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First winter crash

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First winter crash

Old 12-05-04, 05:02 PM
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CommuterKat
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First winter crash

[rant]So, this is my first winter on a bike and this past Friday, I had the pleasure of riding in the snow for the very first time. I was pretty excited to try it out, and the snow was making everything so pretty, I felt like I could conquer the world. I left work with the intention of riding down a pretty steep hill to catch a bus that goes out to near where I live. I turned down the aforementioned hill and proceeded to blow by tons of cars stopped as their tires spun on the snow. I thought I was handling everything pretty well, when I came upon a city bus stopped at an intersection. I couldn't quite figure out why it was stopped, so I went up beside it with plans to go around and on down the hill when I saw the front tires sliding....
I then decided to really display my brilliance and go around the bus and on down the hill which was clear of traffic in my lane as it was totally blocked by the SLIDING BUS... I went about 10-20 feet further when my front tire went out from under me... My right knee went down hard into the road, my left pedal went into my left calf, and my hands and chest splayed out superman style as my head pointed down the hill. I slid for about a half a block with folks in cars in the uphill lane getting a front row seat to my whole show the entire time. When I finally came to a rest, about three people came running over yelling to ask if I was ok... I got up, picked up the bike, and a stray water bottle and laughed it off, only to notice that I could barely walk as I had hit my right knee so hard.

So, the moral of my story is.... Never, never, never think you have the upper-hand with mother nature in winter. I now have an extremely healthy respect for ice and snow. Thankfully I only ended up with some black and blue marks and a bruised ego, instead of being a road pancake which very easily could have happened.

[/rant]
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Old 12-05-04, 06:30 PM
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You are lucky.

Made my first trip to Burlington this past fall and I found it too congested and dangerous in good dry clear weather.

Loved that causeway, at sunrise. one of best rides of the year.
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Old 12-05-04, 06:38 PM
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Yep, I know the feeling. I went down on my commute the other day, banged not just my knee but my head as well. I was all alone on the bike path. I had stood up out of the saddle to climb this hill, and the bike shifted, and I went over the bars, and smacked the knee. When I got to work I had a nice rug burn from the fleece in the tights, that had a rip in them. Other than that I am grateful for the snow scoop, I mean helmet that saved the noggen, the snow was rather soft.
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Old 12-05-04, 07:21 PM
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I did the same thing with a trolley in the city when it was pouring out. I went around it and started to come back over the tracks in the front when my wheel washed out. I happened to treat a crowd of shoppers and people at the bus stop to me picking myself of the ground and scurrying of the road trying not to get run over by the trolley behind me. Thing about falls is that the pain catches up to you after a while usually and only then do you discover the huge bruise on your hip like I did.
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Old 12-06-04, 05:53 AM
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I hope this slows you down, only a little. With a bit more caution, you would have been laughing still, at those drivers,fuming as they crawled home.
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Old 12-06-04, 08:22 AM
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Kat, I can't believe you tried going around cars on a slippery downslope! Holy crap good thing the bus didn't slide on top of you.
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Old 12-06-04, 08:36 AM
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You were lucky to be humbled without serious injury. As long as the accident makes you cautious, not gun-shy, it was a relatively cheap but valuable lesson. Most of us on this Forum (at least the lucky ones) have had similar lessons.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 12-06-04 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 12-06-04, 09:02 AM
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I don't get that much snow/ice . . .nevertheless, a thin layer of water/grease/ice is all it takes to floor me.

Thanks for sharing . . . You're all heros.

Ride safely.
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Old 12-06-04, 09:12 AM
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I find It's always a rough transition when you first get snow. I'm so used to having traction I can rely on to bust moves around cars. Today was my first day of real winter riding, and it was a little scary. Ice EVERYWHERE, and blowing snow. Couldn't even touch my brakes on a lot of sections. Did a couple of really nice, semi controlled 2 wheel slides. Sure got the heart rate up, not from the excercise, but from the fear of death. Maybe it's time to build a mtb beater....I'm to old to ride 700x28c slicks in the snow. It is nice to have enough power to spin the rear tire though-makes me feel like a muscle car!

Good luck out there, and don't let those cars take advantage of you.

Jeremy
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Old 12-06-04, 10:19 AM
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Well I'll grant you this Kat...it was a bold attempt. Glad that you lived to tell about it.
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Old 12-07-04, 02:23 PM
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Four days post accident and I am still out there on the ice and snow. I have definitely learned my lesson though and take it a bit more slowly and carefully whenever I can't see the pavement beneath my tires. My bruise on my left calf is a bit of a pride thing now. I think my co-workers are getting a little sick of hearing me say... "Hey! Wanna see my bruise?!!" (It is mightily impressive now that it is a rainbow of colors bigger than the palm of my hand!)

Thanks for the words of encouragement all.

Kat
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Old 12-07-04, 02:41 PM
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P.S. If you're going to ride in the snow and ice, get studded tires. The Nokian 106's are great. They cost $60 each, but that's cheaper than an emergency room visit.
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Old 12-07-04, 08:23 PM
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I am actually shying away from studded tires as my commute is 15 miles each way, and most days here we don't have a ton of snow and ice on the roads, just extreme cold and occasional big snow days. I have heard that studded tires are a lot harder to push up hills on dry pavement. I guess I could swap out tires on snow/ice days, but I don't know if I am that dedicated.
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Old 12-07-04, 10:45 PM
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Kat,
I live in Burlington too. That was one slippery day and a slippery bit of road that night. There were scores of traffic accidents that day and night. My neighbour parked her 4 wheel drive Subaru and walked home that night.

Glad to hear that you are back in the saddle again. For what it's worth, most of the winter will not be so bad in terms of traction. On the majority of days, it is not that hard to ride in Burlington/area.
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Old 12-08-04, 08:53 AM
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I find the Nokians somewhat harder to pedal than my summer tires, but not a lot. Still, on a q5 mile one-way trip, I can see why you might not want to use them.

I've found that mounting only a front Nokian gives an unnoticable increase in drag, but a lot more stability on ice. That might be a solution for you.

Paul
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Old 12-08-04, 09:45 AM
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I doubt studded tires will help much with snow or slush over decent knobbies. With glare ice, absolutely. I think your choice should be based on how much ice you think you'll see, the density of the traffic in icy areas, and your tolerance for slowing way down for ice if you don't have studded tires. I made it through last winter without, and I survived, but there were about three weeks in March that they would have been really nice to have.
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Old 12-08-04, 01:38 PM
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I ride with slicks only on non icy days. When there is ice around, I put a Nokian studded on the front wheel only. It creates a lot of drag, but falling would be a lot bigger drag - haha. Most rolling resistance does come from the back wheel. The slick back tire does skid around a bit on the ice, but that doesn't bother me too much. If the front tire goes, though, you will probably fall.
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Old 12-08-04, 02:08 PM
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Good luck on a speedy recovery. It's nice to learn about the limits of your bike in a softer way, though.

Short of owning two bikes, there are a few techniques you could use:

1. I don't know what tires you use, but tires with a soft compound have a better grip on ice than tires with a hard compound. In previous years, I found that my Continental Top Touring 2000 (either 700x32 or 37) offer good traction, as long as there is no loose snow on the ground. so they are great for my long-distance touring bike because I rarely use it when it's snowing, but they wouldn't work on the bike I use in sloppier conditions.

Over the years, I have used a few knobbies for Winter tires. Specialized Cyclocross tires are fairly decent, but only available in 700x37. This year, I tried a set of Continental Twister (knobby tires with a very soft compound), and I found them very good when I rode the tandem on ice yesterday and today. Riding the tandem on ice is still new for me, and weight distribution is very differen than with the single, so it's hard to do a direct comparison with studs, however. As for riding on snow, if you ride conservatively (i.e. no more neck-braking stuts!), knobbies are very good on snow.

2. You could get an extra front wheel and a studded tire. If you don't use a generator hub, a used front wheel should be fairly cheap. That way, you would simply use your studded wheel when conditions warrant and the regular wheel otherwise. If you have studs in front and knobbies on the rear wheel, you should be OK even when the city comes to a crawl.

BTW, don't get an Innova studded tire unless you don't want to use it. Studs aren't worth the price of the tire. Invest in a Nokian.

3. In unsafe conditions -- when going downhill, for instance -- you might prefer to unclip behorehand so your feet serve as outriggers.

4. To get the most braking power on ice, brake softly and about evenly with both brakes.
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Old 12-11-04, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by blendingnoise
I did the same thing with a trolley in the city when it was pouring out. I went around it and started to come back over the tracks in the front when my wheel washed out. I happened to treat a crowd of shoppers and people at the bus stop to me picking myself of the ground and scurrying of the road trying not to get run over by the trolley behind me. Thing about falls is that the pain catches up to you after a while usually and only then do you discover the huge bruise on your hip like I did.
I've only been out that way a few times on the bike ,and *hate* being on Chester or Woodland or any of those other streets with trolley tracks! must be really fun in the cold rain!! I wonder if you could ride "in" the track?? Going over RR crossings in the rain makes me a bit edgy!
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Old 12-19-04, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for all of the tips, I unfortunately have given up the bike pretty much for the winter. I had a commute in last week that involved a bit of frostbite on my toes, even though I had all of the appropriate gear on my feet. I was planning on commuting all winter, but the feet are just in so much pain now whenever I go out and it is below freezing. I think I am going to use a trainer for most of the winter, and if we have a thaw, I will get back out there on the road. :sob:
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Old 12-19-04, 09:33 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about your toes, but once riding isn't fun anymore it's gotta be best to stop. And frostbite is never, ever fun. For my education, what were the conditions like and what was on your feet?
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Old 12-19-04, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ajkloss42
I'm sorry to hear about your toes, but once riding isn't fun anymore it's gotta be best to stop. And frostbite is never, ever fun. For my education, what were the conditions like and what was on your feet?
I had a pair of Garmont "Vegan" boots (Yes, that actually is the model name) with a pair of sweat wicking socks against my skin and two pairs of wool/synthetic blend socks over that (the boots are pretty roomy). When my feet really started to hurt about halfway into my ride, I stopped, removed the wool socks and put some chemical handwarmers inside my boots, but unfortunately they didn't warm up fast enough and my feet were in the most pain that I have ever experienced by the time I got to work about 45 minutes later. I had to hop into the shower to get ready for work, even though I know that hot water is the absolute worst thing for frost bite, and I ended up sitting on the floor of the shower in agony until my feet warmed up. Now my feet get very tingly and painful from even a little exposure to very cold weather.
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Old 12-19-04, 07:11 PM
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Wow Kat, I just read this thread. Sorry to hear you went down. I'm riding studs on the Island Line Trail. Nice not having any cars to deal with. Tomorrow morning is going to be a frigid ride! Supposed to be near zero. At least I'll have a tailwind in the morning. No exposed skin for me!
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Old 12-19-04, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by CommuterKat
Now my feet get very tingly and painful from even a little exposure to very cold weather.
Wow. It sounds like it was even less pleasant than I had originally thought. How cold was it outside, what was the wind like, and when you changed your footgear were your socks wet from sweating?
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Old 12-20-04, 08:48 AM
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Bad deal with the feet, Kat.

Vapor barrier has always been a toe-saver for me. I've got some booties that go inside my shoes. Grocery bags or bread wrappers are the Fred Sanford equivalent. If your feet come back, you might give it another go with a vaporproof barrier inside your footwear system.

So, you learned your lesson about bombing downhill when cars are sliding on ice? The short version: don't do that! Are you crazy? I'm sorry the lesson was painful. On the bright side, it could have been worse... Shudder...
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