Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Slippery commute

Friday, January 18th, 2008

Our wet snow mostly melted yesterday, but with colder temperatures overnight, a lot of water and the bit of snow that remained became ice. It was about 15 degrees when I set out this morning. The roads were adequately salted and in pretty good shape, but the bike path was another story. I turned onto it to find patches of glare ice alternating with patches of rough ice. The snow and ice crunched beneath my wheels, an occasional sharp ice chunk grabbing my tires and making a “ping” sound as the rubber broke free from the sharp ice. I rode slowly and tried to keep my line as straight as possible.

I discovered my traction was better if I rode toward the edge of the path, rather than right down the middle where others had ridden and where there was only slick ice. The snow and leaves toward the edge of the path gave me a little extra traction. I was a little worried about the climb up toward the bypass, but it proved not to be a problem even though the path had a good layer of ice. Again I think the only reason I didn’t have trouble was that the ice had such a rough surface; otherwise I would have needed studded tires. The rest of my commute was uneventful.

I wish I had my camera this morning to get some good ice shots, but I left it at home. I’ll post a couple photos from yesterday instead.

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One advantage to commuting by bicycle: not having to clear off the car

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Bike path

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7th Street

I got home last night just as the apartment office closed, which was unfortunate because I have a package waiting there. It should be a camera I won on eBay, an old Yashica Lynx 5000 compact rangefinder. I’ll take it to Chicago this weekend, though, and give it a shakedown run there. I would’ve preferred to run a test roll of film through it before then.

5 Responses to “Slippery commute”

  1. Noah Says:

    Amen to not clearing off the car. Yesterday, I was met with the remark “A little cold for riding a bike, isn’t it?”

    I just chuckled. I didn’t feel like rubbing salt in his wounds. I’d be at my destination, warm and comfy by the time his fingers finally started to thaw.

  2. robert Says:

    Ice is the only condition that worries me when riding. Especially as we don’t get it often enough here to prepare for it. Do you use studed tires there in the winter?

  3. Apertome Says:

    Some winters we get frequent ice, but not so this year, at least so far. I’ve avoided getting studded tires and not had any problems as yet … but I have been using knobby tires and while it sucks having those on the bike when the knobs aren’t needed, they do help a lot in snow and ice. These are tires I considered rather worn out for hardcore trail riding, but they’re great in conditions like these.

  4. Tim Says:

    Thanks for all the cool pics. Found your site through Doug’s @ MNBicycleCommuter. We live in Louisville, but other than a couple concerts in Bloomington and an old NORBA race at the ski slope up there I’ve never biked/hiked your way. Love the snow pics most. We’re just south enough not to the get the snow youall do. Peace.

  5. Jon Says:

    I’ve been riding the studded tires for a week, or so, with and without ice on the roads. Having used my snow chains for a while, earlier in the winter, the studs don’t seem that bad on the dry pavement.

    And, I haven’t had a repeat of the “two crashes on the way to work” blues. I think I probably would have, this morning, without the studs.

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