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Thread: Winter cycling: good idea or flat-out insane?

  1. #1
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    Default Winter cycling: good idea or flat-out insane?

    Winter cycling: good idea or flat-out insane?
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/winter...tips-1.3314804
    “You have to dream big. If we want to be a little city, we dream small. If we want to be a big city, we dream big, and this is a big idea.” - Mayor Stephen Mandel, 02/22/2012

  2. #2
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    It isn't that crazy at all. The scariest part is cars on the road, not the snow or cold. You heat up quickly pedalling a bike when you are wearing layers.

  3. #3

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    Im not a big fan of commuting on busy roads in the winter but I love fatbiking in the winter on various trails. Im also forunate to live close to my work where im not having to ride with traffic. Riding in the snow/sand mush found on city streets is the worst

    Not my video but im one of the cyclists in it

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    OK article, but what's with the headline?

    Why would anyone think it's "insane", when thousands of sane people do it and have been doing it for years, safely, and relatively easily?

    The article offers 8 really good tips. Maybe they thought "8 Tips For Riding A Bike Through Winter" was too straightforward.

    And, of course, there's the comments section. Predictably stupid in way too many cases.

    I'm going to start a "Tips For Winter Biking" thread, and see if any of the more experienced people will contribute.
    aka Jim Good; "The sooner you fall behind, the more time you have to catch up." - Steven Wright

  5. #5

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    As an aside, on the radio today a lady said that it should just be called cycling. That we don't say winter walking...

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by KC View Post
    As an aside, on the radio today a lady said that it should just be called cycling. That we don't say winter walking...
    Yep.

    Astute comment. I think thinking about it that way can reduce some resistance and get people out and healthy more days and seasons of the year.

    I occasionally plunk around on the multiuse trails in the neighborhood in winter. I'm not into going on roads much. Just enough to get me to a trail and back. I don't even have fat tires, just a standard mountain bike.

    Make some easy adjustments. Let a bit of air out of the tires, (Actually check pressure first as cold air seems to do this on its own.) I hike the seat down about a few inches as I like to be lower to the ground for winter cycling (just a personal preference).
    Other than that same deal as winter driving. Don't assume you can stop fast, don't assume you can start fast and take turns very methodically. Same physics with the simple exception that two wheels and no vehicle cabin cage protection = a mess if you go out of control and come to a skidding on asphalt (you'll hope its ice or snow surface at that point) sliding stop. That sucks and happens quick with winter cycling. Take it slow. I don't go anywhere near the speeds I would other times of year.

    I will say that people generally overdress. You get warm cycling. The main thing though is keeping the head, face, hands and torso covered adequately. Seem to be the parts that chill pretty good. Avoid windy days as you would for any cycling. Cycling tends to suck in the wind at any time of year but worse in winter. Balaclava undr helmet not a bad idea or toque at the least.

    Just another note that the city usually clears Multiuse trails in places where these are walking commute trails. They even sand.
    Last edited by Replacement; 16-11-2015 at 11:04 PM.
    "if god exists and he allowed that to happen, then its better that he doesn't exist"

  7. #7
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    ^ For winter I set my seat so I can put both my feet on the ground. Doing that has saved my butt a few times in slippery conditions. Avoid overdressing, but remember that keeping your core toasty encourages blood flow to your face and extremities, so make sure you aren't too chilly either. You are using your hands to steer and brake so they are hard to keep warm. My face is the temperature limiting factor for me, as I can't wear scarves, balaclavas or ski goggles without causing complete inability to see due to frosted glasses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Medwards View Post
    . Riding in the snow/sand mush found on city streets is the worst.
    Definitely. A commitment to remove snow from roads instead of dumping sand and salt on it would do more for winter bicycle commuters than all of the controversial bike lane proposals.

  8. #8

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    Most of the time I find that the bike lanes end up being snow removal storage spots.

    I also find drivers become a lot more panic stricken when encountering cyclists in the winter on the roads.

    I tend to keep to side roads, I find them easier to cycle down, and less worry about drivers.

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    Not particularly connected to commuting, but I noticed a few days back (can't remember where I read it) that this winter there will be new fat tire bike trails in Jasper National Park, as well as other new trails for X-C skiers and snowshoeing.

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    I have commuted by bike in the winter and would echo some of the comments above. Don't over dress and slow down, you'll be fine.

    I would advise a studded front tire with studs on a 45 out from the sides. They only really bite if you start to go down. I'd also say riding in the winter is very hard on the drive train of the bike. If you can get a bike with a three speed internal hub it's great.

    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong"

  11. #11
    highlander
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    I've been waiting to get the winter bike down before doing some major maintenance on the summer one but the dry-pavement season keeps going and going... we may not get to do any winter cycling this year. I didn't just jinx it, did I?

  12. #12
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    ^ Current forecast has a few flurries tonight and a high of -5°C tomorrow, so maybe.

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