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9.10 Pete's Winter Cycling Tips


This article is from the Bicycles FAQ, by Mike Iglesias with numerous contributions by others.

9.10 Pete's Winter Cycling Tips

From: Pete Hickey <pete@panda1.uottowa.ca>

I am a commuter who cycles year round. I have been doing it
for about twelve years. Winters here in Ottawa are
relatively cold and snowy. Ottawa is the second coldest
capital in the world. The following comments are the
results my experiences. I am not recommending them, only
telling you what works for me. You may find it useful, or
you may find the stupid things that I do are humorous.



I am not a real cyclist. I just ride a bicycle. I have
done a century, but that was still commuting. There was a
networking conference 110 miles away, so I took my bicycle.
There and back. (does that make two centuries?) I usually
do not ride a bicycle just for a ride. Lots of things I say
may make real cyclists pull out their hair. I have three
kids, and cannot *afford* to be a bike weenie.

People often ask me why I do it.... I don't know. I might
say that it saves me money, but no. Gasoline produces more
energy per dollar than food. (OK, I suppose if I would eat
only beans, rice and pasta with nothing on them.... I like
more variety) Do I do it for the environment? Nah! I never
take issues with anything. I don't ride for health,
although as I get older, I appreciate the benefits. I guess
I must do it because I like it.


Since words like "very", "not too", etc. are very
subjective, I will use the following definitions:

Cold : greater than 15 degrees F
Very cold : 0 through 15 Degrees F
Extreme cold : -15 through 0 degrees F
Insane cold: below -15 degrees F

Basic philosophy

I have two:

1) If its good, don't ruin it, if its junk you
needn't worry.

2) I use a brute force algorithm of cycling: Pedale
long enough, and you'll get there.

Bicycle riding in snow and ice is a problem of friction:
Too much of the rolling type, and not enough of the sideways

Road conditions:

More will be covered below, but now let it suffice to say
that a lot of salt is used on the roads here. Water
splashed up tastes as salty as a cup of Lipton Chicken soup
to which an additional spool of salt has been added. Salt
eats metal. Bicycles dissolve.


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