January 31, 2013

This might help you bike in winter.



The jaunty music makes it seem like fun. I can do this. At 0:33, we got a laugh. ("Go out and buy or find a bike...") At 0:57 — "completely filthy with road grime" — I say, "This is where we lose all the women." At 1:30, the real problem emerges: You've got to keep going forward. You'll fall if you brake or slow way down or do anything other than "Let your momentum go. You are usually okay." Usually! But if 1 of my 60 minutes of riding is not okay, that's absurdly dangerous. "It's a skill," we're told, that you learn over time. But that assumes you don't die! Right after the expert says we can learn, we see a bike going down an icy path toward a curve with the icy lake straight ahead.

37 comments:

Kit said...

Well, some women may take his suggestion and put fenders on...also, at the end - I think this might be an example of having learned to ride in these conditions - which, so far, I have chosen not to do.

Pamela said...

studded bike tires, we have them, we bike all year.

Patrick said...

Back in the day, I had to ride my bike in the winter for my paper route, loaded with papers. I think it prepared me well for driving in bad conditions, but I sure as hell wouldn't recommend it as regular transportation in the winter.

Ann Althouse said...

"Well, some women may take his suggestion and put fenders on..."

You heard: Put fenders on. I heard: You will get dirty.

(You may get less dirty with fenders, but the point is, winter is a splatter fest, and if you use biking for your commute, you will not be presentable when you get there.)

"also, at the end - I think this might be an example of having learned to ride in these conditions - which, so far, I have chosen not to do."

How do you survive the learning period?

chickelit said...

Why not electrically heat the sidewalks and bike paths in the winter? This could provide jobs, retrofitting the concrete, while helping out Western coal producing states. Alternatively, they could heavily salt the bike lanes, supporting SLC businesses like Morton Salt.

Bob Ellison said...

I rode a cheap Schwinn all through college. On snowy, icy days, it seemed my bike had better traction than all of the cars around.

Then again, I did fall on my head once. That was in the summer, though.

Henry said...

Know your route. That's another thing.

I like biking in the cold. You can dress for it.

Rain I'll endure. Snow is easier than rain. Ice is the killer. Still, most days aren't raining, snowy, or icy, at least in New England. Even after a blizzard it only takes a day or two for the shoulders to clear up.

Bike-commuting year-round for the last five years there are probably less than five days a year that that weather or ice conditions stop me from riding.

This past year I switched to a Dahon folding bike that I can take on the commuter train. It is even safer in snow and ice than the Fuji I used to ride. The reason is that it has a lower center of gravity and no top frame tube to get tangled up on if you slip.

Henry said...

BTW, bike fenders are surprisingly effective. The only time I get dirty is if I'm careless when I'm folding my bike. And it does keep people from crowding me on the train.

David Davenport said...

You heard: Put fenders on. I heard: You will get dirty.

(You may get less dirty with fenders, but the point is, winter is a splatter fest, and if you use biking for your commute, you will not be presentable when you get there.)


An excellent argument for women soldiers at the leading edge of combat.

traditionalguy said...

This bike shop owner with the playtime music is tired of seasonal work. So come and buy from him now.

Worst thing that can happen is you need a new unbent bike, a new uncracked helmet and new unshreded gloves....and the are all for sale.

MadisonMan said...

Sorry. I can walk. That's more enjoyable in winter, and I don't have to worry about darkness after sunset if I'm kept late at work.

It's almost that time of year when I can start biking again, too. Sunset is 5:10.

TosaGuy said...

Every cyclist who bikes at night without proper front and rear lights needs to be arrested for their own good....I only partially jest.

Their powerful sense of bike-riding esteem does not make them glow in the dark.

wyo sis said...

"powerful sense of bike-riding esteem"

And....there you have it! The reason bike people are such utter jackasses.

ricpic said...

Women discouraged by winter biking dirt shouldn't make the cut to serve in the infantry. Well, in realityland. But who knows? since the agenda must go forward: all right thinking people agree.

Hagar said...

Shouldn't that be left thinking people?

southcentralpa said...

a blog called copenhagenize dot com
is mostly about Danish bike culture but occasionally has tips about things like winter biking. Brew a fresh pot and enjoy!

Michael said...

They race motorcycles on ice. Spikes on tires. Frightening to even watch

Curious George said...

"chickelit said...
Alternatively, they could heavily salt the bike lanes, supporting SLC businesses like Morton Salt."

Morton Salt is a Chicago company. Their biggest mine is actually in Ohio under lake Erie.

rhhardin said...

The guy is a moron.

Zach said...

I did this when I lived in Colorado. I enjoyed it, but you do have to prepare.

1) Get fenders and studded tires.

2) Wear rain pants

3) Plan on gearing down as much as necessary.

4) Watch out for cars!

Lem said...

El Niagara en Bicicleta

edutcher said...

As a pedestrian in my wild and misspent youth (I could either have a car or a place to live), I note he forgot the most important rule of all, regardless of season - watch out for cars.

I don't care what the law says about drivers' responsibilities, you are a raving idiot if you aren't aware of what's happening around you. Driving defensively is not just for drivers.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, some women may take his suggestion and put fenders on...

You heard: Put fenders on. I heard: You will get dirty.


Now that's a woman talking.

(no offense...)

Larry J said...

The area where I live doesn't even have sidewalks let alone bike paths. The roads are narrow with ditches on both sides and are pretty busy. Walking is dangerous enough and biking is near suicide.

deborah said...

David Davenport, any female soldier knows you hump it in fatigues and switch to dress blues and pumps for battle.

(chick, you're a regular Mort Sahl :)

Auntie Ann said...

I have a friend who bikes to work every day in Milwaukee. She skidded on the ice and went head-over-handlebars last winter, braking lots of bones in both of her hands.

She continues to bike to work.

carrie said...

I rode my bike on icy roads in the winter until the day I hit glare ice and my wheels slipped out from under me and I crashed into the street in front of a car that was coming up behind me. Fortunately, the car was able to stop before the it ran over me. I landed on my tail bone and was lying in road in pain trying to move when the driver, a woman, got out of the car and started screaming at me for being stupid enough to ride my bike on dangerous, icy roads. I decided that she was right and I never rode on icy or snow covered roads again.

AEH said...

I tried putting zip ties on my tires to act as winter tires. It did not work as the zip ties lost to the ice. I just take it slow with ice and mentally prepare for falls.

Brian Wohlgemuth said...

I love to ride but I also love to continue breathing...

Unless it's above freezing (and has been for several days) there is ZERO chance I will take the bike out. Tried riding a few times and in winter, the combination of low light, slippery roads, and unexpecting drivers makes it too damn hazardous to even think about it.

kentuckyliz said...

Drivers don't expect to see winter cyclists, and that's your greatest danger.

If you must: IceBike

kentuckyliz said...

Keeping your hands/fingers and feet/toes warm is the biggest challenge.

Auntie Ann said...

There is also the problem of narrower roads in the winter as plowed-in cars and snow piled up on the side of the road reduce the lanes to barely the width of a car--and sometimes not even that wide.

Astro said...

Like Patrick, when I was a kid I had a bike I used in the winter time for my paper route - though I biked even when I wasn't delivering papers.

I guess I must be dead though, because I never used a helmet and never used a light.

Contrary to the guy's comments in the video, riding a bike while skidding on ice is a lot of fun. But it's also important to know how to make a controlled fall, laying your bike down sideways to make a panic stop - on snow or ice. You don't want to just keep rolling into traffic or oblivious pedestrians or other bikers. Or trees - trees are especially oblivious no matter how loud you yell.

One problem the guy in the video doesn't mention is snow getting clogged between the tire and the fender. It'll happen, and you'll have to stop and scrape it out.

rhhardin said...

Keeping your hands/fingers and feet/toes warm is the biggest challenge.

Feet: wool socks with 87% wool content or more. There's a huge difference.

Hands: keep the wrists warm, to keep blood flow from shutting off.

Rick67 said...

I used a bike to travel 3 miles to campus every day for 5 years in graduate school in Ithaca New York. Good weather, rain, snow - the only time I did not ride was when snow was actually coming down. That's when you play it safe.

Yeah I had mud streaks on me back. And professors were horrified by dirt splatters here and there on my shirt. Got fenders. Helped.

But in all seriousness winter was murder on my bike. Rust on the chain... corrosion of the bearings... I didn't know how to take care of my bike and after a few years it was mostly shot.

Terry said...

How disrespectful is this to the spirits of the aboriginal Americans who were slaughtered to make way for the white man?
You know, the Chippendales or wa-wa's or whatever.
Very disrespectful.

Chip Ahoy said...

He forgot to remind us to wear shoes.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/larsdaniel/3229214373/