How Was Your Ride Today? Week of Feb. 14th

Things are looking pretty decent out there. Daytime highs on the plus side, and the sun is rising earlier and earlier. How was your ride today?

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Yelled at

Well I have been riding daily for nearly a year now, and today was the first day that I had the joy of being honked at, and then yelled at for being a F**king nuciance on the road, and to ride on the side walk. My favorite part was that there are no sidewalks in the spot that he yelled at me. For some reason I enjoyed the encounter and smiled the rest of the way to work.

uneventful

Status quo ride today. I did however appreciate the clearing of the "frozen pond" that forms just west of the Crowchild bridge on the north side Bow River pathway (right at the exit ramp to Crowchild. I can claim about 45 mins of work on it yesterday, the rest of it (several hours) was done by 2 senior gentlemen "just cuz" it was a nice thing to do.

spotted

I think I saw those dudes working on icy bits on the pathway that parallels Memorial. Good on y'all for taking the initiative!

ice-b-gone

~530'ish Monday night... fella clearing a huge puddle of meltwater along Memorial Drive. Hope I wasn't the only one to say "thanks great job!".

Icy spots.

Lots of icy spots leaving my neighbourhood this morning, but most of my route was clear and dry this morning.

Am I the only one that gets superstitious at places where they've wiped out in the past? It's dumb, but I can't bring myself to go hauling past places where I've gone and crashed at before. =:O

Most Icy Ride In Over 10 Years

On my ride today, I encountered the most ice I have seen in the over 10 years I have been commuting in the winter. Along the Elbow River pathway there is a direct correlation between the amount of salt and gravel applied on the path and the amount of ice today.

Where the most salt and gravel have been applied during the winter, today these are by far the iciest sections. Over the winter, after each snow storm, salt and gravel that were applied previously are scraped into the windrows on the side of the path. The salt (and the dark gravel) in these windrows causes the snow to melt quickly along side the path. The water from this melt has flowed onto the cold path and frozen into glaciers. On one downhill section with a slight curve, I did not even dare to ride my bike. This is the first time in over 10 years of winter commuting that I have not been able to ride this section. Note that I run tires with over 300 studs in each tire. In past years, when no or minimal salt/gravel has been used, I have always been able to ride this portion of the path.

In areas where no salt and gravel have been applied, there is much less ice to deal with.

So back to my usual rant. Please plow the paths, but please do not apply the DANGEROUS SALT AND GRAVEL.

Dangerous?

I think judicious amounts of salt and gravel are OK at times. The hills in the Bowmont Pathway would be impassable if it were not for the salt and gravel they put down, especially in freeze-thaw weather cycles like right now. I think the key is to use it sparingly and only where needed. They guys who do the Bowmont Pathway seem to have it right (Baker Park to the west is a whole other story though -- thankfully it is really flat.)

I dunno...

In the deep south east where I ride, Deer Run, Fish creek and douglasdale... no salt is applied, no gravel either (on roads yes) and my rides are always pretty good (except during the melt of course, then it is squirrely for anyone). I find the sidewalks and pathways take care of themselves and water evaporates as does the snow. A few icy bits here and there but only because of natural melt. I cant imagine what it would be like if brought about manually like you guys up north are enduring but it sounds to me like its not really working. Would love to bring a load of ya down my way and take you on different weather commutes to compare. I'm betting I got it much better, even when its not plowed. All that traffic, congestion, construction and so on that goes on up there must really wreak havoc on your rides. I dont want to sound like I got it all better and stuff, hoity toity la dee dah and such... not my goal. Just sayin.... I think maybe the city should leave it the hell alone like they do down here. Much more enjoyable. I have ridden up your end with Sean a few times and aside from the main pathway... it really does suck in the downtown area.

I agree with Scott

The winter riding routes that I cover on a regular basis include the Bow River pathway from Shouldice Park downstream to Highway 22X, Fish Creek Park, 37th Street pathway, the pathway around Glenmore Reservoir and the Elbow River pathway to the Bow River. By far, the safest riding conditions are those found in Fish Creek Park, where salt and gravel are never applied. And yes, there are notable hills in Fish Creek Park. The conditions there are as noted by Scott, with few icy bits. Although, one could say that the Elbow River pathway now has few icy bits, but the bits are each many, many metres long.

Note also that is not possible to gravel pathways without also including salt. The City "pickles" the gravel with salt, so that the gravel does not freeze into a solid block that cannot be spread.

Just always wating...because

Sharp gravel with salt...Every on road

I think... Maybe gravel with salt make punk+dirty..... I hate that...-_-;;

(sorry about my short english. just arrival from other country. kOR)

I was 40KM Commuting riding. every day (in KOR) but...

yikes, no I did not bring

yikes, no I did not bring long pants because I'm an optimist :). If I have to ride into an ugly headwind maybe I'll stay warm....fingers crossed. I wonder what the ice conditions will be like by then....hmmm.

not the only one

coming towards downtown this morning I passed some fella near Home Road/Edworthy - wearing in his baggy shorts. Thought that was a bit optimistic but certainly something worth braggin about.

Must have some hairy legs...

You all must have some seriously hairy legs to be riding in short pants in this weather. I still wear two layers even on days like today and I'm a hairy legged dude. You guys must be like mamoths! lol.

Supposed to drop to -16 quickly tonight I heard and get to -20 by friday for a few days then back to a high of +3 for a day or two then plunge again. Looks like we are in for a few more weeks of crap weather yet.

Save your shorts for April. Your just being toyed with right now. ;)

Red Mtn Bike, not faded camo

I actually didn't see anybody in Bowmont yesterday.

Musta been somebody else.

I wish that there was some way to easily recognize people from this site. I know Stuart had some spoke cards once upon a time, but maybe stickers or something else are in order?

or....

Or you go to that thread I created for pictures of us and our gear and post them. Then we might recognize another. Its a start.

Weather watch...

My iphone app to the Weather Network tells me the following:

Tonight Feb 15th -3 to -11 at night, sunny and clouds
Wed -10 to -15 at night Lots of snowing
Thurs -14 to -18 at night Sunny, cloudy, snowing
Fri -11 to -19 at night Sunny with some cloud
Sat -1 to -19 at night (huge jump there) Sunny
Sun -1 to -12 at night partial clouds, sun and snowing
Mon -10 to -17 at night Heavy cloud cover, icky out
Tues -7 to -18 at night Sunny
Wed -4 to -14 at night Heavy cloud cover, Gloomy day
Thurs -2 to -10 at night Overcast and sun
Fri -1 to -11 at night Snowing and sun
Sat -2 to -11 at night Overcast and sun
Sun -5 to -14 at night Sunny
Mon 0 to -13 at night Sunny
Tues March 1st... +2 to -8 at night sunny

Is there...

Is there a weather app that can be added to the right on this site? My home page at work on our internal has one so it must be possible. That would be a wonderful asset to everyone I think. Perhaps even a scrolling weather updater. Seen that before too.

wx

or hotlink this: www.wx.ca
Shows current wind, temp trends, etc...
Other tabs on the site go to Env.Cda, Almanac (for us crazies who like to see how much more light we get each day), or even Links which has a list of 7 weather related sites.

Great photo

Great photo. I had to look twice before I realized where it was. That system for making the elevated LRT line is SOOOOOO cool. To bad they couldn't use it to put in a few bikeways heading downtown, eh?

Ding Ding Ding

Lately I say on your left, when I am passing their right......ahh siggh, dissociate much?

My new bell is done now. It's broken or W/E. It rang so beautifully for the past few weeks of it's life. So I passed someone saying: ding ding ding.....won't be making a habit outta that. :/

I hit a slush/ice pothole, I've gone over that curb many many times & thought it pretty flat, but not tonight. Other than that, still enjoying my rides.

you ding ding much?

The cheap bells might last 6-9months (if used often). I'm usually lucky to get 12-14mo on a "good" bell.

Glad to hear that even without a bell you're making an effort instead of blasting by and surprising people.

yea

the first bell worked for 15 years. MEC gave me this one. I need a new everything! Even a new attitude! Well a newly used..but cha can't get newly used attitudes! xP

Yes as an avid pedestrian, I HATED the cyclists that zoomed by without warning.

Great bell

The eclectic toy store in Kensington has the best bike bells. I can't find a link but its a big metal one that spins in itself and makes the same noise that used to herald the arrival of the gods back in the day.

Social day

This mornings easterly headwind and snow didn't make for an easy morning commute (dead leg day). Still better than car or transit.

Coming in yesterday crossed paths in Ranchlands with another commuter - chatted the whole way into downtown. Very pleasant a change. He thought I was nuts going 20km each way. Then going home last night I had the pleasure of being caught by a fellow commuter near Bowmont area. Had a great chat to pass the time and share stories. The fella was on a 'cross bike and rides 40km EACH WAY. Yikes. That's dedication and love of the sport. Good-on-ya.

In fact good for everyone... have a good one all ya'lls.

now where's me coffee...

Thats impressive

Both of you guys. Good on ya. My ride is 6.5km each way and runs me 30-40 min in the crap weather and 15 in the good. I cant imagine what a 2hr commute must be like. I wouldnt do it actually.

Poll?

Scott - I'm sure that if you were forced to drive or take transit you'd soon realize that riding is a great alternative. I don't ride every day, and at least 2x weekly I take transit 1 direction (I have secure bike parking) which helps. Like most the deterrent isn't the cold - its wind direction and snow.

Would be interesting to take a poll on this site - approx distance per commute and/or approx time. I'm guessing it ranges from a couple km up to that 40km dude with the average being around 12km/trip.

I imagine that a 40km commute

I imagine that a 40km commute takes more than an hour. Probably an hour and twenty minutes if they're fast, an hour and a half if they're just quick. For a total of 2:40 to 3 hours a day on the bike. I would do it if I didn't have kids since it would be great training!

I have an old beater...

I have an old beater recycled pickup truck from the 70's that I use a few times a week depending on errands needed or days picking up or dropping off my daughter to daycare when I have her (single parent sharing thing). I find my cycling choices often revolve around this.

For example... the earliest I can drop her off at daycare is 7:30. This means I have to find work that allows me to start at 8am or later depending on how long it would take to get there.

I also face the challenge of picking her up. After 5:30 its $5 for every 5 minutes I'm late picking her up (standard rules for home daycares actually). This means I have to be off at a time that would allow me to get there on time. Right now, I work 8-5 so I get to work right at 8 often (late if the weather is shite) and pick her up at 5:25 on average.

If I had a longer commute... it couldnt be done. I would have to drive and even then... the way the traffic is daily... I still couldnt do it.

I'm fortunate as I am to have found a job to pay the bills (barely) and allows me to fit my parenting into it all.

If I were child free... I could leave much earlier and get home much later. I would never want this however.... I love being a dad more than anything. :)

Classic winter day

The skiff of snow spruces things up a little without mucking up the roads...makes for a pleasant scene.

Despite the wind, my ride was "winter" fast (very unlike "summer" fast). Everyone played nice on the roads this morning.

Ride in this morning

Ride in this morning was good with the exception of the east wind. I don't mind cold days, less people on the bike paths (ie. joggers, baby strollers). Sure wish they would do something about the water that pools on the path when it's warm and freezes solid when it's cold.

Maybe better path design...

It should be possible to design a pathway construction technique to stop this from happening.

It really is something that should be dealt with permanently. There are a lot of elderly people who use the path for exercise during the day (at least at 9 am I often see many of them out walking), and I have seen these ice ponds cause considerable difficulty to some.

icy pathways

Design would help but can only do so much. Once you have snowbanks on both sides of the pathway the snow will melt and the water will build up. With the incredible amount of freeze-thaw we get in Calgary it is really very difficult to avoid.

I agree that some areas of very poorly designed and collect water and those should be fixed. But there are places where in high snow years it's impossible to avoid.

Yuppers...

Yup... there is a good sized pond that forms on my route every single year and the snow buildup on either side creates a nice deeper pond. Cant imagine how it would be averted. No matter what... we want it plowed and that forms walls on either side to create a pool. I find it easy to go across them though when frozen even without studs. Its a matter of knowing where they are under the fresh snow that is an issue. Perhaps signage is all that could be done?

can't believe it

Came in much later today, as in for an 11:30 start time. There was a significant covering of snow over those ice patches but fortunately no incidents occured. I did however misjudge the weather conditions and with the combined wind and humidity managed to freeze a small patch on my face!! Go figure, now that cover shoot I was doing this weekend will have to be called off!! damn.

Getting ready to ride

So I am getting ready to try this early season riding, I have some studded tires to try out, wondering if I should run a little lower tire pressure, like 40 or 50 psi instead of the 65 or so I usually run? I am also taking the approach that speed is not your friend in this type of riding. I thought I would try around fish creek for a bit then maybe a ride into downtown. Any tips from those more experienced in this type of riding would be great.

studded tires

I run 40 psi on my studded tires, but it is somewhat dependant on the tire design. Even studded tires will slip on the bare ice so you still need to be careful and ride and appropriate speeds.

If you're going to be just on the roads downtown you can just ride slicks, but many of the pathways now have a full complement of icy patches hiding under the fresh snow, which can make for interesting riding.

I ride year round on a road

I ride year round on a road bike with slick 700-23 tires at 100 psi. Ice can be bad and I do fall over occasionally (only in really bad conditions which we do not have now), but overall as long as the path is cleared and its just the occasional ice patch due to a frozen melt pond, you'll probably be fine at 65 psi.

Just remember its really easy to take air out as you ride if you find you don't have enough grip, and a bit more effort to add it back in on the ride.

tires

As some have aluded to, it depends where you ride and how you ride if you want to be Mr. Zippy all the time everywhere. If you're coming a fair distance odds are you go through some real crap conditions - in which case lower pressure (~35psi on ~2", or ~40+psi on 1.8" or 45mm) may help keep you upright but then it really sucks your speed on dry pavement. If you're doing some off-road/MTB type trails then full studded around ~40'ish will be good for you as trails got really slick/icy during the recent warm spells. Let us know how it works out for you.

Not crazy

no I don't think I'm loopy at all for riding in the winter. BUT I do think that the 3 sets of XC ski tracks a couple meters from the open water along the Bow River (Crowchild/Memorial) is a strong indication we may have a future Darwin Award winner in town.

I'm seen him twice. He was

I'm seen him twice. He was making some fresh tracks yesterday right before Crowchild.

I've thought the same as you every time I see those tracks, but it may be that from down on the river there are tell tale signs that the ice is safe where he is skiing. I certainly hope that this is the case.

I tried xc skiing along the

I tried xc skiing along the path the Sunday after our last biggest snowfall. Even with that much snow it wasn't too great, I was wishing I had gone down on to the ice pack. Since I've seen his tracks lately I've been tempted to follow in them!!

Easy biking

The pathways through Baker Park and Bowmont Park were clear and relatively ice free, roads in the northwest seem dry and clear, and traffic was surprisingly light today. I didn't even seem to feel the cold as much as I had anticipated. Made for a great ride in today!

Pretty decent ride

I managed to perfect my layering, and was even a little too hot for some of the ride! I love my pogies, face mask and ski goggles - makes for such a warmer and pleasant ride. Plus I really like the anonymity they provide!

On the downside, I seemed to be running on fumes. Not sure why - I lazed around last night, so I should have been well-rested this morning. I'm going to blame reduced O2 intake due to my full face mask. Hopefully the ride home will be better. I've got some pretty mean hills on my route.

don't fume

the cold weather is a real stress on your body even if you do dress and feel "warm". The stress level is proportional to temp, effort, hills (like you said), and of course how long you're out there for.

An "easy-pace" round trip in above zero C weather leaves me energized for the next day, but the same "easy-pace" at -20C feels like my legs were beaten up.

Crashed last night

Took the long way home last night, and was enjoying a fast ride through Fish Creek Park when I found a large icy patch at a 90 degree turn/intersection. My first hint of ice upon looking around the corner was the wipe out tracks from a previous cyclist. I slid "gracefully" to a halt on the ice after both of my studded tires let loose, followed by leg, then hip, then body, then helmet hitting the ice. I now need a new helmet, but my head feels fine. Looks like there is a good reason to wear a helmet, since they are easier to replace than my head. My tires were slipping in other places as well, so it seems that I need to replace those as well (have 2 spares in the garage).

I must say I was amazed at how "gracefully" one can crash at 25 km/hr!!! No sore spots at all today!!!

Glad to hear you're ok

I can attest to the amazing "graceful" crash. I was heading down a pretty steep path last year, and hit a 15 ft long patch of ice. My bike turned sideways, so I put my foot down, and everything just kind of slid over and my bike and I horizontally floated down the ice patch until we hit pavement again.

face mask friend

Yes, my Seirus face mask is my friend these last couple of days. It's long enough to cover my neck, and I can pull it up or down while riding as I get colder or warmer. I put it to good use today while making a couple of 30-minute rides.