and Highway 404.
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Old 01-23-18, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Highway 7 and Highway 404.
Ah, opposite corner. Markham
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