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What is it like where you are?

Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

What is it like where you are?

Old 01-04-16, 08:22 PM
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Jan 4th in Minneapolis. It has been mid to low 20Fs and today was quite sunny. Normally around this time of year we would have at least a foot of snow and temps far closer to 0.

I decided not to buy studded tires for my new bike this year ('16 Cannondale Bad Boy 3) and just keep my old mtb junker (The Sh!tgoose) around since it has 26in studs. Since the only snow we have has long since melted from surfaces other than grass (and paths in the shade) this has turned out to be a good decision. There have been a few icy spots and thus a few sphincter pucker moments, but no falls. *knock on carbon*

Having winter hold off a bit has been awesome for riding and easier to get acclimated. Often I struggle going from warm autumn clothing straight to frigid winter clothing because I tend to want to be warm when I first walk outside... this is a mistake! Its best to be cold at first and allow the exercise to warm you up. I am rarely cold on rides even when we get into negative numbers but I am routinely overheated and that just sucks. So, being able to experiment with layers has been great this year.

The forecast calls for mid 30s for this week and then single digits next week. I am hoping that long-term forecast is crap but, really, the cold is overdue.
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Old 01-07-16, 04:56 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
We have a "Where Do We Live?" thread, which we can continue posting to as well ...
http://www.bikeforums.net/living-car...o-we-live.html
But for this thread, I'm thinking more in terms of weather, environmental conditions, road surfaces, etc. to describe your local area.
What is it like where you are?
Does it affect your ability to be car-free or car-light?
Does it have an effect on your cycling?
To answer your question simply: Varied. In the summer (as you and Rowan discovered), summers are quite hot, with temps easily getting up into the mid, to high 30s (95F and up) and in the winter can drop as low as -20, though the average is around -5 to -15C. (-4F and the average is 28f to 15F). Winds can be quite strong and are mostly out of the west (most of the time), south, or east. My hometown is mostly located in a valley bottom and that makes getting to some places a challenge because they are "up the hill". Transit is available and all busses have bike racks (though some drivers don't like cyclists and, on very rare occasions, will take off before a cyclist can retrieve their bike.) Street surfaces vary from half decent, to deteriorated. Pathways, where they exist, are in a similar condition and may, or may not be paved.

For me, it's perfectly feasible to be vehicle light. Most of the places I need to go, C.O. beach included, are in cycling range, though in summer, it's best to do your running around in the morning before it gets too hot. Even where I work now (no longer doing traffic control, AKA, flagging), people commute by bike, BMX included.
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Old 01-07-16, 05:03 PM
  #28  
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I am a couple hours West of Ottawa and it is right around freezing right now. We took the dogs for a walk on some logging roads this afternoon and the snow was hardpacked and slippery(from heavy equipment and the temperature dropping from just above 0 to just below). We had no snow until a major dump on the 28th of Dec, which is odd. And we are expecting warm temps and rain this weekend, so XC skiing might be on hiatus for a while.
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Old 01-08-16, 03:20 PM
  #29  
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Originally Posted by Fargo Wolf View Post
To answer your question simply: Varied. In the summer (as you and Rowan discovered), summers are quite hot, with temps easily getting up into the mid, to high 30s (95F and up) and in the winter can drop as low as -20, though the average is around -5 to -15C. (-4F and the average is 28f to 15F). Winds can be quite strong and are mostly out of the west (most of the time), south, or east. My hometown is mostly located in a valley bottom and that makes getting to some places a challenge because they are "up the hill". Transit is available and all busses have bike racks (though some drivers don't like cyclists and, on very rare occasions, will take off before a cyclist can retrieve their bike.) Street surfaces vary from half decent, to deteriorated. Pathways, where they exist, are in a similar condition and may, or may not be paved.

For me, it's perfectly feasible to be vehicle light. Most of the places I need to go, C.O. beach included, are in cycling range, though in summer, it's best to do your running around in the morning before it gets too hot. Even where I work now (no longer doing traffic control, AKA, flagging), people commute by bike, BMX included.
Your part of the world came as a surprise to me when I first visited in August of about 1975. It was hot as hell, and the apricots were just getting ripe. I always associated them with California and even warmer climates, and was surprised to find that it was so warm--and dry--in southern B.C. My sister lived in Nelson for many years, so I was lucky to spend a lot of time in the region.
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Old 01-08-16, 03:49 PM
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In West Palm Beach Florida winter is the best time to ride. We get temperatures around 70 degrees every day and there are a lot of cyclists here. We also have a good network of road lanes, specially near A1A right next to the ocean. Weekends it's bike heaven by the water. We also surprisingly have a great availability to well kept off-road bike trails. I ride both. I do road biking every morning and off-road trail riding on the weekends. On some Saturdays I road bike in the morning, and shred the trails in the afternoon. It is truly a great place, if you don't mind not having huge mountains to climb.
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Old 01-08-16, 06:28 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by deex View Post
In West Palm Beach Florida winter is the best time to ride. We get temperatures around 70 degrees every day and there are a lot of cyclists here. We also have a good network of road lanes, specially near A1A right next to the ocean. Weekends it's bike heaven by the water. We also surprisingly have a great availability to well kept off-road bike trails. I ride both. I do road biking every morning and off-road trail riding on the weekends. On some Saturdays I road bike in the morning, and shred the trails in the afternoon. It is truly a great place, if you don't mind not having huge mountains to climb.
Lucky dog.
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Old 01-12-16, 10:05 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Some fleece type gloves with Thinsulate added should serve you well, are lightweight, and not too expensive. They will not be waterproof, however.
Someone told me that you can put latex gloves over knit gloves to keep the wind/cold from getting through the weave of the knit. I tried that this morning at a few degrees below freezing and it is a bad idea. I think by compressing the knit gloves, the latex gloves actually caused more heat conduction through the gloves. Tomorrow it's back to double-layering knit/gardening gloves. Maybe I'll try the latex as an inner layer so they don't compress the outer gloves.
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Old 01-12-16, 10:55 AM
  #33  
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We had a very warm and snowless December. We started having variable cold and snow flurries about a week ago, including a modest snowfall last night that slowed traffic a bit today. Around last New Years (a year ago) we were having a record cold spell. There's a bit of light snow coming down today. Toronto has a weird lake effect that typically gives us much less snow than areas around us, including Buffalo, NY, just south of us.
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Old 01-12-16, 08:47 PM
  #34  
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Live in California, near Disneyland, it's very nice weather around here. I only recently bought a bike and begun to commute by it, so I've yet to see how different the weather will feel while riding. I hate the cold, so sometime I prefer staying in doors, but most of the time the weather is good enough for riding.
The drivers here don't really like bikes on the road with them from what I've seen, but are attentive and not to aggressive; although I'v learned drivers all follow their own set of rules most of the time. Depending on where you ride the roads might be real smooth or a complete mess.
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Old 01-12-16, 10:43 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by xipil View Post
Live in California, near Disneyland, it's very nice weather around here. I only recently bought a bike and begun to commute by it, so I've yet to see how different the weather will feel while riding. I hate the cold, so sometime I prefer staying in doors, but most of the time the weather is good enough for riding.
The drivers here don't really like bikes on the road with them from what I've seen, but are attentive and not to aggressive; although I'v learned drivers all follow their own set of rules most of the time. Depending on where you ride the roads might be real smooth or a complete mess.
Hey, welcome! I lived in Fullerton for a year, and rode my bike all over the place around Orange County. The wide shoulders on the roads were really nice (as was the weather). Other than the high traffic speeds, I thought the area was a great place to commute and just ride in general - I hope you enjoy your time on the road!
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Old 01-13-16, 11:25 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
We had a very warm and snowless December. We started having variable cold and snow flurries about a week ago, including a modest snowfall last night that slowed traffic a bit today. Around last New Years (a year ago) we were having a record cold spell. There's a bit of light snow coming down today. Toronto has a weird lake effect that typically gives us much less snow than areas around us, including Buffalo, NY, just south of us.
Usually, December is the big month for lake effect snow here, but this season it was postponed by El Nino to January. Of course, the lake effect never stops totally unless Lake Michigan freezes over totally. Right now, we are getting two or three inches a day, but that adds up pretty quickly on a daily basis. (Of course we also get the normal snow storm systems that everybody else gets, such as eight inches on Monday-Tuesday.)

When it comes to lake effect snow, Grand Rapids, just 60 miles to the west, gets a hell of a lot more snow than we do here in Lansing. We're about as far inland as you can get in Michigan, but the entire state can be affected by strong winds blowing over the unfrozen Great Lakes.

The snow gets packed down on the streets, and cleared off of major roads. With studded tires, I can safely ride on about 90% of the days, but it can be a little dicey on the other 10%. Walking is a much bigger challenge due to slippery sidewalks and huge snow berms on the road edges. The bus runs real well, although there can be delays during major snow storms.
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Old 01-13-16, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wipekitty View Post
Hey, welcome! I lived in Fullerton for a year, and rode my bike all over the place around Orange County. The wide shoulders on the roads were really nice (as was the weather). Other than the high traffic speeds, I thought the area was a great place to commute and just ride in general - I hope you enjoy your time on the road!
Thank you for the welcome. Enjoying the ride is easy over here, there's just not much to hate.
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Old 01-13-16, 04:59 PM
  #38  
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The word to describe the conditions this week is: variable.

Tuesday's high was 18°C
Wednesday's high was 34°C
Today's high is supposed to be 17°C

We rarely string together two 30 degree days in a row down here.
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Old 01-17-16, 05:44 AM
  #39  
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Hot, a bit humid ... and smoky. We've got a lot of bushfires on the island just now.
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Old 01-17-16, 11:20 AM
  #40  
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I live in a suburb of Los Angeles. It is a great place to ride. I'm in the north of L.A. county, close to the Ventura County line. The streets are wide, there are many bike lanes, and anything I want is within convenient cycling distance, I never have to go into L.A. There is a huge and vibrant cycling community and, of course, the weather is fabulous. I can get to the ocean via bicycle almost as fast as driving on a dirt trail where cars are not allowed. The Santa Monica Mountains are near and they are true mountains, terrific for road and mountain biking.

The perplexing thing is that there are very few commuters. Mostly what I see are recreational cyclists on carbon fiber road bikes in lycra. Cyclingwise it is very provincial, for examples, rarely do I see a fixie and many cyclists don't know what a gravel bike or a Plus bike is.
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Old 01-17-16, 11:25 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
Many cyclists don't know what a gravel bike or a Plus bike is.
Neither do I. Could you fill me in, please.
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Old 01-17-16, 03:05 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
Neither do I. Could you fill me in, please.
Ha ha. : )) There is a gravel bike forum here on BikeForums. It's basically a road bike with lots of tire clearance and disc brakes, made for riding dirt roads as opposed to singletrack. A Plus bike is a mountain bike with 3" tires. A 3" tire is twice as big as the typical MTB tire. The frame and fork are made to accomodate the larger tire, they won't fit on an ordinary MTB. There are also fatbikes that have 26" wheels and 4 to 5" tires. Plus bikes come in 26, 27.5, and 29" wheels.

My 29 Plus bike.



My gravel bike in the process of receiving some upside down north road bars, and with road tires.



Fatbike.

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Old 01-17-16, 03:21 PM
  #43  
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Very cool! Thanks.
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Old 01-17-16, 04:11 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
I live in a suburb of Los Angeles. It is a great place to ride. I'm in the north of L.A. county, close to the Ventura County line. The streets are wide, there are many bike lanes, and anything I want is within convenient cycling distance, I never have to go into L.A. There is a huge and vibrant cycling community and, of course, the weather is fabulous. I can get to the ocean via bicycle almost as fast as driving on a dirt trail where cars are not allowed. The Santa Monica Mountains are near and they are true mountains, terrific for road and mountain biking.

The perplexing thing is that there are very few commuters. Mostly what I see are recreational cyclists on carbon fiber road bikes in lycra. Cyclingwise it is very provincial, for examples, rarely do I see a fixie and many cyclists don't know what a gravel bike or a Plus bike is.
Sherman Oaks, North Hills, Pacoima, San Frenando maybe Chatsworth you might find a Fixed gear community but not so much for cities up PCH or 101 between Calabasas and Thousand Oaks. There are some big Road bike clubs up there. Lots of hills and the trip down PCH from Oxnard to Redondo is epic for Bike clubs.

By by the time you get into LA you see a lot more Fixies and they show up in Long Beach a lot. I see a lot more Gravel Grinders off the 118 freeway from Simi Valley to Pamona.

I will ill heading out to Palm Springs this weekend and it should be packed with all kinds of bikes from bents to race teams on the newest bikes made of unobtainium and sporting Di2 and E-tap SRAM. Might be a few Velomobilies as well. The weather is supposed to be in the high 60s to low 70s with a light wind so it should be a nice time for a ride.
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Old 01-17-16, 04:54 PM
  #45  
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11F, -5 wind chill. Dusting of snow left on the grass.

Roads have potholes & cracks, no biggie and no surprise, it's NE Indiana.

This city allows sidewalk riding -- mainly, I'm guessing, since only about 12 people WALK on them anywhere. I take advantage of that, especially now with my reduced capacity.
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Old 01-17-16, 06:52 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Sherman Oaks, North Hills, Pacoima, San Frenando maybe Chatsworth you might find a Fixed gear community but not so much for cities up PCH or 101 between Calabasas and Thousand Oaks. There are some big Road bike clubs up there. Lots of hills and the trip down PCH from Oxnard to Redondo is epic for Bike clubs.

By by the time you get into LA you see a lot more Fixies and they show up in Long Beach a lot. I see a lot more Gravel Grinders off the 118 freeway from Simi Valley to Pamona.

I will ill heading out to Palm Springs this weekend and it should be packed with all kinds of bikes from bents to race teams on the newest bikes made of unobtainium and sporting Di2 and E-tap SRAM. Might be a few Velomobilies as well. The weather is supposed to be in the high 60s to low 70s with a light wind so it should be a nice time for a ride.
I call the Conejo Valley the great fixie desert. I went to CycLAvia and there were 15000 fixies. The people riding carbon fiber and racing dudz really looked like geeks in that setting.
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Old 01-17-16, 08:35 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
I call the Conejo Valley the great fixie desert. I went to CycLAvia and there were 15000 fixies. The people riding carbon fiber and racing dudz really looked like geeks in that setting.
Yes, if you are riding CicLAvia you sure don't need a CF drop bar. Lots of fixed gear, some with hipsters attached. Flat bars, cruisers, low rider bikes, even a tall bike now and then. You just need to be able to dodge the skaters, walkers and dancers as you cruise along.

Head west to PCH anywhere between Long Beach and Dana Point and it looks like the TDF or Vuelta on the same day. I was in Huntington on the First when they had the Masters Club ride to Dana Point and they started with 500 riders in one group. Looked like the lead group was down to 25-35 by the time they got back to Newport.
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Old 01-17-16, 09:17 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Yes, if you are riding CicLAvia you sure don't need a CF drop bar. Lots of fixed gear, some with hipsters attached. Flat bars, cruisers, low rider bikes, even a tall bike now and then. You just need to be able to dodge the skaters, walkers and dancers as you cruise along.

Head west to PCH anywhere between Long Beach and Dana Point and it looks like the TDF or Vuelta on the same day. I was in Huntington on the First when they had the Masters Club ride to Dana Point and they started with 500 riders in one group. Looked like the lead group was down to 25-35 by the time they got back to Newport.
I grew up behind the Orange Curtain in the 60s and 70s. I started surfing in 1965 at Huntington Beach before there were shortboards.

I don't recall ever seeing a roadie. I was only vaguely aware of serious cyclists.

I remember an incident in the late 70s. I stopped at a fruit stand on PCH. A guy pulls up, jumps out of his car, grabs a tomato, and smashes it in the face of a passing roadie.
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Old 01-17-16, 09:55 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
I grew up behind the Orange Curtain in the 60s and 70s. I started surfing in 1965 at Huntington Beach before there were shortboards.

I don't recall ever seeing a roadie. I was only vaguely aware of serious cyclists.

I remember an incident in the late 70s. I stopped at a fruit stand on PCH. A guy pulls up, jumps out of his car, grabs a tomato, and smashes it in the face of a passing roadie.
Not many fruit stands on PCH any more. Not many orange groves in the OC either. But there are lots of bike clubs and lots of organized rides up and down the coast. The SART looks like a training course most weekends and STRAVA has turned the run from Ocean Side to Mission Bay into one giant Pace Line. The La Jolla hill/ Torry Pines grade is a Segment and everyone seems to hammer it.

I grew row up in the OC and I hardly recognize it anymore. You only see beach cruisers on the Huntington strip down by the sand.
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Old 01-17-16, 11:40 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Not many fruit stands on PCH any more. Not many orange groves in the OC either. But there are lots of bike clubs and lots of organized rides up and down the coast. The SART looks like a training course most weekends and STRAVA has turned the run from Ocean Side to Mission Bay into one giant Pace Line. The La Jolla hill/ Torry Pines grade is a Segment and everyone seems to hammer it.

I grew row up in the OC and I hardly recognize it anymore. You only see beach cruisers on the Huntington strip down by the sand.
When I moved to OC there were orange groves and eucalyptus everywhere. There are vast areas in Ventura County that still have them, within striking distance from where I live.

Lots of people ride PCH up here too but the thing is there's much more interesting places to ride here, all the canyons and mountains.
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