The Chainlink

I just got back from a beautiful ride from the Loop to Uptown via Wells, Clark, Broadway, Halsted and back to Broadway post a Whole Foods stop.  There was virtually no wind; the streets clear; and traffic was light.

This morning's ride in on the LFP from Wilson to Fullerton was beautiful.  The path was clear of any snow and ice, the wind was just about non existent, and the zoo parking lot - running from Fullerton to LaSalle - was so clean you couldn't find a spec of snow. They must have been plowing since 4 am (I saw all the trucks!).

Riding home tonight I saw  two cyclists total. One at Grand and a second at Montrose. On the morning ride I didn't hit my first rider until Division and ended up seeing two other riders.

The hysteria and media created frenzy about the weather today was unbelievable.  You  would have thought it was snowmageddon revisited.  

Yes, I get that it's colder than normal for this time of year but when you are on a bike the difference between 25 and zero is maybe just a layer.  As folks on this site  have taught me,when you are biking your body produces so much heat that it's actually disposing of the heat that can be a problem.

I understand that it's dangerous to bike when it's windy and the roads are covered  with snow and ice.  I don't blame anybody for not biking then. But weather like today -when the roads are clear (at least  those that I took) and wind is minimal - can make for lovely riding.

So please excuse my rant.

My issue is more with the media and their revenue generating weather hysteria than it is with those of you who didn't ride today.  My suggestion is that for those cold winter days you decide for  yourself whether or not you want to ride based on what you see and feel outside (don't rely on the media reports!). And if you have the proper gear to ride in sub freezing temperatures - in my case it's "technical" cold weather clothes - go for it! You may like it.

And btw, I am not one of those hardcore dudes I pass on the LFP in mid November running in shorts. I get cold hands and feet  just like you all.

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Yes, what Madopal said.

Beverly usually gets good plowing and salting in most winters. I'm less than impressed with the start to this winter.

So far this week main streets look pretty clean, secondary streets are as Howard described, and side streets are either untouched or have only gotten a pass down the middle.

Madopal (5.8 mi) said:

h' 1.0 said:

does anyone else see signs that it's going to be the worst winter in recent memory in terms of city response to snow clearance?)

I think I get what h' is asking...the city side streets seem way less plowed/salted than suburban ones.  I can vouch for the same.  Riding from Portage to Skokie, it was ok in Portage/Jefferson, TOTAL crap in Forest Glen, and then amazingly fine in Lincolnwood.   And on the way home, the same side streets in Forest Glen were still dicey, and many of the smaller side streets by me in Portage are way worse than the suburban streets.

Couple that with the lousy salting/plowing response last Sunday, and yeah, it looks like Rahm has forgotten the lessons of Mayor Bilandic so far.  Heck, I believe my alderman lives a block or two from me, and his street doesn't look like it got plowed. 

Could be budget, could be that they blew their salt wad earlier the past few years and got caught flat footed with late snows, could be a little of column A, a little of column B.

It's not "nother winter biking thread." It is winter, the site is about biking, so you should not be surprised amidst threads about lost dogs and Mariano's if people write about biking in a new threat.

I wanted to reach a larger audience with this post hence I didn't want to bury it in the two threads you reference. 

One of the main points of the post is to encourage non winter bikers to get out there.  Those folks probably aren't reading the threads you mention.

It is not intended to serve as a general interest winter biking thread - nor will it be.

thx.


JeffB (7+ miles) said:

Nice post, but do we really need another winter biking thread?  Use "I rode today. Did you?" or "Winter 2014- who's still riding?".  Or better yet, let's close two of these and all post under one.

If it's important to Jo to have his very own thread we can see about closing the identical threads.

Jo, thoughts?

jolondon30 said:

It's not "nother winter biking thread." It is winter, the site is about biking, so you should not be surprised amidst threads about lost dogs and Mariano's if people write about biking in a new threat.

I wanted to reach a larger audience with this post hence I didn't want to bury it in the two threads you reference. 

One of the main points of the post is to encourage non winter bikers to get out there.  Those folks probably aren't reading the threads you mention.

It is not intended to serve as a general interest winter biking thread - nor will it be.

thx.


JeffB (7+ miles) said:

Nice post, but do we really need another winter biking thread?  Use "I rode today. Did you?" or "Winter 2014- who's still riding?".  Or better yet, let's close two of these and all post under one.

Thanks Jo, I need a kick in the derriere. This is also very encouraging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dBcefxQm24 I think I've got the winter clothing problem solved, as long as it's not too windy. It's ice that freaks me out. Can anyone offer some advice on studded tires? I'm riding a 2008 KHS Brentwood hybrid with fenders (and I'm not giving up the fenders). I've read about Schwalbe studded tires. The Ice Spiker looks like it might be overkill and I don't think they'll fit on my bike. They also have the Winter Marathon, which might be more appropriate. Studded tires are a real investment and I'd hate to make an expensive mistake. Then again, losing control and falling into the path of an oncoming vehicle could be much more expensive.

Switch to Fahrenheit.  It does not seem so cold when it is only -10 wind chill.

Serge Lubomudrov said:

Wimped out this morning, after seeing -25 degrees Celcius wind chill on my weather app.


I have the winter marathon's and for city riding they are fine.

Where are you encountering ice?  I ride only on major city streets and rarely if ever encounter ice (I'm limited to north side, clark, clybourn, wells).

Joe Guzzardo said:

Thanks Jo, I need a kick in the derriere. This is also very encouraging: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dBcefxQm24 I think I've got the winter clothing problem solved, as long as it's not too windy. It's ice that freaks me out. Can anyone offer some advice on studded tires? I'm riding a 2008 KHS Brentwood hybrid with fenders (and I'm not giving up the fenders). I've read about Schwalbe studded tires. The Ice Spiker looks like it might be overkill and I don't think they'll fit on my bike. They also have the Winter Marathon, which might be more appropriate. Studded tires are a real investment and I'd hate to make an expensive mistake. Then again, losing control and falling into the path of an oncoming vehicle could be much more expensive.


h'-

It is not important that I have my "very own thread." I wanted to reach a larger audience with this thread - those than don't read the dedicated winter biking threads which are narrow in their focus (who I saw, temp today, etc.).  

thx.

h' 1.0 said:

If it's important to Jo to have his very own thread we can see about closing the identical threads.

Jo, thoughts?

jolondon30 said:

It's not "nother winter biking thread." It is winter, the site is about biking, so you should not be surprised amidst threads about lost dogs and Mariano's if people write about biking in a new threat.

I wanted to reach a larger audience with this post hence I didn't want to bury it in the two threads you reference. 

One of the main points of the post is to encourage non winter bikers to get out there.  Those folks probably aren't reading the threads you mention.

It is not intended to serve as a general interest winter biking thread - nor will it be.

thx.


JeffB (7+ miles) said:

Nice post, but do we really need another winter biking thread?  Use "I rode today. Did you?" or "Winter 2014- who's still riding?".  Or better yet, let's close two of these and all post under one.

Hmm...I ride yesterday and today. I wouldn't say that Milwaukee/Damen and other bike lanes are clear. However, they are clearer. I don't mess with snow and ice. I don't mind the cold as long as I can keep my hands warm. It's the only part that still makes my otherwise wonderful rides awful.

Another vote for Marathon Winters for commuting.  Secure riding on icy roads but note that they arent knobbies and dont work well in packed snow.  I have them on spare set of wheels so I can easily swap them in depending on conditions.  I expect them to last though many winters so the amortized cost is small, extremely so in comparison with an injury.

Joe Guzzardo said:

Can anyone offer some advice on studded tires? I'm riding a 2008 KHS Brentwood hybrid with fenders (and I'm not giving up the fenders). I've read about Schwalbe studded tires. The Ice Spiker looks like it might be overkill and I don't think they'll fit on my bike. They also have the Winter Marathon, which might be more appropriate. Studded tires are a real investment and I'd hate to make an expensive mistake. Then again, losing control and falling into the path of an oncoming vehicle could be much more expensive.

I call it "picking my battles".  If the weather is really awful and dangerous, then I do use the car to haul stuff, otherwise, once the city plows the main streets and it's not too sloppy - I use the bike.  There's always another day or even, for a better window of opportunity.  

Just yesterday I had an inspiration:

I have a photograph of my father in a "great coat" and helmet (1944-1945) in northern France and Germany.  Geeze - he was fighting in a nasty winter, so how hard can delivering mail to the post office using a bike lane be? 

Nancy

"The Media" (bywhich I assume you mean local TV news) has to hype it because if they don't and it is a big snow, no one will watch that station and we'll be out of jobs (I turn the lights on for a morning news show).

Plus there isn't a lot of local news right now and it is a ratings period, so viewers translate to $$ because more eyeballs means higher ad fees.  New York (the font of all knowledge) insists that $ get sent to them and to make the $ you do your local news they way NY wants it done.

 

There are 2 of us on the AM shift at our station who ride to work a lot...no bad weather, just bad clothes, although I draw the line at 10 degrees windchill.  The past 3 weeks I've been dealing with MAJOR dental issues and the cold drops me to my knees with pain.  By the beginning of the 2014 all should be right and my wheels will be rolling again and my mind can get its required endorphine rush at 230AM. 

In the real cold, the first 3 blocks makes me question what I am doing, the next 5 miles reminds me why I do it.  When I don't ride, my Zeitgeist is tunnel vision, morally, emotionally, physically, appetitedly, intellectually.

Keep riding in this WX!  Keep the faith for me, ladels and jellyspoons, until I'm back in the fold.

 

BikeBoy5

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