Biking through a crazy snow day

Most days I would say winter biking is a safe venture, however yesterday was brutal. Along with having to negotiate snow piled up from previous storms yet to be cleared I rode through flurries to get to the Brian Kilrea Arena. I learned lots.

Pausing along Kilborn Avenue
Pausing along Kilborn Avenue

Here are a few things I discovered:
• Should have packed goggles.
• If it’s snowing, flashing lights front and back are a VERY good idea even in the middle of the day.
• Clothing with retro reflective bling is a good idea too.
• Most people these days think you are nuts to cycle in such conditions.
• I was forced to go down roads I would avoid in the summer, like the length of Bank Street between the canal and the Billings Bridge.
• I had to take the lane on many occasions – no choice. Fortunately every driver I encountered was good about it.
• Sometimes along extended stretches of road when I am taking the lane I’m OK with pulling over to let a line of cars pass, as I did somewhere of Kilborn. Within reason. Analogous to a tractor hauling huge bales of hay along a country road who sometimes pulls over for the same reason.
• It helps to be a bit familiar with which streets are slightly more travelled than others and, subsequently, are more likely to be cleared. Like Holmwood in the Glebe (cleared) vs 5th Avenue (not cleared, and impossible to ride down).

Now, why even try to bike in such conditions? Apart from actually wanting to for various reasons (health, environment, etc), folks who don’t have a choice, like those who forego owning a car and still have to commute, need to be able to ride through anything a car can. Here’s hoping these observations help. We have a ways to go.

This morning it was smooth sailing.

Author: ottawavelo


6 thoughts on “Biking through a crazy snow day”

  1. I always appreciate that you add the maps/routes.
    I have similar experiences in Hamilton but our snow accumulation is not quite as great.
    Do you have any traction issues? Do you use a studded tire? If I may ask, what tires do you use?
    I use a Kenda Small-Block 8 – not the best for efficiency but very good for winter riding.

  2. I have a studded tire on the front. It’s an Innova 47-559 (26×1.75/1.9). I’m a recent convert, this being the first time I’ve ridden with a studded tire, and I LOVE it! People zip by me, but that’s always the case. The safety difference is so much that I don’t even notice how much slower I’m going relative to my no-snow bike.

  3. It’s dangerous to ride in the snow. However, it’s dangerous to drive a car in the snow too.

    The only danger riding in the snow is other drivers and lack of snow clearing. If more people cycled in winter, it would be safer.

    Good that you are winter riding, don’t stop.

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