Saturday, November 2, 2013

Icy Road Riding

Not very optimal riding weather this week. The last couple of days have brought lots of freezing rain, black ice and fresh snow (on top of the black ice). This photo is just after I got back into the garage after a slippery ride home at about 9pm. That is ice on the tank not liquid water. It should start cooling off and we should be getting or regular winter weather soon. I don't have much of a commute, only about 5 miles to the entrance to the university followed by another mile or so to my building. When we had the black ice, the rear wheel would lock up easily and didn't really contribute much to braking. We haven't gotten enough snow to tell if there is going to be enough grip from the carbide studs on the pusher.

Normally when on a bike, you tend to avoid the loose gravel but under icy conditions, I find that I look for the gravel. It has usually been brushed to the center of the lane or at the side of the road by the passing traffic. On turns and hills, I tend to either steer towards the gravel or the driest part of the lane for the bike wheels. The sidecar wheel doesn't seem to do much except support the sidecar except on left turns. Then, finding gravel with the sidecar wheel has more impact than the rear wheel of the bike as the weight transfers to the sidecar wheel. The studs on the front tire don't seem to touch the road except when turning which is generally good. If I notice the back sliding a bit (almost always to the left) when accelerating, steering to the left while backing off the throttle a little works well. Down shifting to slow down has to be done carefully as the rear wheel is very lightly loaded when slowing down.

I am finding that shifting your weight (off the seat on the left side for left turns and off the seat on the right side for right turns) is much more important for riding on slick roads. Especially to avoid drifting.

16 comments:

Martha said...

Phooey. When you said "bike" I was thinking...

I watched your streets do this via the cam.

VStar Lady said...

I am always looking for gravel shoulders when driving 4 wheels in icy conditions too ... but can't imagine what it takes to ride on two in winter (even with an added side car.)

redlegsrides said...

Nice job describing the actions required when riding on slippery ice/snow conditions! We don't get much ice here so snow is the main issue during Winter. Once in a while, we do get rain which freezes, with snow on top, then all the cagers loose their minds and panic. Then, I usually wait till all the morons have collided due to stupidity and too much speed, then go out riding. The rest of the cagers appear to learn from the morons' mistake and drive more cautiously.

I don't remember, does your sidecar wheel have brakes?

dom

Trobairitz said...

Ick blah, on the freezing rain. I'd take snow over that any day.

Good thing you are on three wheels.

Sorry - deleted the last comment due to user error/typo.

David Masse said...

You two (Richard & Dom) bring a whole other meaning to "hacker". Does either one of you own one of those great big flowing cowboy cape-like oil slicker coats like the pony express riders wore for foul weather? What a cool photo that would make. I imagine the side car gig heading into a snow squall in failing daylight, snow swirling in the headlight beam, the cape-like coat billowing in the wind, the rig stepping out to the left... all that's missing is a 30-30 Winchester in a saddle holster.

You guys rock!

David Masse said...

Doh... side car Rig... typos suck.

Then again, I suppose it could be a side car gig, but that's a stretch.

redlegsrides said...

Thanks David, though flowing in the wind invites said item getting caught in the moving parts....

They do make lap robes/covers....however if you want to read about someone really hard core: Hubert Kriegel's Dressed to ride in -40F. Note, click past the first picture.....

SonjaM said...

I take snow over freezing rain any time. Even on four wheels you can't control when losing traction. The link to Hubert dressed in his birthday suite is now burned into my retina...

RichardM said...

The bicycle has gotten sporadic use but nothing weird besides riding around the campus. It works okay on the ice but I don't feel very comfortable on it on ice.

RichardM said...

Gravel on icy and snowy roads is a good thing as it gives your tires much better traction. On pavement, not so good. There are a number of (crazy) riders on two wheels with studded tires. I like the extra security of three.

RichardM said...

I don't have a sidecar brake. But with little load, it probably wouldn't help much. I'm surprised at how little effort it takes to lock up the pusher when braking on slick roads. Sliding back on the seat helps some.

RichardM said...

A new profile picture! Yeah, freezing rain is worse than snow though the worst is still snow on top of ice!

RichardM said...

Actually, my youngest son has one of those that he picked up from the transfer station (PC name for the place you drop trash off) and it cleaned up pretty nice. The rifle scabbard, now there's an idea though not very practical for the regular commute.

RichardM said...

I figure that I can always add the other studs that I used last year. They are more aggressive but wear out faster. Hopefully things will cool off and we'll start getting normal winter weather soon.

Unknown said...

Richard:

Now you are describing what we have here. We seldom get powder snow. We always have Ice, or an ice layer with snow on top (if we get snow at all) so our roads are always slippery. Studs are not much use here in the city, as they wouldn't penetrate the asphalt. Actually more dangerous than actual ice rated snow tires and we have a lot of inclines and hills here. Vancouver is built on hills and the slightest ice will clog them all up as you can't get enough traction .

It sounds like too much work and energy to ride your Hack in the winter. I'd imagine that deep snow would be best for you. I also prefer snow over ice but here we have no choice

bob
Riding the Wet Coast



RichardM said...

Actually, ice is where the studs really work well. The intent isn't to dig into the asphalt but the layer or ice on top of the asphalt. Where they don't help and worsen traction is on dry pavement. As long as you have an ice layer or hard packed snow, the studded tires work wonderfully. Ice rated tires have soft rubber compounds and possibly siping (for more edges) but, in my experience, they don't do as well as studded tires on ice but do much better on clear, paved roads.

With the ice on the roads last week, I've had no problems maintaining traction even stopping and starting on hills. There were numerous cars and trucks off of the side of the road including several flipped on their roofs last week. Most, I suspect, were over confident 4WD or AWD owners that don't bother with studded or winter tires since their Subaru/Suburban/pickup is the perfect winter vehicle and will go anywhere. (Owners of full size SUVs, pickups and Subarus seem to be the most common with this misguided view)