Winter Riding Hazards
I would love a tire spike solution like that, but the first video confirmed my fear. Watch the front wheel when he is testing the device on ice. One of the splike panels rotates off the center of the tire to the side.
I recently had a rim failure that wrapped my inner tube around my front wheel. The sight of those cables makes me worried about the same thing happening with this device.
Maybe if they had a way to bring way more tension into those cables, combined with some inward-facing spikes to grab the tire tread, then I’d be interested.
I have problems with the design, too. Quite a bit of time in the winter I don’t need spikes so much as really heavy tread, and the surface of this device looks pretty slick, except for the spikes.
Yeah, it is a cool idea but doesn’t look good for traction when not on ice, and I wonder what the max speed is. The studded tires on my bike work pretty well in both regards. I definitely don’t corner as aggressively as I normally would but I don’t have to back off that much, and in a straight line I still do 30+ no problem.
As far as fenders, I think it is more just riding through the snow/slush that slows you down, more than any interference with the fenders.
mattjackets wrote:One of the splike panels rotates off the center of the tire to the side.
I would say it’s expected. The idea is the same as car chains — a cable is on both side and diameter of cable circle is less ten diameter of the wheel. So it has some “play” but would not come off of the wheel (different story if you have flat tire). How long it’s going to last? I have no idea. And we should remember — this is for commuting. Both Dutch and Denmark have nice infrastructure for bikes with their own traffic lights and speed limits. So this is not for fast ride (as well as most car chains post limits to 25 mph or even lower).
This year, I’m discovering one of the pleasures of winter biking: schadenfreude. Riding up a hill this morning, a car started to pass me, went into the other lane, got ahead for a while, but then started going slower and slower, skidding, finally had to give up and pull off onto a side street.
Advisory: if your normal commute goes down Bates, be advised that at 8:15AM I watched cars going down Bates sideways at the curve and vehicles were having difficulty getting traction going up the hill. I wouldn’t suggest taking the road down Bates until it warms up a bit. I rode down the sidewalk (in bad shape) tripod-style to get to EFT, which is slick as far as I rode on it, from Hot Metal to Downtown. Weather is weird, it’s warm out, but it’s alternating changing from rain/snow/sleet.
FYI, just saw something new on Pittsburgh 311 and DPW website.
Snow/Ice Removal Operations: Winter Storm Levels
The Department of Public Works classifies storm conditions into Levels. Levels determine the required response timeframe for a given snowstorm. Based on the Storm Levels, it will be expected that all streets will be serviced with clearly defined Response Times, listed below.
I guess currently, they are stating DPW is at Level 2.
It’s interesting to see that at level 3, 6″ “Parking restrictions enforced.”
Have we not had a 6″ snow this winter within 24 hours (or however they window it (btw it would be nice to know this))? I’ve yet to see any alternate side parking this winter. Might have been a challenge (my wife’s Jeep has gotten stuck many times this winter), but would have a large payout. I was gone one week in late January when it dumped in DC/Philly, so maybe I missed it if it happened then.
JZ thanks for posting that link. I live on one of the snow emergency routes they created post snowmageddon where parking restrictions would be enforced, but never found out how to determine the current level. They have sent out maps and other materials on the parking restrictions/storm classifications a few times now, but no mention of how to determine what level we were at without watching the news.
Looks like they also post the level on their home page, which says we’re at level 1 at the moment. The 311 Twitter feed notes when they went from level 2 last night to level 1 (around 9 this morning), but it seems they just recently started tweeting level changes. I bet somebody there is keeping track though.
My guess is that Winter Storm Levels just went live, it wasn’t there a few days ago.
I never understood how previously (i.e. Snowmageddon), there didn’t seem to be a coherent policy regarding snow emergencies that wouldn’t prioritize main arterial roads like the Fifth and Forbes corridor and Blvd of the Allies.
Argh, I hit a pothole so hard tonight on Centre that I lost my rear blinky. I heard it hit the ground so I pulled over but it had been run over by like 10 cars before I could do anything. So I got back on my bike only to discover I had also pinch flatted. I haven’t taken a good look at the rim for damage, but it was a ridiculously hard hit, at speed, and my fat ass was firmly planted in the seat, so I should probably check it out.
Some jackass was backing out of a driveway flanked by parked cars onto the street (isn’t that illegal?). I saw them early and thought that even if they didn’t see me, the PAT bus on my ass might be a very visible deterrent. Then, right when I got to the point of no return they started moving again, so I steered away and hit the pothole while I was distracted. Dammit.
I pinch flatted and bent my rim. The flat was a slow leak and the roads are so bad, I’m not even sure which pothole it was…
Please report those potholes on center. I’ve done so, but we need those fixed on this blitz. Center and neville are REALLY BAD.
The extreme cold has been causing the rear hub to freeze up. I guess some moisture got in there and has been freezing up, preventing the pawls from engaging. Lots of peddling with no energy transferred to the wheel. I thought the warmer weather after this last cold snap would resolve it but it never did. For a while it was catching most of the time but yesterday morning it would not catch at all.
Last night I tried dismantling it but couldn’t get at the cam and pawls. I ended up cannibalizing an old wheel. Except that I didn’t have any grease to repack to wheel bearings. What I did have should hold temporarily.
I’d been thinking of replacing the bike anyway. A number of other problems (derailleur and brakes) have me thinking that repair would be drifting into the cost of a new bike range.
The brake cable finally unfroze, but I should’ve taken 10 minutes to oil the chain. It reeeeally didn’t want to move for those first few yards, and I suspect everything else should be pulled apart, cleaned & greased. Sigh–time, money, downtime.
I’ve just kept up with spraying the cables and chain with WD-40 and occasionally lubing with Pedro’s. Works pretty well.
The single speed clown bike has done surprisingly well. Wish I had it earlier in the winter riding season. Hasn’t been kind to my regular bike. I’m perched atop a 3-way repair as is/rebuild with IGH/scrap after pulling a couple parts off decision.
jonawebb wrote:I’ve just kept up with spraying the cables and chain with WD-40 and occasionally lubing with Pedro’s. Works pretty well.
WD-40 is mostly water displacement. It has some mineral oils (http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/17-05/st_whatsinside) but i would use it to displace water in cables and then add something with Teflon.
As of last night, the Sandcastle trail is still a sheet of ice
Speaking of Sandcastle, the bald eagles nesting near there laid an egg two days ago. Note that they moved their nest ~100 feet east of where it was last year. The Audubon Society reports:
The Bald Eagle PixController cam is streaming live from the nest from 7am until 6pm. And we’ve posted screen grabs showing the egg (and the proud parents) on our Bald Eagle Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bald-Eagles-in-Western-Pennsylvania-Audubon-Society-of-Western-PA/128337160680295
Has anybody biked upstream on the GAP to Homestead or beyond, say to McKeesport, since the snow started melting? Is it snow-free yet?
To answer my own question, Yale and I biked from Hot Metal Bridge along the GAP to McKeesport and back, on Sunday. At the Waterfront we used the (potholed) road behind Lowe’s rather than try the crushed limestone trail by the river, which is likely soft. There’s some gravel on the trail near the Pumphouse, but tolerable. There was little snow on the trail until we got near Kennywood, pictured below. That was the snowiest section, and if you’re good at biking within a 6 inch wide track, it’s rideable. The eagles were out.
Intersection of Bates and Second to the access ramp to EFT is in bad shape. EFT not plowed as of 8AM this morning, not ideal conditions. Roads Downtown are in poor shape and slick. Take care, out there.
J Z wrote:Intersection of Bates and Second to the access ramp to EFT is in bad shape. EFT not plowed as of 8AM this morning, not ideal conditions. Roads Downtown are in poor shape and slick. Take care, out there.
Yeah… Level 2 with some salt shortage
Morning weather update, Monday, March 3
The Department of Public Works deployed 45 trucks overnight to plow primary and secondary streets and will put out 65 trucks and tractors starting with the 6 a.m. shift today. Road treatment materials are being reserved for bridges, curves, hills and intersections.
Anyone willing to report on the EFT conditions this afternoon? I am trying to decide what size wheels to ride tomorrow- mountain or road bike? I suspect it will require the mtn bike for a few days.
I’m also interested in EFT’s condition, my path took me to Northside to donate blood after work. How rough it is dictates how early I have to drag my carcass out of bed in the morning. Still in rough shape?
Tuesday morning. . . the Eliza Furnace Trail is mostly clear and dry. A few patches. Even in the narrows between the Parkway and the 2nd Avenue Lot. Snow covered though behind the 2nd Avenue Garage and T-station.
@kordite, I noticed that, too. Wonder what the difference is between today and other previous snowfalls, that the section next to the jail was done this time. Roads Downtown are much better, as well. Saw a lot of people riding Downtown this morning.
What’s different is that I have been complaining to 311. What would typically happen is the day after the snow the trail would be plowed from the Swinburne Lot to the Birmingham Bridge and the plow would get off the trail there, leaving the rest untouched. I complained several times and got a response from someone saying that they “ALWAYS PLOW THE ENTIRE TRAIL.” (their entire message was capitalized for some reason). I responded that was demonstrably untrue, explained how I knew it was untrue and made it clear that the next time it happened I would have photographs and perhaps video.
The next time we had snow they plowed the entire trail. well, except the part behind the 2nd Avenue Garage and the T-Station.
What’s interesting is in this latest iteration I could see that the vehicle drove that section of the trail and turned around at the bike rental place but had lifted the plow and not cleared that part. Not sure I understand that.
Cool. Good job, next time it’s unplowed, I’ll make sure to make the extra effort to attach a pic to the 311 ticket.
Their “service level agreement” is that they will plow within 24 hours of the snow stopping. My experience is that they will typically accomplish that for half the trail and they miss the rest until the next day. Keep that in mind when sending your email.
Forgetting about this thread, I came through there last night in the dark, headed inbound. My mind got into a trance-like state, sailing along an empty trail with a perfect surface for a couple of miles, then suddenly, 50 feet of uncleared frozen slush.
Can’t someone have gone out there with a shovel for five minutes sometime between Sunday afternoon (when the snow stopped) and Wednesday night?
I keep thinking I could seriously hurt myself by smashing right into the arrival of spring, but it it hasn’t happened yet….
EFT is unplowed this morning, nice fresh snow, though, hasn’t been packed down, yet and no freeze/thaw to cause any issues. (Many bike tracks, nice to see a lot of others out riding). Was fun to take out the fatbike.
EFT still uncleared as of this morning, 311 request entered, snow is starting to pack down. Encountered another rider going the opposite way who offered to swap tires with me. Seriously cold this morning, plan accordingly.
The Penn Ave lane is not yet treated really especially in the outbound section. I would just recommend using the road for the time being though this becomes more difficult going outbound.
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