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Freezing Drizzle / Rain Safe to Commute In?

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Freezing Drizzle / Rain Safe to Commute In?

Old 12-15-18, 07:19 PM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by medic75 View Post
I would love to agree with you, but depending on where the OP is in Pennsylvania, freezing rain is a little different. Under some conditions, freezing rain falls as rain,washing away any residual salt on the tarmac, and then freezes into a sheet of extremely slick ice with a layer of water on top. This is a condition where you have difficulty standing up on. This typically only lasts a couple of hours before the surface temperature rises or the road crews spread some salt. This is common when the ground is frozen and a warm front causes the precipitation to be liquid. While this is likely the worst case scenario, it is not an anomaly.
At 31° first thing in the morning? If the temperature continues to fall during the day maybe, but that is unusual. I suspect that freezing rain at 30-32 is relatively unusual in PA at all, since usually the precipitation falls through a layer of warm air, thawing, before getting cooler on the way down. You don't need studs when it starts falling, and check the forecast for later in the day.
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Old 12-16-18, 09:30 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
At 31° first thing in the morning? If the temperature continues to fall during the day maybe, but that is unusual. I suspect that freezing rain at 30-32 is relatively unusual in PA at all, since usually the precipitation falls through a layer of warm air, thawing, before getting cooler on the way down. You don't need studs when it starts falling, and check the forecast for later in the day.
Okay, I will admit that I was not looking at that specific day when I commented. I will concur that the chance of ice on that day was low. With that being said, it is not uncommon for NW Pennsylvania to see extreme weather changes in a matter of hours this time of year. For me, I likely only need studs less than 10% of my commutes over the winter, but the weather is so unpredictable that I just leave them on for the whole season.
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Old 12-16-18, 03:49 PM
  #28  
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I'm voting for studs. Last time ridding on regular tires after a freezing rain, I ended up like Bambi on the right lane of a 4 laner. Good thing no cars were approaching at the time.
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Old 12-16-18, 07:00 PM
  #29  
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If the ground is cold overnight, even if the air temp is at or above freezing, rain precip may become wet/black ice. This is a dangerous condition and not to be trifled with. Studs!

Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
At 31° first thing in the morning? If the temperature continues to fall during the day maybe, but that is unusual. I suspect that freezing rain at 30-32 is relatively unusual in PA at all, since usually the precipitation falls through a layer of warm air, thawing, before getting cooler on the way down. You don't need studs when it starts falling, and check the forecast for later in the day.
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Old 12-16-18, 07:53 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
As for swapping tires/wheels, I have two sets of wheels for the bike. It takes two minutes to swap with a minor brake adjustment. But when in doubt always go with studs.
I have a dedicated "winter" bike. It has a few adaptations for winter conditions, mainly studded tires. Any day there's the possibility of ice or snow, I take the winter bike. If the weather permits, I just take the "good weather" bike. Easier than changing wheels, and certainly easier than changing the tires.
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Old 12-17-18, 04:16 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
At 31° first thing in the morning? If the temperature continues to fall during the day maybe, but that is unusual. I suspect that freezing rain at 30-32 is relatively unusual in PA at all, since usually the precipitation falls through a layer of warm air, thawing, before getting cooler on the way down. You don't need studs when it starts falling, and check the forecast for later in the day.
Are you guessing, or do you know what happens there? I don't know, either, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear PA has the bad kind of freezing rain. I know OH gets it a lot, and PA is just east of OH, at the same latitude.
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Old 12-17-18, 04:41 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Are you guessing, or do you know what happens there? I don't know, either, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear PA has the bad kind of freezing rain. I know OH gets it a lot, and PA is just east of OH, at the same latitude.
I know that we get the warm air mass because of the Atlantic, which causes the layering especially when the cold air is from the north over the mountains. It's one reason why we get rain instead of snow at similar temperatures (other than generally warmer here). I don't think that's as common in PA and they probably get more mix when it's not ice and snow.
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Old 12-18-18, 06:34 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Are you guessing, or do you know what happens there? I don't know, either, but it wouldn't surprise me to hear PA has the bad kind of freezing rain. I know OH gets it a lot, and PA is just east of OH, at the same latitude.
I won't say that PA is unique, but the weather in PA is extremely diverse depending on location. Interstate 80 seems to be a line through the center of the state where things change. There can be a 40 degree difference between Erie, PA & Pittsburgh, PA. In addition to that, Erie is subject to lake effect weather (think Buffalo, NY) while, in the opposite corner, Philly has the Atlantic Ocean. This is why my previous post included "depending on where the OP is in Pennsylvania".
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Old 12-18-18, 10:49 PM
  #34  
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Freezing rair = Black ice.
that will send shivers down my spine.

Pull the cage out of the garage leave bike at home.

Watch the idiot fly by you and get themselves into trouble....
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Old 12-19-18, 12:42 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by lmike6453 View Post
I want to commute in tomorrow morning but it's going to start a freezing drizzle 30 mins before I leave in 31F temperature.

I have 2.4 inch tires on my ebike (no knobs) and travel at about 20-22mph on a mixture of back roads and bike trail for 8 miles.
https://www.schwalbetires.com/bike_t...s/super-moto-x

Should I ride in or drive in?

​​​​​​​
I bike regardless, but then again, I commuted year round in Boston for almost 10 years. So, I'm one of those nut jobs. My tips for this kind of weather are as follows: Rain pants, rain jacket, googles (preferably), and if you have to, do sidewalks. Seriously. I've never used studded tires, and actually, while I am stud-curious, I've never actually felt the need to get them, and still got around just fine. But then again I have a much higher tolerance for risk, so, you know. Everyone's mileage varies.

There's no such thing as bad weather. Just bad clothing.
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Old 12-19-18, 08:20 PM
  #36  
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The smart ones who decided to take the car instead.

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Old 12-21-18, 09:55 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by lmike6453 View Post
Thanks for the responses, more questions...

How do you manage swapping tires just for one day of snow / ice when the next is warmer and its melted?
Do you swap just the tire or have an entire different wheel set?
Or leave studded on even though its not needed that day and burn the tread up?
I've slid through intersections on my butt, torn up my legs and clothes, and sprained my ankle trying to commute in those conditions. So I either use studs or don't' ride. Its not worth it to not be able to walk/ride for 6 weeks.

I do swap wheels when I need studs. A better solution is just to get a $100 mountain bike off of craigs list and use that on on days I need studs.

And - I find something like the Nokian W160 is a decent winter commuter tire. At higher pressure, I'm on rubber just like a normal tire. At lower pressure, the studs are always on the pavement. Either way, the studs are biting if I'm cornering or starting to go sideways.

One of my biggest surprises was riding to work on a dry sunny day at 33 degrees. Road through a shadow when turning a corner and the shadow contained black ice. I guess the sun had not hit it yet and it was still damp/frozen from over night. Down I went.
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Old 12-21-18, 09:59 AM
  #38  
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Part II.

I wrote the above for a pedal bike. Just realized you have an ebike.

Dude - get studs and leave them on in the winter. ebikes and studds are a great combination. Studded tires are slow and heavy, but on an ebike - it just doesn't care. I can easily ride 20mph and corner with peace of mind. No reason not to have at least 160 studs, but you'll slide a little (more like drifting) on an ebike at that level. 250 studs and you'll stick to anything reasonable. I have a set of tires with 300 studs, and I can literally do wheelies on a frozen lake.

Don't be silly - use studs on an ebike in the winter.
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Old 01-07-19, 09:18 PM
  #39  
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This is for those who don't understand freezing rain. This was not in the forecast today. It was supposed to be a high of 40. Suddenly, shortly after 1pm, it began to sleet. Upon landing, that sleet froze into a sheet of ice on everything. The roads were like a wet & bumping ice skating rink. This lasted for about 20 minutes, and between the traffic and road crews, it melted.

This photo is from the inside of my work truck following lunch - and yes, I did commute to work. The roads were almost dry by the time I left work.
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Old 01-09-19, 04:14 PM
  #40  
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I can barely ride on a wet wooden bridge, so I don't know if I'd ride on a icy one.
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Old 01-09-19, 07:03 PM
  #41  
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+1 This!
Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Part II.

I wrote the above for a pedal bike. Just realized you have an ebike.

Dude - get studs and leave them on in the winter. ebikes and studds are a great combination. Studded tires are slow and heavy, but on an ebike - it just doesn't care. I can easily ride 20mph and corner with peace of mind. No reason not to have at least 160 studs, but you'll slide a little (more like drifting) on an ebike at that level. 250 studs and you'll stick to anything reasonable. I have a set of tires with 300 studs, and I can literally do wheelies on a frozen lake.

Don't be silly - use studs on an ebike in the winter.
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Old 01-10-19, 08:38 AM
  #42  
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looks like i will have to make the decision whether to drive or ride Monday... of course my Mrs might request me to drive....
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Old 01-11-19, 02:03 PM
  #43  
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I'll vouch for the studded tires like the others. I have 2 sets of wheels for my commuter and keep the studded tires on my spare set. It takes less than 60 seconds to swap wheels. If it were light freezing rain and not a lot of wind I'd do it, but if the rain were heavy and/or it was very windy I'd probably work from home or get a ride (car-free). Not because of traction, but because cold + rain + wind = miserable, but my commute is a hour long, longer yet when riding studded tires.
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Old 01-11-19, 07:28 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
looks like i will have to make the decision whether to drive or ride Monday... of course my Mrs might request me to drive....
I have previously posted
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…BTW, my wife is a nurse, and she tended me well during my three month convalescence from my cycling accident. Our relationship was early on very bicycle-centered, including a cross-country cycling honeymoon, so she does not give me a hard time about continuing cycling.

I kid her that's because we have one family car, and it's hers since I cycle commute and do errands. When I do ride in nasty weather though she does chide me, "You just want to ride today so you can write about it on BikeForums."
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Old 01-13-19, 09:23 AM
  #45  
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Safety first. Since the bike trails will probably not be cleared or salted, I'd say go with car for today.
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Old 01-14-19, 09:29 AM
  #46  
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I could have ridden today the roads were not bad at all.
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Old 01-14-19, 10:37 AM
  #47  
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If you have to ask the question...err on the side of caution. Cycling/commuting should't come at a risk to health and safety.
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Old 01-14-19, 12:53 PM
  #48  
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Freezing Drizzle / Rain Safe to Commute In?
Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
If you have to ask the question...err on the side of caution. Cycling/commuting should't come at a risk to health and safety.
When pondering the possibility to ride, I consider this post on the thread “When does Hardcore become Stupid?
Originally Posted by StephenH View Post
Hardcore becomes stupid when it becomes dangerous.

Hardcore becomes stupid when anything going wrong becomes a safety problem instead of an inconvenience. For example, fixing a flat if hands are too cold, pump is froze up, glue won't stick or whatever. Of if "walk of shame" back to the house with mechanical problem becomes death march in the wilderness.

Hardcore becomes stupid when minor errors in judgment become safety issues. You estimate how long it will take, what you need to wear, whether you'll need lights, etc. If you estimate wrong, do you get a chill? Or do you die?

Hardcore has clearly become completely stupid when you lose any fingers or toes to frostbite.

In each case, it's not just the weather that makes it hardcore or stupid, it's the degree of preparation and knowledge used in dealing with the weather.
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Old 01-15-19, 09:36 AM
  #49  
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Pertaining to freezing drizzle, got a little firsthand experience with it on this morning's commute. By mile 7 of 12, the roads were a sheet of ice. My tires never lost traction, but the cars I share the road with don't have studded tires. Just something to ponder before deciding to make a trip in freezing rain/drizzle I guess. I nearly slipped and fell in the parking lot after I got off my bike at work.
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Old 01-16-19, 08:51 AM
  #50  
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I just sprained my leg - my knee is all torn up. It HURTS! #%^#@@*&

Ride started off fine - everything was frozen and nice and crunchy.

Then the rain came in (earlier than predicted). I didn't think that was a problem, but frozen roads & changing temperatures are not a good thing. compounding the fact that wet pavement does a very good job of both hiding ice and making it more slippery. I was just happily riding along - next thing I know I'm lying on my back with pain in my leg. It just happened so fast. At least I was wearing a helmet, lol.

Any day where the temperature crosses the freezing point is a day when ice is the most dangerous.


so yeah, @medic75 and @wphamilton

In my area, we get freezing rain like you'd get snow – you have to watch out for shadows, slick looking patches (that could be frozen)”
That is what I do, but the fallacy in that argument is that there are no shadows when its raining. Everything is glossy wet, hiding my trap.

Weather is unpredictable, and leaving the house with 30 degree temperatures (and no precipitation in the near term forecast) turned out to be a nightmare this day.


Originally Posted by Archwhorides View Post
If the ground is cold overnight, even if the air temp is at or above freezing, rain precip may become wet/black ice. This is a dangerous condition and not to be trifled with. Studs!
Uh, yeah. That would be what had happened (I would have been OK if the short term weather forecast had been accurate, with rain starting after my ride).

Originally Posted by crotch_rocket View Post
Seriously. I've never used studded tires, and actually, while I am stud-curious, I've never actually felt the need to get them, and still got around just fine.
I’ve never really needed them in the city, so you may be just fine in Boston. Generally there is too much traffic (and plowing and salt). Black ice forms best when the surface is undisturbed for a while. But you may just be getting lucky so far. Watch for those shadows on cold days.
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