Author Topic: Winter Biking  (Read 4252 times)

ThatGuy701

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Winter Biking
« on: February 11, 2015, 07:30:30 AM »
Hello all!

I am looking for some input on what other fellow bike commuters do in the winter time when it snows and a lot and the sidewalks haven't been cleared yet. I just got my bike in Jan. this year and I have studded tires however when there is 6-8 inches of snow on the sidewalk they don't help much.

I currently live around 1.75 miles from my work and I bike home every day at lunch to let our dog out. Most of the time this is fine but on days when it snows a lot there isn't enough time for me to bike home over lunch as it takes a lot longer with deep snow.

Any input/suggestions are appreciated!

vhalros

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2015, 07:40:54 AM »
Don't ride on the sidewalk?

ThatGuy701

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2015, 07:43:13 AM »
Most of the time the streets don't get plowed until the evening as well.

James

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2015, 08:13:12 AM »
Just depends a lot on what works for you. I use a fat bike in the winter, great traction and no need for studs. It handles the snow just fine, and gives a nice workout due to the added rolling resistance of fat tires. Biking in heavy snow on a fat bike certainly isn't fast, but my commute is similar and I enjoy it.


Not any perfect solution to deep snow and biking, it isn't going to be easy no matter what. I would say what you have or a fat bike is your best options. The fat bike certainly isn't going to slip, but biking through half a foot of snow is slow and hard (but enjoyable to me). The fat bike isn't cheap, but I do it for fun and exercise, not just a commute.

MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2015, 08:16:16 AM »
You should not ride on the sidewalk, even in summer. See http://bicyclesafe.com/ ... read up, it could save your life.

So once you are riding on the roads.. it depends how bad they are.

A little bit bad roads -> Any hybrid tire will be fine.
Medium bad roads -> A mountain bike will do fine
Super bad roads -> You may need a winter dedicated fat bike.

Depends how often you have bad weather for if it is worth it to have a fat bike or not.

ThatGuy701

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2015, 09:48:36 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions!

I agree James that riding in the snow is fun! Mornings and evenings I have no concerns with how long it takes but over lunch I like to allow my dog to be out of the kennel for at least a half hour. I may have to check out a fat tire bike for the future as we still need to get the wife a bike.

Thanks for the input about riding in the street. I will put that to use today!

HenryDavid

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2015, 10:36:50 AM »
Any kind of knobby tires will work. Slightly soft tires can be good when it's slippery.
Be prepared to walk occasionally for safety, if it's real icy.
You definitely do not need a fat bike! Just another thing to buy.
Reasonable bike skills plus a tire of 28mm or wider will go anywhere, on snowy pavement.
In my 20+ year experience . . . . : )

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2015, 11:05:02 AM »
If the streets are truly unplowed with 6+ inches on them, it can be quite hard. Typically I try to stick to the grooves cut through already by cars, but snow that deep without at least one plow pass is pretty rare around here. The only real bad storm we had this year was bad, not because of the 2-4 inches on roads at any one point, but the blinding wind-driven snow. There were times the headwind was so strong that, coupled with the extra resistance, I literally came to a dead stop.

rocketman48097

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2015, 01:36:53 PM »
Your distance seems very short.  Can you walk instead?  How about packing a lunch?  Also, with it so cold, you could probably run both ways, making this trip even faster.  I bike to work daily, but it's a whopping 3.5 miles each way.  If I lived closer, I would actually PREFER to walk.  The one day I did it, it took almost an hour, but it was quite enjoyable and I felt very "fit" by the time I got home. 

The more fit you get, the less distance this will "feel" like.  My max for walking is about two miles one way, but like I said, I tend to get bored with walking, and would start to run if it took too long.  Also very good for your internal organs and heart. 

Retire-Canada

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2015, 09:30:47 AM »
Hello all!

I am looking for some input on what other fellow bike commuters do in the winter time when it snows and a lot and the sidewalks haven't been cleared yet. I just got my bike in Jan. this year and I have studded tires however when there is 6-8 inches of snow on the sidewalk they don't help much.

You are not going anywhere fast on a bicycle [including a fatbike] in 6-8" of unconsolidated snow. Break out some XC skis to get to from work. Cheap ones will work fine and you won't freak out if you scratch the bases up.

I've bike commuted year round in many Canadian cities and at some point it's more efficient to jog/snow shoe/ski/etc .... Most of the time biking is faster so it's still a great way to get around in the winter.

GuitarStv

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2015, 09:43:27 AM »
Where do you live that they don't clear 8" of snow off the main roads?  That's pretty shitty for safety.

Here in Toronto it's rare that there's more than three inches of snow down on main roads before being cleared, and that's quite easy to bike through.  8" would be borderline unbikable at any reasonable speed.

dycker1978

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2015, 09:52:14 AM »
Where do you live that they don't clear 8" of snow off the main roads?  That's pretty shitty for safety.

Here in Toronto it's rare that there's more than three inches of snow down on main roads before being cleared, and that's quite easy to bike through.  8" would be borderline unbikable at any reasonable speed.

Its not uncommon for use to get 10 or 12 inches in a couple of hours... they cannot plow as fast as it snows some times.

ThatGuy701

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2015, 10:34:52 AM »
Where do you live that they don't clear 8" of snow off the main roads?  That's pretty shitty for safety.

Here in Toronto it's rare that there's more than three inches of snow down on main roads before being cleared, and that's quite easy to bike through.  8" would be borderline unbikable at any reasonable speed.

Its not uncommon for use to get 10 or 12 inches in a couple of hours... they cannot plow as fast as it snows some times.

I live in ND. They do pretty well at clearing the roads but we got around 6" in just a couple of hours so not all the streets were cleared. We also got some freezing rain the night before so it made for some fun conditions.

sagebrushmama

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2015, 10:45:31 AM »
I was just going to suggest skiing to work, looks like someone beat me to it!  When the roads are that snowy, it is just as fast as biking, assuming your snowplows aren't too efficient and clear everything off before you can ski home for the day.  You should be able to find some beater XC skis anywhere online cheap.

Timmmy

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Re: Winter Biking
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2015, 10:58:05 AM »
You should not ride on the sidewalk, even in summer. See http://bicyclesafe.com/ ... read up, it could save your life.

So once you are riding on the roads.. it depends how bad they are.

A little bit bad roads -> Any hybrid tire will be fine.
Medium bad roads -> A mountain bike will do fine
Super bad roads -> You may need a winter dedicated fat bike.

Depends how often you have bad weather for if it is worth it to have a fat bike or not.

I know the advice is solid but I really think it depends on the location.  Biking on the road around here is suicidal.  Cars will intentionally run you off the road because they think they own it.  I've been nearly killed every single time I've ridden any distance in the road.  It is safer for me to ride the sidewalks and deal with the inherent dangers of being on the sidewalk.  The OP should evaluate his situation and determine the safest thing. 

The few times that I've seen a bike on a main road, people are enraged by it and will throw things at them, attempt to pass them with no room (including using dedicated turn lanes) or ignore them altogether and nearly hit them.