Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

How do you do it???

Old 03-06-08, 07:42 PM
  #26  
Hezz
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Originally Posted by Bdaisies View Post
I've been commuting by bike for about 3 years now, but never in the winter. This winter had just been brutal, and I was sort of tired of walking or taking the bus. I took my bike out yesterday, and it was snowing a little and pretty cold, but I felt really good about it. I knew there was going to be some snow today but I didn't think it was going to be this brutal. My daily ride isn't even 3km one way. I have a Kona Hahanna mountain bike. Not even half way there, where the snow plows failed, so did I. I walked my bike the rest of the way, and even that was a chore. I just could not keep traction and control was weak.

While I was walking down the street, some other cyclist on a road bike (I think) just flew right by me.

I have so much respect and envy for winter cyclists. I wish i could do it, but i guess it's not for me.

Here's my bike via cellphone. LOLz.
In additions to all the good advice you have been given it also comes down to fitness. Riding 3km each way in good weather may not be enough riding to get you fit enough for the harder winter riding. Unless you are sprinting at maximum effort twice a day. Try riding some 20-40 km rides a couple of times a week when the weather is good to prepare yourself for the rigours of winter riding. If you don't have time for longer rides, then sprint the short commute everyday at close to maximum effort (when the roads are dry) to get in better condition.

You can also try putting on the widest tires that will fit on your bike. 2.5 - 3 inches wide and run them at twenty pounds pressure. This will help give you more traction for less money. Also, when it is really bad you might just try running to work on the sidewalk with those small shoe chains to keep from sliding.

Last edited by Hezz; 03-06-08 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 03-10-08, 08:39 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Bdaisies View Post
Got my fenders put on today by my bike shop. Found out that the guy I saw ride past me worked at the shop and helped me out with the fenders (and new blinky LED lights) on my ride. He told me that it was really tough for him and he found himself having to actually ride in the middle of the road most of the time. I bet he was going faster than most of the cars on that road.

I'm now safe and dry for the rest of this awful winter, but i'm not going to be riding anymore snowy streets like that.
Good plan! Ofcouse you picked one heck of a week to start looking into Winter riding. I rode to work fine on Friday morning. The winter storm warning did not go into affect till 4:00 PM that day. There have been plenty of times when the bad weather hit later than expected so I figure I'd leave work a little early. No go. By 9:30 AM there were white-out conditions, and snow was starting to stick. By early afternoon we already had a few inches of snow on the ground and the roads were being plowed, but still a mess. I ended up taking my wife's offer and was picked up and had to leave the bike behind. The weather was supposed to clear by mid day Saturday... but that turned out to be optimistic. By Friday night we'd already received 8", by morning there was an other 8" and the snow continued on till Sunday morning. In total we got 25" (about 64 cm). I was very glad that I had to quality snow tires on the car as well because they were put to good use this weekend. Amazingly the roads were pretty much clear from curb to curb by Sunday afternoon, but some family issues prevented my from being dropped of at work and riding home. This was the single biggest snow fall of the entire winter and set new records each day. Sure I could have legally driven home on Friday night, but for me it was not worth the risk. Staying upright on thick snow with traffic all-around is not my idea of a fun ride. At least the remainder of the week is looking much better. I hope you get dug out of your snow quickly as well. The side streets in the city of Buffalo are a mess today, but it is much harder to find places to put snow in the city than in the suburbs.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 03-10-08, 06:21 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by andrelam View Post
Good plan! Ofcouse you picked one heck of a week to start looking into Winter riding.
I know! But I was honestly so bored and tired of public transit/walking every day. The weather did tease us earlier on in the week though.

I got my bike home from leaving it at work all weekend because of the storm. The major streets were pretty much snow free, I just had to deal with patches of slush, pot holes and deep puddles... yay new fenders! I took my bike down the unplowed side streets where traffic's packed snow down and I was really surprised how well I did. I also took the advice of lots of you and dropped my tire pressure down a bit and it made a huge difference. I was even able to take slushed and icy tire treads. I took it slow and the only danger I faced were cars pulling out of their driveways too quickly without hesitating to look if there was anyone around. If I had been going much faster I would run into them. This happened twice.
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Old 03-10-08, 06:31 PM
  #29  
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Studs are critical for ice. I've now been through two winters in Anchorage using Nokian Freddies and haven't fallen once. As long as you watch your speed there won't be any problems with falling down. For moderate depth fresh snow I actually increase the PSI in my tires. This allows them to sink through and get traction on the ice. The bike then moves through the snow like it isn't even there. You can't do this later in the season when the snow gets all nasty and sticky, though.
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Old 03-11-08, 10:38 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Bdaisies View Post
If I had been going much faster I would run into them. This happened twice.
This seems to happen a lot with me during the winter or at night. I think motorists just aren't expecting to see bikes during the "off season" so when they see one it doesn't register with them.
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Old 03-17-08, 03:00 AM
  #31  
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I have been riding for many years now in the winter. And what is said is more than correct. The time to START riding in the winter is actually as early as possible. Of course there are those times that even I don't venture out and attempt to ride.

There is one person that I am aware of here that is even more hard-core than I am. He is a Professor at the University here. He has been riding to and from class here for the better part of 30-some years. He has never missed a day when the University has been open. The newspaper here does a story on him every now and then. Amazing man as he's the better part of 80. One has to be impressed with that sort of tenacity!!!!!
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Old 05-21-08, 12:11 AM
  #32  
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any ROADIES ride in the winter?

if so...what is necessary? this may be my first winter riding coming up this winter and I only own a road bike...can't really afford a new bike right now.

Is it even possible?
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Old 05-22-08, 04:50 AM
  #33  
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I've been winter bicycling for years in Calgary. The most frequent question I get is
"Do you have chains for that?" and my most frequent answer is "No, but I have a really
nice snow plow just 2 inches wide. Go anywhere." My ideal commuting tire, winter and
summer is the old 27 X 1 1/4 which is narrow enough to cut through snow easily, and
wide enough to still have a little bounce or cushioned suspension effect.

I don't even like the idea of studs and do pay for it with an average of 1 thump into
the pavement a winter, but these have always been at low speeds and have never
had any broken bones or even any serious sore spots. (I did just cross 60 years old
btw.) If I can see the ice I am now really comfortable riding on it but it is the times
that it is out of sight under the snow that get me. I do commute quite early in the
morning which avoids most of the traffic.

I also don't use any exotic gear. You learn by experience too. Just keep riding and
leave enough time so that if you do have to push the bike to werk you can still make
it on time, and you pick up little bits of understanding as you go along.
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Old 05-22-08, 08:42 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by Trufance View Post
any ROADIES ride in the winter?

if so...what is necessary? this may be my first winter riding coming up this winter and I only own a road bike...can't really afford a new bike right now.

Is it even possible?


No. Not possible at all!

My primary bike (the Trek Portland, above) is halfway between a cross bike and a touring bike. Only bike nuts (like us) don't know it's not a "pure" road bike and that my "skinny" tires are actually 35mm studded snows. I was delighted this winter that was able to ride my fair-weather bike at least twice a month. (That bike only goes out when it's dry.)

I ride once a week through the winter with a bunch who show up on anything with two wheels. If it's icy, the fixie kids stay home. MTBers look at me and another guy (on an old Bridgestone) rather oddly, but we stay upright and I'm able to chase them down off-road if there's less than six inches on the ground.

In city riding without studded tires, I'd be concerned only with ice and hardpack. Wet and slush are no problem. Here that means maybe losing a day after a heavy snow, and staying off the side streets. Perhaps more important are fenders. They keep the bike a lot cleaner.

Last edited by tsl; 05-22-08 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 05-23-08, 06:12 AM
  #35  
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It depends on the snow. Years ago, my normal bike was down and I rode my wife's road bike to work. On the way home, there were 2" - 3" of fresh, wet snow. Surprise! The narrow tires cut right down theough the stuff to the pavement and it was a easy ride home. The rim brakes, lack of fenders and chain protection, and riding position made it less than ideal, but it worked quite well.

Packed snow would require knobbies. Ice would require studs. However, thin slicks in wet snow were fine.

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Old 08-12-08, 02:30 PM
  #36  
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I wouldn't consider it too big an affront, as a pedestrian, if someone rode their bike on the sidewalk after a snowfall. I do it all the time!

Seriously, cramming yourself onto a non-plowed street, competing with cars, in my opinion is foolish. This when the other biking option is to safely meander down a rutless sidewalk saying "excuse me" to the extremely sparse pedestrian population.
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