Thursday, January 13, 2011

Winter Riding- how it's going so far

This is my second Winter that I've been riding a bicycle in. Last Winter didn't count, due to the warming from El Nino.  There wasn't much snow last year, most fell just in December, so the roads were bare and easy to ride on.

Not this year!  Lots of snow has fallen and stayed on the ground.  I think it's going to be like that for the rest of Winter.  As I was having problems Winter riding with my Rocky Mountain, I bought a beater bike.  All I had to do was put on a new chain and it was good as new.  I will buy a rack and fenders later this month.

Riding has been great despite all the snow that has fallen.  I find that just after a snowfall, it's easier to walk as the road isn't always cleared.  I live on a main street so it's plowed pretty quickly after a snowfall, but usually during or just after a big snowfall, it's hard to bicycle in the deep snow.

I am glad that I live near a main street that takes me to work as it sometimes takes the City 4 days to a week to clear the side roads.  If they aren't cleared, I will usually walk the bike if I have to cross an unplowed street.  Despite not having studded tires at this time, I have no problems with ice.  I plan to get studs next Winter.  There's also been a few really nasty storms which force me to walk as the wind is so strong and blinding!  But it's been good, this week I biked every day and unless deep new snow tomorrow, will bike to work again.

I had to ride on the sidewalk this morning as the plows, snowblowers, and trucks hauling snow were out in full force and I didn't feel safe biking on the road near them.

All this snow has been great for snowshoeing!  It's nice not to have to snowshoe on hard crusty snow, the fresh soft snow is much softer to snowshoe on.


  1. Here is an idea for your beater-bike: Today's post is about a cheap and easy way to get studded tires! "BB" maybe just the bike to try it on! By the way, I like your last pic with the sun going down behind the trees.

  2. You are a braver woman than I. We had a sheet of ice for our driveway this morning, and poor Eric actually discovered why his morning shoes are called "slippers". He ended up leaving one of his slippers in the driveway for an hour after falling, because the ice was too slick to risk getting it! Riding in the snow... not something I could handle.

    Just so you know, I've been reading you steadily, every day. I may not comment, but I love your blog. Great stuff, and I find it fascinating when you discuss your riding equipment. Just so you know.

  3. Thanks Laura, it's nice to know that there are people from around the world reading my blog. It inspires me! I am glad I took this up.

    I think I will get studded tires next winter, even if only for the front wheel. Although they are no good on bare pavement and the titanium studs will wear down if I ride on a bare road lots, so I'm not quite sure if they are a good idea or not as the main road I ride up is often clear because of all the traffic during the day.

  4. Hi Carolyn,

    This is my first winter riding and I have a set of Nokian studded tires that have helped my riding and subdued all fears of black ice. I found this website extremely helpful in picking the right ones out for my riding needs.

    I also have started making lists of winter cyclists on twitter. They are listed on my twitter account at

    Best wishes and happy cycling.

  5. Thanks for adding me on the Twitter List, James. Compared to last year's Winter, this year is definitely my 'first' fulltime Winter bicycling. Last year didn't count as we hardly got any snow. I didn't bike much this week because we had a record dump of snow and the roads and sidewalks were in terrible shape.

    I biked on Friday in honour of Dottie from LGRB, who rode in -30 c w Windchill in Chicago. I had no problem biking early to work on the road because there were no vehicles that early, but coming home was tricky. Everything seems better now. It's like the city forgot what Winter really is like!

  6. Carolyn, that's great that you have committed to riding your bike to commute to work this winter. Though I take my bike out on weekends and on my off Friday's, to visit my favorite cafe's and run short errands, or visit friends, I haven't fully committed to commuting in the the winter. I did commute through mid-December, but not every day. The roads now are terrible and I'm a wimp when it comes to freezing temperatures. I admire you and Dottie.

    I've enjoyed reading your blog. Every year I say I'm going to get snowshoes and never get around to it. Maybe reading your blog will inspire me to finally get some :)



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