Posts Tagged ‘winter biking’

Seasonal bike racks

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

We recently visited the St. Clair County offices in Port Huron, Michigan. We couldn’t help but notice the less-than-useful position of their bike rack.

We spoke with County Parks and they said it was likely moved in order to accommodate snow removal.

Moving it out of the way may make sense, but it makes more sense to locate where it can used year round. Normal people do ride bikes in the winter. Canada’s Yukon Territory has a higher bike to work rate than California and Florida.

The Yukon Territory’s winter weather surely isn’t any better than ours.

It’s winter bike commuting, not the Olympics

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009


The Detroit News recently had a Tom Greenwood column on winter commuting.

As the Free Press did this spring, the media made the mistake of asking an advanced cyclist about commuting when they should have asked someone a little more entry-level. Rather than make winter commuting approachable, they made it overly technical, very expensive, and time consuming.

The “first thing” is to get carbide studded tires? If the roads are so slick and icy that you might fall, most people will drive or take the bus. Besides those tires are very expensive which only deters newcomers.

Gore-Tex? No, not necessary. Most cyclists aren’t going to commute long distances and can wear cotton and a windbreaker/winter coat. Even blue jeans aren’t a bad choice on dry days.

Shoe covers? Why not just have flat pedals and wear normal winter boots. You don’t need to use cycling shoes. You don’t need to be clipped into pedals. It’s not a race.

In the end, it’s unclear whether this article is about winter bike commuting or selling bike-specific clothing and accessories.

Is it even remotely reasonable to expect those riding to the corner store or to the local coffee shop to switch into an expensive winter cycling-specific outfit? No, just jump on your bike (any bike) and ride.

This photo from Copenhagen is a nice contrast. That looks normal. We’re guessing she’s not running carbide studded tires. That doesn’t look like Gore-Text. Those fancy red boots don’t have shoe covers. Biking mittens? They look like winter gloves to me. Simple and effective.

And she’s not riding on the sidewalk.

Share the Road: Biking in Detroit

Friday, January 9th, 2009
John R with four one-way vehicle lanes and negligible traffic -- an urban cyclist dream street.

John R with four one-way vehicle lanes and negligible traffic -- an urban cyclist dream street.

Metromode has a great article covering biking in Detroit, but more specifically those whose bike in the winter.

The Cass Corridor is cold, snowy and largely deserted outside of The Hub in Midtown Detroit this time of year. That’s not the case inside the new bike shop just north of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Bicycling enthusiasts of all ages, colors and creeds rub tires inside a space littered with custom wheels and vintage bikes.

There is a constant stream of people coming and going from the shop in the dead of January, and they all got there on two wheels. Cold or no cold, these year-round commuters brave the freezing temperature, ice and snow to keep on pedaling. The destinations for these die-hards are their jobs, local businesses, friends and families.

“The winter time weeds out all of the wussies,” says Jordan Bentley, the mechanic manager at The Hub.

In the article, Alex Aranda makes a point that we make often: the City of Detroit has some of the best urban biking in the U.S.

We don’t have a many bike lanes (yet) but that’s not always a necessity for many of us.

We have roads like Second Avenue, Third Avenue, and John R with four lanes traveling in one direction and very few cars.  How few? In 2005, John R saw 1,405 vehicles per day at Owen.  That’s an average of less than 1 car per minute on a four lane one-way road.  And we’re driving less now.

Austin, Texas is a designated bike friendly community.  Last year I was there trying to follow some prescribed bike routes using their excellent bike map.  There was no shortage of motorized traffic.  It was not the most pleasant ride.  The repeating thought in my head was I’d rather be riding through Detroit.

And, Detroit’s streets are so lightly traveled that an alleycat was purposely held last year when three major events were happening downtown.  The hope was we’d have enough traffic on the roads to make the alleycat a little more New York-ish.  Even then, it just wasn’t that crowded on the roads.

Certainly the lack of motor traffic is indicative of Detroit’s depressed economic landscape and overbuilt road infrastruture.  The silver lining is it’s great for Detroit cyclists.