I slipped on the ice yesterday. I’m leery of ice, but I realize there’s a lot I don’t know about real winter cycling. Please comment below with any tips!
I knew it would be icy out so I opted to have the five-year old ride his bike to school while I dragged the three-year old in our single trailer behind my cyclocross bike (Raleigh RX Womens–so pretty!). It came with knobby tires, which are apparently not knobby enough for Pacific Northwest cyclocross mud, but I thought their knobbiness might be nice for patches of ice. Don’t worry, Mr. Family Ride has already rolled his eyes and informed me that no regular tires are good on ice. He grew up with seasons, I didn’t. And apparently four years in Seattle haven’t yet changed me.
The four blocks to school were fine and the two miles to meet a friend in Green Lake were fine, but 100 feet from home I met with disaster. Here’s the intersection at 4:30 today:
But yesterday at 2pm it was blanketed by a solid sheet of ice. Someone uphill to the right:
had hosed down their car to melt the ice and their runoff didn’t see sun all day (and I’m not sure it got warm enough that sun would have made a difference).
I’ve ascertained two things in retrospect:
One) I think I may have fared OK if I wasn’t pulling a trailer. I saw the ice and slowed down (one-point-five: maybe I would have fared better going faster, too) before gliding onto it in a nice straight line. When the trailer wheels met the lip of ice, the bike jerked back and I tipped over.
Two) I should have turned around to go around the block and reach home from the other direction. That’s essentially six extra blocks, including extra hills (groan), but next time I’ll do just that.
I should point out that I was clipped in. Pretty new shoes:
but even putting a foot down would have resulted in me flat on my back with my toddler’s grinning face looming over me.
Cascade Bicycle Club’s last News Roundup included this BikeRadar article on Cycling in icy conditions and bad weather, which I admit I didn’t read until just now. I found the comments more entertaining than the actual article, though.
After tweeting about the incident yesterday:
Gah! Slipped on ice 20 feet from home. There were a dozen witnesses: the trailer containing my 3yo+11 stuffed animals I ended laying next to
— familyride (@familyride) January 11, 2013
Today I rode 30 miles alone on my road bike–much slower than necessary, but I didn’t fall! This is just downhill from my house and was solid ice at 9am, but had melted by this 4:30 picture:
Needless to say, I took to the sidewalk to bypass it. I only saw one icy patch where someone had watered their car on the west side of the Lake Washington Loop. Perhaps it’s primarily a Wallingford phenomenon? [Stop it! Get an ice scraper!]
So please share any pointers you may have. I think if we have any serious snow, I’ll resort to the mountain bike plus double trailer, as I did last year, but ice has me stymied.
For the record, I’m also bewildered that one can scrape an elbow through two layers of clothing while said layers of clothing stay perfectly intact.