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Fellow Twin Cities people: who's riding tomorrow?

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Fellow Twin Cities people: who's riding tomorrow?

Old 12-09-12, 05:48 PM
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PennyTheDog
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Fellow Twin Cities people: who's riding tomorrow?

This is my first year trying to commute all winter. But I'm feeling a little unsure about tomorrow (we had somewhere between 8 and 12 inches of snow today). How many people here wait for the roads to clear after a storm like that? Do any of you winter veterans have any last minute advice about how to make it safer? My commute's about 10 miles each way, and my tires are knobby 32 mm (non-studded).
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Old 12-09-12, 06:01 PM
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yaah.. Can't wait! I was rear ended while driving last week, so driving to the body shop with bike in car, then riding from there. This will be a much longer commute tomorrow. Where I am, they plow the main roads first then get to the shoulders later. Stay lit up and be safe out there tomorrow!
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Old 12-09-12, 08:03 PM
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It was pretty slushy in places today, so I'm guessing tomorrow will be a bit icy--probably with ice ruts, which are hands down my least favorite bit of winter commuting. You may want to invest in a studded tire for the front of your bike, it will give you better control and WILL stop you from crashing on ice. The shoulders and bikelanes will be full of plowed up snow, so you will have to ride out in the auto lane for at least part of your ride. Be sure you are well illuminated and are checking behind you from time to time.

Remember that for many drivers this is the first real nasty stuff they've driven in, so many will not be driving well. Watch for cars coming through stop lights and red lights. Watch your ass at stoplights. Again, don't be shy (but do be cautious) about taking and commanding the lane.

Also, unless you have disc or hub brakes, or kool-stop brake pads, you will probably have a lot less stopping power than you are used to. Not only will your rims be getting wet with road gunk and snow, but your brakes may get all gunked up as you ride along. Periodically cleaning out the calipers as you go may help a little, but, again, if you are running rim brakes just remember your brakes will be less effective and possibly erratic (i.e. they may slip on part of your rim and grab hard on another).

10 miles is pretty far, so give yourself plenty of time to get where you are going, and remember you have the option of sticking your bike on the bus for part of your ride.

Good luck! I'll be out, but I don't have to ride no 20 miles!

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Old 12-09-12, 10:07 PM
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I am pondering whether I'll ride or not as well - I'd better make up my mind quick. Tomorrow is going to be COLD, which means all this slushy snow is going to freeze up hard as a rock, and very slippery in places. Really depends on where your commute is - MPLS is good about getting the bike paths cleared asap. Other cities, not so much. One minor snowstorm last winter turned my hour and a half commute into a three hour marathon. Eagan had the roads plowed, but the walking paths were not rideable. It made for a good workout, and a memorable commute. 10 miles should be doable by tomorrow. Highly recommend fenders and studded tires. Go for it!!

Tom
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Old 12-10-12, 12:05 AM
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Went for a little test ride tonight. Aside from our alley, - which hadn't bin plowed yet, it wasn't too bad. I'm guessing most roads will be passable by morning. The wind and cold will be nasty however.
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Old 12-10-12, 07:48 AM
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My commute of 23 miles was too long through too many municipalities to even consider it without knowing the full-length conditions. I'd have had to walk/carry my bike a quarter mile to get to a plowed street. Of course, sitting here at work, I have the "should I have tried it???" thought looping through my mind. But given a normal, cold winter day can extend that commute to two hours without this, uh, snow event, I'm not beating myself up over having driven. :-)
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Old 12-10-12, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MNBikeCommuter View Post
My commute of 23 miles was too long through too many municipalities to even consider it without knowing the full-length conditions. I'd have had to walk/carry my bike a quarter mile to get to a plowed street. Of course, sitting here at work, I have the "should I have tried it???" thought looping through my mind. But given a normal, cold winter day can extend that commute to two hours without this, uh, snow event, I'm not beating myself up over having driven. :-)
23 miles is a long way in the winter even if the roads/paths are plowed. I wouldn't have done it.

My 6 mile commute wasn't too bad. It still took about 50 minutes. All the paths were plowed reasonably well except along the river road. For some reason it always takes them longer to get to that. I tried it for about 1/2 mile then gave up and got on the road. It was taking way too long.
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Old 12-10-12, 11:07 AM
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Weeell, I did it. There were a couple slightly sketchy moments. By the end I felt like I had a better feel for turning and braking though. I'm hoping it will be a little clearer by tonight. How much difference would studded tires make in weather like this? How many of you use those?
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Old 12-10-12, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
Weeell, I did it. There were a couple slightly sketchy moments. By the end I felt like I had a better feel for turning and braking though. I'm hoping it will be a little clearer by tonight. How much difference would studded tires make in weather like this? How many of you use those?
I use them. They help quite a lot on the icy stuff. They don't make any difference at all in snow unless the studs can dig down to something they can get some traction on, - like ice or hardpack.

Like a lot of winter days today was a mix. There was some deeper snow in places and studs don't help there. There were icy areas where they helped a lot.

For snow, deep tread blocks with wide spaces in between are the best. Debates rage over skinny tires vs wide ones. Each works better depending on the conditions.
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Old 12-10-12, 11:56 AM
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Me. Today (and all weekend actually) it was fat tire conditions. Tomorrow it might be a studded skinny tire bike day. Depends on how cleared up the roads and paths get. To be honest I'll probably ride fat again tomorrow.

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Old 12-10-12, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
Me. Today (and all weekend actually) it was fat tire conditions. Tomorrow it might be a studded skinny tire bike day. Depends on how cleared up the roads and paths get. To be honest I'll probably ride fat again tomorrow.

Would have liked one of those today. Love the fenders.
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Old 12-10-12, 01:10 PM
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Hey, I know that spot!

Originally Posted by modernjess View Post
Me. Today (and all weekend actually) it was fat tire conditions. Tomorrow it might be a studded skinny tire bike day. Depends on how cleared up the roads and paths get. To be honest I'll probably ride fat again tomorrow.

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Old 12-10-12, 04:49 PM
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Prudence dictates I stay off the bike in these conditions. The frozen ruts and potholes in the compacted snow are too much for me. I'll be on MetroTransit till the conditions improve.
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Old 12-10-12, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by PennyTheDog View Post
Weeell, I did it. There were a couple slightly sketchy moments. By the end I felt like I had a better feel for turning and braking though. I'm hoping it will be a little clearer by tonight. How much difference would studded tires make in weather like this? How many of you use those?
I was really happy I had my front studded tire. The roads I rode had pretty good sizes ice/packed snow ridges. And when I hit bridge #9, I wasn't worried at all about the hill or the ice at the end of the bridge.

Nice job on riding today!
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Old 12-10-12, 07:35 PM
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I got a ride with my spouse, and took advantage of that to haul home some stuff too bulky for the bike. I seem not to have the strength to push through a foot of unplowed snow. Tuesday, when the plows have been out and the temperature is low, I'll be cruising on that hard-packed snow with my studs.
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Old 12-10-12, 10:52 PM
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Well, I rode today as well. Probably not the smartest thing I've done, but made it home in one piece. Had to hike across the Mendota bridge. I'm doubtful some of the trails will be clear by tomorrow - maybe Wednesday. I'm thinking the trails will get worse before they get better, as more of the snow turns to icy ruts. My studded tires saved me many times. Looking down some of the trails with my headlight, it looked like a skating rink. I have to figure out something for my feet - leather hiking boots and two pair of socks are not cutting it. The rest of me was warm, but I could not feel my toes!

On the plus side, I pretty much had the trails to myself.
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Old 12-11-12, 12:58 AM
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I freaking miss the Twin Cities. I really wanna move back there.

*sigh*
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Old 12-11-12, 01:27 AM
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Me too. Four months.
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Old 12-17-12, 10:00 AM
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I was finally back in the commuting saddle this morning after taking last week off. Roads just don't clear up quickly in Dec. All was fine coming through St. Paul and along the rivers until I got to the I494 bridge across the MN River valley. The bike path had been plowed as of last Fri, but I think MnDOT cleaned up the shoulders over the weekend and it all ended up on the path. And then froze solid. I ended up walking across the 3/4 mile bridge, not too happy.

So if any Twin Cities cyclists want a challenge or experiment, try riding across it and let me know how you did. My winter commuter is an old '95 'dale hybrid with studded tires. It was a struggle to maintain walking speed. What I'm interested in is how a front suspension bike would do, a full suspension bike, and a Pugs/Moonwalker.

And what are streets like in Richfield/Mpls--roughly from the Maul of America to Minnehaha park where I can pick up the river trail?
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