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Chills and Spills on a Snowy Commute...

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Chills and Spills on a Snowy Commute...

Old 11-20-22, 07:24 AM
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BobbyG
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Chills and Spills on a Snowy Commute...

Here are the highlights from Friday's snowy commute through central Colorado Springs.

It was powdery by the house, but icy downtown. There's a stretch where the bike lane is to the left of the right turn lane and the markings were obscured, so I took the sidewalk. Being a new job, I hadn't ridden the last mile and a half in deep snow before and was surprised by the dips by some storm drains hidden by the snow. I also missed the turn into America the Beautiful Park due to the blanket of snow and some inattentiveness.

The big event was a minor fall. My first fall in snow since getting studded snow tires seven years ago. While the city does plow this path, they hadn't yet, and after the last underpass there is a sweeping uphill curve that leads up to the street my office is on. Because that part of the path is new to me and was covered in 3 inches of new snow I couldn't find it, so I followed a trail of fresh foot prints up a grassy embankment and on the way up the bike slid out from under me. No big deal, but it landed the trigger for my AirZound Airhorn and broke the handlebar mount. I later swapped it out with the one on my folder which is currently out of commission.

Earlier in the ride (not on the video) I was surprised at a cross street by an SUV coming from the left, and locked up my brakes for a second. The studs dug in enough and I came to a quick stop on the ice. I had already slowed to about 6 mph to look for traffic. This was a quiet intersection I have traversed for 23 years. The cross street does not have a stop sign so I always look for traffic. But on the video replay I noticed that a bush had grown large enough to create a blind spot all the to within two car lengths of the corner. I will be more careful in the future.

It was 12F with no wind for both legs of the commute, the coldest since my involuntary 18-month break from commuting. Now in my 30th year of bike commuting I found that remembered how to dress for it with no issues. I was warm, but not too hot and grateful to still be able to bike to work, just two months shy of 61.


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Old 11-20-22, 08:14 PM
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sam21fire
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Yeah, I notice that it takes a couple of rides when snow season starts (Green Bay WI) to get my snow/ice skills retuned, and to get used to the studs again. After that it's just fun.
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Old 11-23-22, 08:46 AM
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to quote my previous Russian / American neighbors, who have since moved, who commented on my returning home from work on my bike, one wintery/snowy day: "you are Hero"

curious spot for a fall. didn't look off camber

cpl questions for you
- how many minutes is the commute each way. I ask because that's pretty darn cold
- what are your thoughts on tire width?

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Old 11-24-22, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
...curious spot for a fall. didn't look off camber...
I know, right?

The main two routes are 6 and 6.5 miles with other longer options. This one is 6 miles. In the dry it's 25 min in and 30 home. But with the snow tires at 25psi for loose snow and then the loose snow it was 35 in and 45 home. The old job was 9 miles and rice times were 50% longer.

I don't know the relative merits of different tire widths in the snow. Before these 26x 1.65 tires I hadn't ridden in snow in 20 years. Back then I had 26x2.25 knobbies which handled the snow okay but not the ice although I didn't know about using lower tire pressure back then.

As far as the cold temperature, it's usually very dry here in Colorado Springs and at 6500' it doesn't feel so cold. When I visit Chicago in the winter I am reminded just how much coldness moist, thick air adds.
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Old 11-24-22, 11:09 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
As far as the cold temperature, it's usually very dry here in Colorado Springs and at 6500' it doesn't feel so cold. When I visit Chicago in the winter I am reminded just how much coldness moist, thick air adds.
how interesting
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Old 11-25-22, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Earlier in the ride (not on the video) I was surprised at a cross street by an SUV coming from the left, and locked up my brakes for a second. The studs dug in enough and I came to a quick stop on the ice. I had already slowed to about 6 mph to look for traffic. This was a quiet intersection I have traversed for 23 years. The cross street does not have a stop sign so I always look for traffic. But on the video replay I noticed that a bush had grown large enough to create a blind spot all the to within two car lengths of the corner. I will be more careful in the future.
Report it to the city as a hazard; hopefully they'll trim it back.
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Old 12-01-22, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I don't know the relative merits of different tire widths in the snow. Before these 26x 1.65 tires I hadn't ridden in snow in 20 years. Back then I had 26x2.25 knobbies which handled the snow okay but not the ice although I didn't know about using lower tire pressure back then.
I asked because I have 2 bikes that get studded tires in the winter. 1 gets wider tires than the other

aside from width, I consider tread depth & width, I guess. I had a cpl falls last winter, where the tread got compacted with snow, rendering the studs useless. was thinking the MTB should get more aggressive studded tires w/ larger voids, this year. of course staying off fresh powder, over flat ice, would be smart too. but it's like when I'm out in a storm, that little conscience / intuition gets ignored. as-in "hey you might fall on that stuff" & I either delete that note or the gambler in me says "eh, so what?"
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