Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Winter Riding Update

Temperatures have risen to a balmy 40 F the last two days. It actually been a fairly warm week in general with temps hovering just above freezing most days. And to give you an idea of just how bad the ice was the last couple of weeks... there is still ice in places on the road after a week of melting. Now that temperatures are back up I'm no longer the lone cyclists out there and even with rain today there are a number of people out on their bikes.

I really felt unsafe in many situations over the course of the worst road conditions here in Montana. My usual routes along neighborhood side streets were often completely un-ridable from the thick coating of undulating ice. Which forced me onto many main streets where the roads were clear but the traffic was heavy. I never had a close call, but it was still very unsettling to to be forced onto busy roads that had become constricted because of plowed snow piling up on the roadway. Just from a personal perspective, the perception that an auto is safer in such conditions really does make them much more utilitarian than a bike.

As for the score so far this winter... Ice - 2, Me - 0. And yes, to all those family reading this... I had a helmet on both times I took a spill on the ice.


Rantwick said...

Those arterial roads are scary at first, but are often your only choice in conditions like you describe.

I hope those constricted lanes encourage you to take the whole thing... there's nothing worse than riding in the way too variable conditions at the edge of such a road.

Way to go, and keep it up! Taking up winter riding is a steep learning curve the first year, but I can guarantee you it can and does become downright enjoyable.

CarFree Stupidity said...

This isn't actually my first season of winter riding... just the first winter I am commuting by bicycle full time. For several years I had been hoping on a bike maybe once or twice a week.

Rantwick said...

Oops, my bad... your commitment to ride instead of car is really cool, by the way!

Roger said...

Car free dude…..when in Rome, do as the Romans….TAKE THE LANE.
You can keep up with the cars, do not be timid.
And most important get to Good Will and buy a Long Blonde Wig.
Study after study confirms that car drivers will give bicycle riders with long blonde hair more wiggle room on the road. http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/news/653/blonde-wigs-safer-helmets-cyclists
Disclaimer: Romans carry very large sticks to keep the beasts away.
Maybe you should look at a different set of wheels on ICE DAY.
I prefer a 20” studded BMX, when the bike gets away, just step off, let her fly….

or buy this…….car free guy!

CarFree Stupidity said...

I have three different bikes I use depending on conditions.

Fixed gear for good weather and fun

Road bike w/fenders for rain

Mtn bike w/26 in tires that are really wide for the snow and ice.

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