Frosty Morning

Last night was the first time this winter our temperatures dropped below freezing. For us weather wimps here in temperate Northern California that’s pretty darned cold (though I’m sure our friends in the Midwest are chuckling at us about now). All you cold weather bike commuters keep an eye out for patches of ice on the road – it’s slippery out there!

11 Responses to “Frosty Morning”

  • Tim Dreyer says:

    You’re right! Here in northwest Missouri, temperatures yesterday (12/16/08) were down to -3F with windchills anywhere from -5 to -13F. Plus, it was snowing, and we got about 2-4 inches! Definitely fun for winter bike commuting! Enjoy your warm weather :-)

  • Donald says:

    My head cold is clearing up and it is time to get back on the bike. This time of year it is fun to commute because it feels so good when you stop. Fire up the electric gloves, I will be back on the road in a couple of days.

    Sacramento, CA

  • brad says:

    I had to wear crampons to walk on the sidewalks of Montréal yesterday (a lot of other people were wearing crampons in various forms as well). Saturday was cold (5 below zero Fahrenheit) and then Sunday warmed right up and it rained all day Monday, then the temperature dropped down to the teens. Result: the city is one big skating rink. The emergency rooms are full of people with broken bones from falling on the ice. Despite the treacherous conditions, I saw quite a few bicyclists on the street last night as I was walking home from a friend’s house.

  • Reuben says:

    The entire state of MN is laughing at you right now.

  • Josef says:

    Alan: you should have kept the trike — icy patches are the icing on the winter triking cake.

  • Darryl says:

    I”m chuckling now, but I wouldn’t want your wildfires, earthquakes, mudslides…

    Biking in snow and ice are two different techniques. In snow, you can’t pedal hard enough to maintain momentum and gyroscopic balance. On ice you can have too much energy when you need it least and often brake when you need gyroscopic balance. Pedaling on snow covered ice – you’re screwed. ;-) In either case, do not steer or react too quickly. The change in momentum is what creates instability. Most of us choose to ride in winter so stay loose and enjoy the ride. Stiff, white knuckle riding makes for a mentally unpleasant ride.

    I have found that riding my dual 20″ recumbent has the benefit of low center of gravity which makes for a stable feeling. Secondly if I should loose straight-ahead momentum in snow, I don’t have far to fall. The down side is the small diameter wheels have a harder time overcoming street ruts and deep snow. Also the flip-it handle bar stem, while convenient while mounting the bike, is very awkward while trying to pick yourself up off the ice.

    Next on my list of to-do’s:
    Handmade narrow studded tires. Most knobby tires and studded tires are too wide. The chain rubs against the tire while in very low gears.
    Homebuilt fairings out of choroplast plastic material. They’re not pretty, but at least they’ll give me something to do over winter.
    Haul out my 700c Trek from the basement to use as my sacrificial bike.

  • kevinPDX says:

    Starting on Sunday the 14th it has been snowing in Portland. Monday it dropped to 19′ overnight and everything turned to ice. The East winds were up to 45mph and the city shut down. Today it is raining snowing melting and it is supposed to get down to the low 20’s tonight. Yesterday Pat and I took a couple of trikes out and rode around in front of shop doing power slides and having fun and getting warm from the work out. Robert was at lunch but he rode as well when he got back. (note when sliding a trike watch for the dry spots!)
    As an aside I am amazed how many people here ride without helmets. It is even more amazing when there is ice on the road.
    Be safe and have fun.

  • jamesmallon says:

    Real cyclists keep cycling in the winter (‘winter’ means snow, ice and below 0*C). Fitness types go to the gym until spring.

  • Scott Wayland says:

    Hmmm…the first real ice and snow on the roads this season. I’m waiting for the roads to clear. Fortunately, school’s out for winter break, so I get to sit back and watch it snow. I’m going for a big snow hike tomorrow with my lovely bike and uber dog, Django. Can’t wait!


  • David Hembrow says:

    No-one stops here. We’ve had both snow and freezing fog. The masses just keep on cycling.

    Quite apart from adult commuters, the children are all still riding to school.

    Cycle paths here are gritted all through winter. They have to be. There are more cycle journeys per day here than car journeys. Imagine what would happen if everyone stopped cycling and started driving. It would more than double the number of cars on the roads and it would cause chaos.

  • Ron Georg says:


    Here’s a shot of me and my daughter on our way to school this morning:

    She had said she was going to strat riding the bus when the snow came, but she was excited to be out making tracks. Maybe if it gets a little colder she’ll opt for the bus, otherwise we’ll keep up our commute through the winter.
    It doesn’t snow much here, so it’s enough of a novelty that we don’t tire of it. I have lived in snowy places, and I’ve commuted through many winters. For snow and slush and the occassional ice patch, regular tires are fine. Studs would help on ice, I suppose, but they’re unnecessary on packed snow.
    On another site I saw someone had created chains for a bike, but that just seems ludicrous. They work on cars because the weight of the vehicle helps them dig into ice, but on a bike I believe they’d just make it skittish. Anyone who’s tried them on a car knows the churning, thrumming feel they create, and that wouldn’t translate well to a bicycle.
    Happy Trails,
    Ron Georg

© 2011 EcoVelo™