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Winter Riding Hazards

I just wanted to ask if there are regular areas around the city (shady spots, wet areas, etc.) that during freezing/wintry weather, become particularly hazardous to cycle on. I'm guessing especially with the grades and cobblestones, this town has some nasty little spots; icy patches on the river trails and so on. I've ridden around town a couple of times with icy slush on the ground but was mostly in town.

2012-12-23 16:50:14

Lower switchback ramp on the south side of the hot metal bridge. Hip bruises had by many. Fort Pitt bridge pedestrian path too. Sun barely hits these areas.

2012-12-23 17:38:55

Pretty much any north south road on a hill and expansion joints on the bridges (which are also at their wheel eatingest width in the winter with all the sections contracted from the cold) the ones on the three sisters bridges (6th, 7th, 9th) are particularly nasty and gaping.

2012-12-23 22:01:48

Pretty much any north south road on a hill and expansion joints on the bridges (which are also at their wheel eatingest width in the winter with all the sections contracted from the cold) the ones on the three sisters bridges (6th, 7th, 9th) are particularly nasty and gaping.

Also keep in mind that they don't plow so if it gets cold enough the slush sitting on everything turns into ice.

2012-12-23 22:01:49

I'll second cburch. Plus, anyplace where snow has melted and refrozen, expect a skin of ice.

Anyone remember the Feb 2010 shovel party on the HMB? Links to some pics in this old thread.

2012-12-23 23:00:29

Thanks for the info, especially on the Hot Metal Bridge. I can also tell you the sidewalk on the south end of the Eight bridge stays icy, too. That's one high bridge!

2012-12-24 16:03:51

Sycamore has a glaze of wetness on most days, even if the weather has been dry. If the temps are below 35 or so, that wetness gets a bit slippy (as the locals say)

2012-12-24 16:20:51

Possible light freezing rain area-wide today. Anything shady is going to be the last to melt off as the day progresses, assuming it stays warm enough to do any melting at all.

This National Weather Svc explanation came out Monday morning around 9:30.

It's rather techy; any "Z" numbers refer to GMT 24-hour time, so for example 1200Z refers to 7 a.m. in Pittsburgh. Thus, "VALID 241534Z - 241800Z" refers to 10:34 a.m. through 1:00 p.m. today, the 24th. Looking on radar right now, the precip area is mainly south of I-70, but it's moving northeastward. JSYK.

As I type this, it's already past 1:30, and it's still almost sunny north of town, but I suspect that 15 miles south is a different story.

2012-12-24 18:30:50

Pretty dark in Squirrel Hill at 1630. Raining, but not heavily.

Especially as it starts to get dark (hah) be extra careful in turns and corners, where (a) you and everyone else will want to go wide for control, but your wide and their wide may conflict; and (b) others may not be able to see you coming, even with strong lights.

A couple other things to watch out for I'm not sure have been mentioned--

- ruts and divots, like on Butler, may collect oil and other drippings which can make things slick and/or alter how snow and ice melt

- watch for piles of undissolved salt. Sometimes can act like gravel, sometimes like a particularly sharp speed bump. Sometimes can be _actually_ sharp.

Look also for guides to driving in winter, which every media outlet seems to run this time of year. Many of the same tips will apply...

2012-12-24 21:23:19

val, what is the "eight bridge"?

2012-12-25 02:24:18

i hit a patch of black ice last winter i was on the ground so fast i never knew what hit me the bike went out from under me so fast i dident even have time to react at all

2012-12-25 02:33:20

The news guy said that if the storm may still change course and depending upon that, we may get more rain than snow. Glad I have the gear to ride in it.

2012-12-25 15:09:21

CBurch, the Eight bridge (I don't ever recall the street name) is the one that's marked as Route 8 on the map, crossing from Shaler/Etna -if I'm not mistaken- over to the Highland area. The locks and dam are immediately on the downstream side. I've been trying to learn some new terrain, riding from Ben Avon through that way, and back up through the Strip, or over into Oakland area...

2012-12-25 15:22:30

It's the Highland Park Bridge. I guess Route 8 actually runs East-West, on the Highland Park side...

2012-12-25 15:29:04

Ah. That's why I was confused. The bridge that carries route 8 is the 62nd st/R D Fleming bridge downstream from the highland park bridge. FYI the neighborhood and the park are both highland park and there is about a mile of really beautiful new singletrack in there that you can access right around the corner from the bridge.

2012-12-25 16:30:47

I'm in the habit of sitting around poring over Google Maps, looking at new stuff to check out; sometimes it takes me a few times to learn the right names of places. Thanks for the word on that single track, is it okay to ride at night, there? Is it smooth enough to ride a cross bike on it? And, can you use it as a connector to any other good routes?

2012-12-25 20:41:27

It's super smooth and flowy. Perfect for a cross bike. The park never closes so as long as you've got lights you're good and it connects to the upper park by the lake/pool and also over to the cycling track on Washington blvd.

2012-12-25 20:51:34

It seems I keep finding new places to ride, around Allegheny County. I recently put a mtb rear derailleur on my cross bike and have been having a fair amount of success, tackling some trail sections around town. What I seem to be missing is how to cross that bridge South, and get on Washington Blvd. I have seen the sign but it doesn't look there's a way to loop around on a bicycle, that's not fairly dangerous. Maybe I'm misreading the intersection... I'll check it out on Maps, again, too... Thanks again.

2012-12-26 02:02:27

Nope. It's a compete clusterfuck to get to Washington Blvd.

2012-12-26 02:22:37

I think I'll try crossing the bridge on the left-hand sidewalk, and see if that doesn't get me over where I need to be. Are the single track or other trails well marked, or do I need tribal knowledge, to find them?

2012-12-26 10:17:06

Sidewalk isn't much better because you then have to deal with the hpb outbound entrance ramp AND traffic merging from the exit ramp. The single track is pretty simple once you're on it because there isn't much in the park yet, but the trailheads are not marked at all. Ill talk to the park steward and get the map file from him and put it online for anyone who wants to check it out.

2012-12-26 16:29:36

Anyone with disk brakes care to try the zip-tie trick? This heavy snow would be a good application of it.

2012-12-26 18:25:47

i have the brakes, but no where near wnough zip ties. :(

2012-12-26 18:31:31

What's the zip tie trick?

2012-12-26 19:10:40

hmm, gonna have to get me some of those on the way home.

2012-12-26 19:46:03

Rode home no zip ties, no sidewalk, and took the lane, all I did was drank a can of HTFU

2012-12-27 00:36:54

HFTU goes in pills only! :F

2012-12-27 03:29:48

Heckling tenderfoots for uncertainty?

2012-12-27 03:46:55

Sorry, "uneasiness" works better.

2012-12-27 03:52:16

actually, HTFU comes in an aerosol spray now,

I got some as a gift from a loved one

who seems to think I'm in need of it.

2012-12-27 04:50:14

Helps tallow freezing undercarriage?

I'm here all folks...

2012-12-27 13:21:05

@byogman, Oogle it. I had to, too. We've probably all needed some at one point or another...

2012-12-27 13:21:39

I always add HTFU to all of my meals. It makes everything more flavorful.

2012-12-27 13:24:39

Got the meaning, just messing around.

All the letters here are awesomely ambiguous, you can have a lot of fun with this acronym.

2012-12-27 13:26:10

Hot tea from Uruguay. NEXT!!!

2012-12-27 13:28:46

I did the ziptie "chains" today. it does work, but something of note is that you really need to have the correct ties for your wheel diameter. I have a 1.9 front and a 1.75 rear, 8" zip ties got the job done, but it would have worked better with 9". (TWSS!!!)

Pics to follow.

2012-12-27 20:47:13

So as of Friday at 6:30am, Neville going down toward panther hollow had ice/snow until a block or so before the tracks. The little uphill to the junction hollow trail is covered in snow and ice. These are both passable, but nervous people may want to walk. The parking lot is the best place to cut over to continue down toward saline street. The bottom of that trail isn't plowed near the gate.

The parking lot still isn't plowed at the jail trail trailhead on the Greenfield side. Take the far part of the trail if you are traveling that way. There are icy spots on the trail until the approach to the hot metal ped bridge, which appears to be snow covered still. The bates street overpass is ice with some snow. There is again another large area of ice and snow under the Birmingham bridge. The trail is clear with small patches of ice until the jail. I advise getting off of the trail near the road leading away from the parking garage toward first ave if you are headed downtown. The trail beyond the jail to grant looks to be untouched, but I saw tire marks.

The Point and fort Duquesne ped bridge are in excellent condition. There is just some slush on the higher up switchback.

It took me 15 minutes longer to get to work today than normal.

2012-12-28 12:44:57

Has anyone ridden through Riverview Park, since the storm?

2012-12-28 13:36:11

I've been itching to get up there. If it's something you could do as a lunchtime ride I'm game... really any day but today unfortunately (early sunset curtains my workday too much this time of year).

2012-12-28 13:45:23

I can ride during lunch on some days. Monday is my day off, so to speak, when I get to go ramble around and ride to my hearts content. I either ride road or a cross bike in/through Riverview, but would want to hit some trails if we focus on the park itself. Did you want to incorporate trails, too? I don't have every one of the sections memorized but I know the area well enough to put together some fun combos/loops. I like that you can combine pavement and trails to blast around the hillsides, and double back for more if you want. Sorry for rambling but I like Riverview. There's even a bar I've yet to check out.

2012-12-28 14:09:58

So Monday then, works for me. I'm always good for a brew mid ride.

As for trail riding, I think that would have to depend very heavily on how much things have cleared between now and then. I don't have studded tires, knobby tires, or even room for the "zip tie trick" between my rear wheel and fender.

2012-12-28 15:07:54

i bought a fluid trainer at performace bike in east liberty i tried running and hurt my knee so ill be riding indoors till some of this snow melts

2012-12-29 16:42:18

I'm about to take the bike for a ride now. If I waited till the snow melted I wouldn't have a job.

2012-12-29 17:06:56

Just saw a badass riding his bike down Negley toward 5th!!!

2012-12-29 17:20:15

I left my disc-brake bike in Chicago *doh!* I can't wait to try this out!!! Harbor Freight is a good place to get cheap zip-ties.

@pbeaver, how's the ride quality? Was it worthwhile?

2012-12-29 17:40:24

Studded tires, granny gear, blinky light, snow not a problem, cars passing too close problem. Still enjoyed riding in the snow.

2012-12-29 22:51:06

the concept of the ties worked well, could definately feel a difference in traction.

the ones i used were too short, and i lost about 1/2 of them on a 5 mile round trip.

(so i took the mtn tires of my +1 for now.)

2012-12-30 00:53:48

So after Saturday's snowfall, how do the jail trail and panther hollow look?

2012-12-30 12:33:56

I already have an ice pack forming in the driveway, so I suspect the Second Avenue ramp to the HMB will be a frozen mess soon, if it isn't already.

2012-12-30 14:12:11

the sidewalk ramp from second onto the bridge looked like it was being maintained by the building facilities dept for the office park. but insofar as only to where the ramp went up to the bridge, not extending any removeal on the bridge surface itself.

that was on thursday though, unsure of current status.

2012-12-30 16:54:34

This thread is misbehaving, not showing pbeaver's post on page 2. Let's see if this fixes it. ETA: Yup, that did it. Hope the promised message board fixes take care of this.

2012-12-30 18:06:59

Unicycle tracks!

One track out, one track back

One track out, one track back.

2013-01-01 00:21:37

I just went through Junction Hollow--it's slushy and icy and rutted, and is likely to be nigh on impassable when it freezes up. The Jail Trail is mostly good, except for a few places. I rode up 40th Street in Lawrenceville, which I think was a much better choice than Liberty--the Liberty bike lanes are full of snow (at least through Bloomfield), and I got buzzed three times in about two blocks.

However, still glad I rode!

2013-01-01 22:00:19

yeah the bike lane has intermittent piles on snow in the bike lane on liberty. not fun. a lot of it appears to have been dragged into the bike lane by people who park on that street.

2013-01-01 22:15:56

Ugh. Do you think it's worth a 311?

2013-01-01 23:16:24

Everything's worth a 311! I have found them to be pretty responsive when I submit requests RE the Forbes Ave lanes. Liberty gets a lot more use...

2013-01-01 23:21:13

from what i have observed any currently plowed bike lanes have been the rsult of a meandering city plow driver. i.e.: not intentional.

311 ftw

2013-01-01 23:23:17

Excellent--I'll send it in.

2013-01-01 23:28:06

Don't laugh at me but because I use the jail train every other day and the bike lanes are covered in ice.... I mounted studded tires on today.

2013-01-02 00:35:12

outbound Brighton Road, same story.

2013-01-02 01:22:12

I am assuming studded tires do give a bit more traction for forward spinning force, but do they do anything for handling in frozen ruts that throw your front wheel sideways?

The trail was barely rideable this morning- maybe some sun will help today.

I was passed twice by a city truck with trailer carrying bags of ice and two small snow blowers.

2013-01-02 17:59:29

The wider tires help with the ruts that are on the trail. Studded tires run from about 700x35- 700x47. there may be even more sizes available, I had little trouble on the trail using them. But they are heavy, slow, and loud. And when the snow is gone you hate having them on because of how heavy they are.

2013-01-03 00:46:58

They don't help that much on ruts, which are a total pain anyway. And they are really slow. But when it's icy and snowy out I'm glad I have them.

2013-01-03 01:31:15

Ruts are just as dangerous, unfortunately. The only purpose of the studs is improved traction on ice.

I just mounted a set of Nokian IceSpeed tires on my bike. I'll get to see how they work tomorrow because the bike path parallel to Penn is mostly covered with ice. Tonight I was able to ride on it with my normal tires (700x32, fairly slick) but only very slowly (~5mph) with almost no traction.

When I got to the other part of the trail around the ballfield it had a lot more snow on it. I've ridden through similar conditions on my MTB with knobbies hundreds of times without much of an issue... but with slick tires I slid off towards the side, buried the front wheel in the deep snow, and nearly went OTB down the hill. So I decided to walk the rest of the way. It took me >5 minutes to get through that part vs the usual 90 seconds.

2013-01-03 03:41:40

Took the trail home last night and it was not in great shape. Better than in the morning, but still mostly ice.

Rode into the parking lot this morning and it did not look promising, so I took Second Ave. The part where it goes completely dark in the overpass is always a good time...

2013-01-03 11:57:50

The snow on my sidewalk was crunching like styrofoam. Effing cold.

2013-01-03 12:51:58

Elmo, don't know your schedule, but if you'd like some backup on the 2nd avenue riding PM me and I'll try to make it happen.

2013-01-03 13:07:22

Ok, here's my report on the icespeeds: not perfect, but definite thumbs up!

In reverse of last night, on the snowy section they were not great. I was able to ride the whole way, so that's an improvement - but it was a struggle to stay upright and the rear wheel was slipping a lot. I suspect they're just not wide/knobby enough for serious snow, you really want 2"+ MTB tires for that situation. Also I put 50psi in them, lowering that might help.

The second section (east of Putnam) was easy going although I suspect that may have been aided by an application of salt this morning. I deliberately rode on the part that was still icy although it was a bit slushy. No problems at all.

On the other side of Putnam it was still glassy ice, and I could not have been more impressed with the tires. It wasn't quite like riding on clean pavement but the tires were not sliding at all. Definitely makes it worthwhile in my book.

2013-01-03 16:39:26

I have a nice chunk missing from my knee thanks to the lovely condition of that trail parallel to Penn Ave and my laziness about swapping the cyclocross tires out for the studded ones that I really needed. And I've still been too lazy to swap them out, so I've just been riding Penn this past week.

2013-01-04 18:38:13

Last night i was riding on the snow-covered trail at the end of Kensington that connects to Reynolds and found it not bad at all thanks to my snow tires (Nokian Hakkapelitta). It doesn't have ruts, though. But the only dicey part was going downhill, when I'm afraid to use my brakes. Otherwise, snow is no worse than slightly rough ground. And ice is actually perfectly nice when it's level -- very smooth and quiet, as my studs dig in.

2013-01-04 18:49:44

I agree with Jonawebb about the Nokian Hakkapelitta's. I absolutely hate 2nd Ave and these tires have kept me going on the jail trail so far. More importantly they have saved me on black ice and areas where people shovel snow into the street and not their yards.

2013-01-04 20:35:26


2013-01-04 20:39:55

Because they know they won't get fined for it.

2013-01-04 22:25:02

In some cases, they may not have any yard space or other place to put it. In others, they are too damn lazy and self absorbed in their personal me bubble to think about anyone else but themselves.

2013-01-04 23:49:17

So both walkways on the 40SB have been frozen over since last week and I'm getting a little impatient. Filed an online 311 but it's looking like it will still be a mess Monday.

Has anyone ever taken the lane on the 40SB? Tricky part is, I travel outbound (to Millvale) in the AM, so I'd have to take the lone outbound lane, so cars won't be able to pass. Is this a terrible idea?

2013-01-05 17:21:36

The Great Heussy Avenue Snowpile, Buffalo NY, February 1977.

If you want to put the snow in your yard so you can park the car in front on a city street, then Hell be damned, it can be done.

This pile was about 12 feet high at its greatest.

I wish I had had the forethought to take a picture of the rather unremarkable parking space in front of the house.

Remember, there was about a level-five-foot depth of snow in this part of Buffalo, with drifts to 15-20 feet, after the Blizzard of '77.

Heusey St, Buffalo NY, 2/1977

If you look at that spot on the map, you will see how close together the houses are, just like many Pittsburgh neighborhoods.

2013-01-05 17:47:04

So the temps are to climb into the 50s this week! Snow and ice should melt. How is panther hollow right now? I was considering going through there tomorrow.

2013-01-06 13:45:21

the city has finally cleared moest of the HMB as of Friday. a big section was plowed, but then it appears to hae had approximatley 9,456,242,563,542,356 cubic tons of salt dropped on the decking in conveinient 3 foot diameter piles.

and the ramps a the Americcan Eagle end are still kinda fubarred.

pantehr hollow is fine.

2013-01-06 17:47:00

I had a great from Ben Avon to Oakland and back, today. The trails around town are looking pretty good for the most part, with largish sections still covered with slushy snow and ice. I'm sure those sections are refreezing at night and are quite dangerous. It was a great ride and I saw several other cyclists out and about, mostly around Schenley Park area. I got a new 35mm knobby mounted on the back today, and tested it on the snowy trail from the Phipps Conservatory, down the trail through Schenley Park to the duck pond and across the railroad tracks at the bottom. It worked fantastic. All in all a great ride!

2013-01-06 22:45:10

anyone try riding the trail from the casino to western pen ill bet its still pretty bad after you go down river from the casino

2013-01-06 23:05:30

@Bear, you are 100% correct. The casino is at present, the line of demarcation for snow/ice.

2013-01-07 15:32:03

Did anyone 311 about the trail west of the casino? I sent in numerous notices for Panther Hollow and ETF, but rarely ride west of Carnegie Science Center.

2013-01-07 17:38:57

I haven't, but I did happen to msg the guy that blasts out msgs about traffic/weather for PGH and I know he read it and repeated it.

2013-01-07 19:56:19

40SB walkways are still a mess. Schleped the bike on foot on the for the AM commute and braved it in the single outbound traffic lane in the PM. The lane did feel wider than I expected. Drivers were patient and courteous, barring a couple 2-foot passes.

2013-01-07 21:52:45

The jail trail and panther hollow are pretty much fine now. It was painful using 35 small knobbies today. Yikes.

2013-01-07 22:58:02

i drove down to the trail before work this morning yea its still really snow covered with the warmer weather coming im hoping it will be rideable maybee by friday

2013-01-08 02:34:40

50's & rain expected thursday, i'd expect prettymuch everything to be rideable this weekend. a extra bit of mud here & there.

2013-01-08 03:17:01

schmenjamin: Tried to bike commute to my office in Millvale for the first time this winter. 40SB outbound sidewalk still basically impassible. Also, I typically take the sidewalk on the scary part of E.Ohio St. That sidewalk is still covered too, which surprised me.

So when you're going back toward the bridge, did you ride up E. Ohio St.? That little inbound stretch scares me because you get people merging toward the bridge off 28S and not even yielding to cars. I guess I will try it but I plan to be super cautious.

2013-01-08 15:56:44

@ Lea

FYI, as of this morning, the walkway on the outbound side of the bridge was marginally passable. It looks like someone may have taken some time to clear off a strip of the sidewalk. Still a very rough ride at points.

When I took the inbound traffic lane yesterday I waited for a break in traffic at the ped crosswalk by the Millvale trailhead, then hauled up the scary part of E. Ohio just in time for the green light. If I try this today I may pull over again at the beginning of the bridge to take advantage of the traffic cycle. Good luck.

2013-01-08 16:14:50

The trail past the casino is STILL all iced up, as of early afternoon, today...

2013-01-08 23:35:20

The Northeast Passage is still a friggin mess. Possibly the slicks were not the right choice today.

2013-01-08 23:52:58

Maybe we can use some of the huge piles of salt from the jail trail to salt other trails.

2013-01-09 01:11:38

Almost every year I have been able to shovel one of those leftover piles into a bucket to use on my driveway. I have thought about carrying a plastic bag to gather up some salt to redistribute to an area that needs it more when I am riding.

It will all be moot after this weekend's thaw.

2013-01-09 01:56:16

The feeling when you are leaving for work, the snow has melted, and you realize studded tires are still mounted on your bike.

2013-01-09 02:28:21

I wanted to give a nod to Sloaps for the post about the switchbacks on the Hot Metal Bridge! I was out for some beers and a ride yesterday and remembered that post. Two of the switchbacks were treacherous indeed but I managed to not bust my ass. Knawlidje is power!

2013-01-09 03:06:46

Plenty of spots of black ice on my ride this morning, but damn it felt good to be out. I took it easy and did fine.

The scary thing was that I think about 0 of the cars saw the ice they were all driving on.

2013-01-09 13:15:32

There were patches of ice on the switchback on the north shore side of the fort Duquesne ped bridge and a little bit on the jail trail in the area of the bates street overpass. But it was a very very pleasant and fast ride into work over.

2013-01-09 13:39:55

I motorcycled in. Same sorts of hazards, but going 2x to 4x faster. Black ice is everywhere.

2013-01-09 16:09:33

I have no idea how I missed the can of HTFU on the previous page. Awesome.

2013-01-09 16:42:07

acronyms again- I think I get the FU, but HT? Hear thee,?

2013-01-09 17:58:44

harden the fuck up

2013-01-09 17:59:59
I saw on Twitter that the jail trail has been cleared. The Brady St camera is unavailable right now -- but this is great news. Calling 311 to thank them. This morning, there was a plow going down 376 and I took some of the snow right to the goggles. Reminded me of getting pelted with snowballs as a kid -- I loved it. I just wish this wasn't happening in March..
2013-03-25 08:36:46
jesus. and i thought studs were overkill around here.
2013-11-25 22:23:14
fyi, they were plowing EFT this morning. much appreciated, for sure.
2013-11-26 09:35:00
Weird thing -- usually, in the winter, I find motorists to be more respectful, or perhaps pitying, but last night I got yelled at on the Triborough Expressway (not a good place to make a cogent argument about how I should get a license, BTW -- PG comments section is better), honked at twice more there, and then yelled at on Shady while I was waiting to turn onto Douglas. I don't think I was being more obnoxious than usual.
2013-11-26 09:48:44
Hey, a 3-1-1 email to thank the City for clearing the EFT would be nice. Let them know that people notice (and are appreciative....) It might encourage them to do it regularly!
2013-11-26 09:54:41
Swalfoort wrote:Hey, a 3-1-1 email to thank the City for clearing the EFT would be nice. Let them know that people notice (and are appreciative….) It might encourage them to do it regularly!
I'll do that, for sure.
2013-11-26 10:19:17
J Z wrote:Anyone try these SlipNots?
I'd be interested in an assessment of these too. Definitely overkill for the road, but I wonder if they would be a good solution for mountain biking when Frick turns into a skating rink? Being able to leave the same knobbies on all winter and just take chains on and off as necessary would be wonderfully convenient.
2013-11-26 10:50:21
Ate it a half hour ago, be aware that the wooden bridge/ramp that transitions from EFT/Jail Trail to 2nd Ave is iced over. Rest of the road has some slick sections, but be aware.
2013-12-06 17:28:00
The bike lanes on Forbes were looking really icy as of this afternoon; if you ride there you'll probably need to take the lane. Do any of you commute there regularly? What do you do about that? I'm trying to figure out my winter route to work, since I'm probably not willing to ride through Frick Park to Reynolds if the trails are alternating between ice and mud. Did some reconnoitering this afternoon in my car. So far I'm thinking of heading down to Thomas Blvd. instead of taking Forbes. Less climbing too - though that makes it colder!
2013-12-11 18:13:00
Not sure what your commute is but coming from Oakland heading west, I would always rather go through Schenley Park than up Forbes. When I ride to the coop from near Forbes and Murray, I usually cut through the cemetery, where often the roads are in better shape than the public streets.
2013-12-12 13:49:56
Finally broke down and picked up a set of Nokian/Suomi Mount & Ground studded tires, after a couple spills.
2013-12-17 08:53:46
Loving my snow tires these days. I haven't slipped since I put them on weeks ago.
2013-12-17 08:58:03
I ended up walking my bike going up the panther hollow trail on Sunday. A guy then passed me at a pretty good clip about half way up - yep, studded tires.
2013-12-17 09:51:16
I've only slipped twice with my regular RiBMOs and both were at slow speeds The Waterfront trail has a nice layer of ice for a pretty large portion of it now
2013-12-17 11:45:55
LAte night weekends, I assume any driver could be falling-down, blind-drunk. A not unreasonable assumption, except it pushes me me to the sidewalk whenever a falling-down, blind-drunk driver (i.e. any car) passes me. Lately the sidewalks have been near impassible.
2013-12-17 13:09:24
the lack of enforcement of the sidewalk shoveling ordinance gives the lack of traffic law enforcement a run for its money, that's for sure.
2013-12-17 19:59:27
and studded tires have definitely been nice to have this week, plenty of ice on the streets and trails. I might need to get studded boots for walking, though.
2013-12-17 20:01:25
salty wrote:the lack of enforcement of the sidewalk shoveling ordinance gives the lack of traffic law enforcement a run for its money, that’s for sure.
The city's policy is to only go out ticketing for sidewalks when they receive a specific complaint; they would probably claim lack of resources to patrol every street every time it snows. But the 311 form has a category for snow and sidewalks, and if you give them addresses, they send people directly to those houses and check, and probably leave tickets on the spot. It's annoying to have to record and remember house numbers, but if more people did it -> more offenders got tickets -> people would learn to treat their sidewalks -> we wouldn't have to waste time doing this, or struggling over ice and frozen footprints.
2013-12-18 08:29:29
I can see helmet cam video, or at least cell phone stills, being useful here.
2013-12-18 13:38:48
I signed up to be a Snow Angel this winter- with my two assignments, I know of at least 3 houses now in my neighborhood that will have the sidewalks cleared. Be the change you want to see.
2013-12-19 21:20:18
Good point, although there are a lot of able-bodied pricks who don't shovel - or even worse, their driveway is pristine while the sidewalk is a sheet of ice. I was signed up for snow angels but never got an assignment. I got the email this year about how they were changing the program, but I neglected to do whatever I needed to do to sign up again, so I should do that. Regardless, if I have the time I'll go up and down the block and do 3-5 houses near mine. Sometimes I'll go out to shovel to find one of my neighbors have already done the same for me. We've never discussed it, it just happens. That is how it should work. Conversely, some people probably look around, see their neighbors haven't done squat, and figure "why should I bother?" - especially when there is zero enforcement, and they probably use their cars to get everywhere anyways. Remember, our great (soon to be ex-) mayor's response to snowmageddon was to suspend the shoveling ordinance, which resulted in huge ice trenches that lasted the better part of a month and were downright treacherous. Meanwhile, we spent a ton of money clearing streets for cars and still got a nonstop chorus of bitching and whining from drivers.
2013-12-19 22:57:43
On several occasions over the years, I brought a shovel with me to work on the bus after a big snow. It got put to good use at bus stops, reducing or eliminating the mound between sidewalk and bus, and bus drivers quickly figured out to stop at those notches. 28X at Ikea, 9th at Penn, Liberty at the Hilton, Federal and North, wherever I happened to be. I don't know why more people don't do that. Oh yeah, it's a dangerous weapon. Forgot about that. (Most people just say "thank you".)
2013-12-20 09:54:43
You guys are making me feel bad... I've been neglecting my sidewalk so far this year... It's on the other side of the lot from my house, which is where I come in, so it's been easier to ignore :/ Also glad it's not just an outlying borough problem though. When I lived in the city I was much more diligent
2013-12-20 10:36:42
I have five elderly neighbors I shovel for, including two driveways. I don't even shovel my own driveway. I'm nutz.
2013-12-20 10:49:38
Can we get Marko a superman cape? Thank you, on behalf of your neighbors.
2013-12-20 10:58:32
@swalfoort, I don’t need a cape, I get paid with occasional cookies and other treats and always a sincere thank you. Besides, I really enjoy sitting and talking with my neighbors. Some conversations tend toward nostalgic stories from bygone days (some of which I’ve heard over and over) and some of it is up to date current political debate. But it is always a nice time to just enjoy each others company. I wish more people would slow down their lives and realize what they are missing by not helping others.
2013-12-20 11:41:58
I see there are shovels on the Hot Metal Bridge. Can someone PM me a combination for them? The last time I ran inot them and wanted to use one, the published combination did not work. :(
2013-12-22 21:19:31
On a somewhat related note, I noticed an interesting potentially missed design consideration on the Sandcastle section of the trail Part of the fence has plastic weaved through it (for what purpose I do not know) and about half of the fence does not The half that does not clears up fairly quickly after sun The half that does, remains icy for an extended period of time That section of the trail runs from east to west at about a 45 degree angle, so it seems as if the weaved fence is blocking the southern winter sunlight
2013-12-22 21:29:10
I assumed that the plastic strips had to do with shielding cyclists from noise/dirt coming from the tracks. You make a good point.
2013-12-22 22:19:41
Regarding Sandcastle, my speculation is that the opaque fence was to reduce the visibility of the trains for patrons of Sandcastle, not to protect the cyclists, because the opaque part of the fence ends near where the amusement park ends. I'm in Steel Valley Trail Council. I'll ask others and try to get an official answer.
2014-01-19 22:02:25
Regarding snow shovels on the Hot Metal Bridge, I see this article says there are high school students shoveling it: Users of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail could find walking and riding the trail a little easier this winter because a team of high school students will spend some of their weekends clearing snow from the path, the project's organizers said. The focus will be on the trail around the Hot Metal Bridge, said Nancy Schaeffer, program manager for the Student Conservation Association. She said Elizabeth Tata, president and secretary of the Laurel Foundation, suggested the idea. Because the organization had students working at the Southside Park, off South 18th Street, it was easy enough to put snow removal on their work list. “The kids want to work, and they want to make money,” Schaeffer said. “This will just be a little add-on.” ... The Laurel Foundation is funding the project with a $5,500 grant, which pays the students minimum wage.
2014-01-19 22:12:44
paulheckbert wrote:Regarding snow shovels on the Hot Metal Bridge, I see this article says there are high school students shoveling it: The Laurel Foundation is funding the project with a $5,500 grant, which pays the students minimum wage.
Nice! I've been wondering about those u-locked snow shovels!
2014-01-19 22:46:36
The shovel party after snowmageddon had everything to do with this announcement. (So many, many thanks to those of you who participated in that event.) The need for shoveling party members to bring their own equipment (and their willingness to do so) demonstrated a new need along the EFT. Within a year (or maybe two) the FOTR had started the shovels program along the trail. Volunteers were recruited, and given the combination to the locks (theft and vandalism where noticed the first year). Mikhail and others volunteered for that duty for several years....three maybe? FOTR is very pleased that they have been able to "formalize" the program to the extent that volunteers are needed only following extreme weather events. Of course, trails have also been added to the City's plow routes, but that seems to be an either "OMG, they've been here already" sort of scheduling or a "will they EVER get to the trail" frequency of operation, with little predictability. So, hats off, and deep gratitude, to the snow brigade, which set this all in motion!
2014-01-20 08:21:30
I still have that shovel with the busted handle. The lesson to be learned from it is that snow should be removed promptly, before it gets compacted, warms & gets soft, then refreezes into compacted ice. If that does happen, bring a pick. (ETA: Those plastic shovel blades won't last five minutes on compacted ice.)
2014-01-20 13:23:56
That timeliness of snow removal issue was one of the limitations of a volunteer based program. Hopefully the new snow removal team will be able to stay on top of things a little more easily.
2014-01-20 14:14:03
Pierce wrote:On a somewhat related note, I noticed an interesting potentially missed design consideration on the Sandcastle section of the trail Part of the fence has plastic weaved through it (for what purpose I do not know) and about half of the fence does not The half that does not clears up fairly quickly after sun The half that does, remains icy for an extended period of time That section of the trail runs from east to west at about a 45 degree angle, so it seems as if the weaved fence is blocking the southern winter sunlight
I asked Jack Paulik, project manager for the Regional Trail Corporation, who coordinated the trail construction at Sandcastle (and most of the Steel Valley Trail) about the woven plastic and he said: "The screening was installed when we were very close to the tracks to prevent trail users from flying debris and the uncomfortable feeling of close trains." So Ahlir's guess was right.
2014-01-20 22:12:27
Ugh, I hate cold weather. I haven't been out since Monday.
2014-01-22 08:25:39
Most of the jail trail was plowed. Slightly disappointed cause I had my fat bike today but I was happy for people on more regular bikes.
2014-01-22 08:44:21
I've noticed over the last week couple of weeks that when the temp drops into the teens, it only takes about a mile of riding for ice crystals to start to build up in my beard. I don't think the ice is really any cause for concern, as it isn't in direct contact with my skin, and it only tends to happen where my face-muff is longest. The funny thing is I can really only tell it's there when I try to move my facial muscles; the ice causes my beard to bunch up and that gives resistance to my movements. It's a strange feeling. For me, the best part of winter riding are the looks I get when I walk into places with what is literally an icy face.
2014-01-22 09:10:00
Jay, this is not a scientific response to your question, but an observational one. In many parts of the US, frozen beards are experienced regularly between November and April. I think there is little risk with occasional beard icing. I would think that it if was a problem I would have beard about it before now, given my experience in wintry climes. Backing that up is the observation that snow is actually a garden protector. The snow is warmer than that below zero air temps, and keeps the ground a little warmer. The same could probably be said for the ice in your beard. You exhale damp air, it crystallizes in your beard, the build up of ice them represents a more impermeable barrier than the beard itself. Hard to believe that this would be harmful to your skin. (different story if ice is building up ON your skin, of course.) And yes, that frozen, crunchy first series of movements is interesting, huh? I've never experienced it first hand with a beard, but used to watch my ex when he had a beard. And, I've had more frozen hair days than I can count.
2014-01-22 09:27:41
Swalfoort wrote:Mikhail and others volunteered for that duty for several years….three maybe?
For me this year is the third one. Cleaned yesterday HMB ramps after work and some "sand traps" (where geometry of ramps and bridge slightly changes and tractor-truck could not remove all snow) as one of bike commuters said. BTW some lights on HMB are out. Is 311 going to work if I complain?
2014-01-22 09:47:15
My voice was hoarse when I got to work. I think I've had having a few incidences of exercise induced asthma as a result of the sub-zero temps. Not typical for me, I need to figure out how to mitigate that. I havn't used an inhaler since I was in grade school, so I've been untreated for a long time. Don't typically have issues.
2014-01-22 09:58:05
@benzo, while not a complete solution, you could try chewing some gum while you ride. It sorta helps keep your mouth shut so you breathe more through your nose which warms the air a little before it hits your lungs. Keeping your exertion level down helps too, but them damn hills keep getting in the way.
2014-01-22 11:03:26
Benzo wrote:My voice was hoarse when I got to work. I think I’ve had having a few incidences of exercise induced asthma as a result of the sub-zero temps. Not typical for me, I need to figure out how to mitigate that. I havn’t used an inhaler since I was in grade school, so I’ve been untreated for a long time. Don’t typically have issues.
You ride w/ a balaclava? I actually doubled up on them today, reduced the incidence of cold air exercise induced asthma, for me.
2014-01-22 11:19:49
The first thing I do when I step out my door is 1/5 of a mile climb up main st (about 7%-ish grade). The bonus is that it gets me warmed up for the rest of my ride, keeping me relatively comfortable on the coldest days. However, My nose is usually stuffy in the mornings, so I'm usually breathing through my mouth till my activity gets things moving. I find that keeping a thick covering on my neck helps with some heat loss and prevents this when it's a bit warmer (double digits). It doesn't really help below single digits as much. I usually wear a thick fleece one when it's under 15 degrees. I've got a thin wool one for warmer temps. Trying to keep my balaclava over my face just tends to fog up my goggles, and I don't really need it otherwise since my beard keeps me relatively warm as it slowly grows a protective ice covering. Maybe I should try busting out the neti pot and clearing my sinuses before going out in the morning?
2014-01-22 11:39:41
One thing I found worked great this morning was after putting on chap stick to protect my lips, I smeared some extra on my nose to protect it from the wind. It really helped a lot. I felt like I was going to get frostbite on my nose during the last arctic blast.
2014-01-22 11:42:50
One thing that I've found with goggles and balaclava is that my goggles fog less if I make sure to tuck the top edge of the balaclava under the goggles for a no-exposed-skin setup. Not totally sure why this works, but it's pretty effective for me. I don't end up with cool ice-beard, but it definitely spares my lungs the super cold air.
2014-01-22 12:55:04
Benzo wrote:However, My nose is usually stuffy in the mornings,
If you don't mind I can show how kids are taught in Russia to breath through tongue while skiing during cold weather. It's a normal winter temperature 0F(-19C) where I was born.
2014-01-22 12:57:35
Mikhail wrote:I can show how kids are taught in Russia to breath through tongue
I think we'd all like to learn this new skill.
2014-01-22 13:30:02
I rode today after taking yesterday off. It was fun. I overdressed.
2014-01-22 13:37:07
jonawebb wrote:
Mikhail wrote:I can show how kids are taught in Russia to breath through tongue
I think we’d all like to learn this new skill.
At one point I explained it here but it's hard to explain -- I'll try it one more time. It's much easier to show one time. so next time you see me just remind me to show it to you. Idea is to put end of tongue to the almost same position as when as when you pronounce sound "L" -- just above front top teeth but curl you tongue all the way up so bottom of tongue end touches that place. Now try to breath in. Air should hit tongue and go along cheeks warming up. If you need more air open mouth a little bit more and curl tongue more slightly shifting end of it deeper still touching top of your mouth. When you breath out you lower your tongue So tongue plays role of some kind of valve completely closing direct access to your throat for cold air. Both tongue and cheeks have enough blood vessels to warm up quickly and air you are breathing out helps also. Pretty soon it becomes a habit to breath like this.
2014-01-22 15:26:12
EFT is in bad shape this morning, slow going. Be advised if you're going to attempt it, tomorrow. If anyone finds the front half of a Planet Bike Superflash with a pair of rechargeable Duracells in there somewhere on the trail or in Oakland, let me know. Lost it today, thanks.
2014-01-27 10:46:27
I only saw other fat bike tires at 530am today. I tried to warn people on fb that if they attempted it on skinny tires, they may have a bad time.
2014-01-27 11:19:56
On the way home yesterday from the Waterfront the bridge sidewalk was impassable even with my snow tires. A fat bike would have been a good idea. I ended up taking the road, which was a scary mess.
2014-01-27 11:31:35
stefb wrote:I only saw other fat bike tires at 530am today. I tried to warn people on fb that if they attempted it on skinny tires, they may have a bad time.
I rode in late on the EFT with, well, not skinny tires, but not at all knobby ones either. Slow going, sure. But I had a fun enough time anyway. Your expectations just have to be in the right place and you have to derive enough enjoyment from the fact that most people think you're crazy.
2014-01-27 11:59:08
This winter has provided some novel experiences: some were old lessons that needed to be re-learned & there is always the new equipment/winter conditions experimenting. 1. Its a testimony to how mild the last 4 or so winters have been that this time I've not been tempted to swap my studded tires for anything less slow & heavy. 2. Saturday's additional snowfall prevented my normal commute home up through Schenely Park, I could barely move an inch forward for every foot of sideways slippage. That hasn't happened before. Had to hike the bike up the steps to the road and so go through the golf course. 3. If you're gonna ride with rim brakes in these conditions, having cartridge pads that can slide out and be scrubbed clean and reinserted all within 15 min, well thats been really helpful (this means not inserting the cotter pin, but the pin seems to be superfluous anyway).
2014-01-27 14:26:15
jonawebb wrote:On the way home yesterday from the Waterfront the bridge sidewalk was impassable even with my snow tires. A fat bike would have been a good idea.
Seeing as these bikes are $1100 and up, I can only hope that someone, someday will rent theirs out so I can try the snow of course.
2014-01-27 14:32:20
meaculpa wrote: 3. If you’re gonna ride with rim brakes in these conditions, having cartridge pads that can slide out and be scrubbed clean and reinserted all within 15 min
With a multi-tool (or allen wrench), this can be done to brake pads with threaded posts in 15 min, easy. You can also accomplish this by undoing the quick release on V-brakes or cantilever brakes and not have to remove anything. just sayin.
2014-01-27 17:13:16
Hey, the streets are just fine. Yes, it's frackin' cold (though for some reason only on downhill). Yes, there's all this frozen snow clogging up the streets. But consider this: a) A bike tire slices right through the goop, and unless you're careless and end up on ice it's not all that much different from rain. My 32mm city slicks work great (until I get on a trail). b) Car drivers are eerily nice. But maybe they're just following behind hoping to see you slip and die in some horrible satisfying way. c) Disc brakes work just as well as under any other conditions. I haven't noticed any difference (well, true, I'm not hammering down the hills). Some practical things: I don't do the bunny hop. But banging the bike up and down on the ground doesn't seem to get all that much crud off the bike. Other than getting down (and yucky cold) what can you do? Assume that putting the bike in a warm space is not an option. All this salt and street dreck is starting to bug me. What do you do? My thought is to go (on an above-freezing day) to a self-serve car wash that has hot/warm water and hose the bike down. Anybody do this? Is there such a thing as a Take-You-Bike-to-a-Car-Wash Day? (seeing as you could probably run n bikes through in the time allotted for a car)
2014-01-27 19:04:54
The bike mechanic I asked recommended wiping the chain down with a damp cloth, to get the salt off, at the end of each ride.
2014-01-27 19:19:25
Ahlir wrote:My thought is to go (on an above-freezing day) to a self-serve car wash that has hot/warm water and hose the bike down. Anybody do this?
I do that all the time. There's a car wash next to where I work that I use sometimes, or the one on Greenfield Ave. You can even clean the chain that way. Works great. Between washes I just lubricate a lot, and try not to look at the buildup of ugly gunk.
2014-01-27 19:22:04
It does work great, but be very careful with where you direct the high pressure water. Over in motocross world people use car washes and pressure washers to clean bikes all the time, but are cautious about aiming the high pressure spray at suspension linkages, seals, bearings, etc. On bicycles, the high pressure water can push itself, along with a good deal of dirt, right past the seals on your head set, pedals, bottom bracket, etc. and prematurely wear out those bearings. I'm not saying it's a bad idea; just give some thought to where you are directing the high pressure spray.
2014-01-27 19:57:26
J Z wrote: anyone try these? I like the idea better than the chemical throwaway heaters.
On Amazon (, a number of people are saying they don't like these Lectra Sox: "I wore these socks with my boots while working outside and they hurt my feet horribly-the wire goes under your toes and after a few minutes it feels like you are walking on rocks or something. I was limping by the end of my work and my feet hurt for two days afterward. Aside from that, they barely even got warm!" BTW, here's some discussion of the chemicals in oxidation-based hand warmers. They don't sound too nasty.
2014-01-27 22:24:41
@jz, those battery socks don't seem to last very long because the heating wire is very thin and breaks easily. I had a pair for ice fishing and they only lasted a few trips. I've heard other guys with the same complaint.
2014-01-27 22:49:46
@marko82 shoot, I was hoping. I went with these this morning for feet, and a pair of the handwarmers slotted in my trigger finger gloves. Good enough, I suppose, but there has to be a better solution than the standard multi-layers of socks, plastic bag, booties combo. I saw something online, remote controlled rechargeable insoles, but the cost/benefit is prohibitive.
2014-01-28 09:40:27
@paulheckbert thanks for posting that link, didn't realize there were "rechargable" handwarmers. "Your best bet is to look into reusable hand warmers that function a bit differently from hand warmers of the disposable variety. Perhaps least expensive are reusable hand warmers that generate heat through the exothermic crystallization of a supersaturated solution. These types of hand warmers are triggered by a metal device within the packet and can be “recharged” when boiled in water."
2014-01-28 09:44:22
FWIW, I did just order a pair of those military trigger finger gloves off ebay for $13 shipped. I'm willing to see how they work, and maybe I can use them as an extra shell over my other gloves.
2014-01-28 11:17:51
To clean my bike in the winter, since I don't have a hose hooked up, I keep one of these hand pump lawn sprayers (about $30 or less at most hardware stores) by my door. You can rinse off your bike before you bring it inside. Then wipe it down and lube the chain indoors.
2014-01-28 11:21:59
@Benzo Broadway Army/Navy downtown carries them for around US$20 and has wool glove liners, too, if anyone is in the market.
2014-01-28 11:28:21
On the original topic, Pocusset St is a mess. Under the snow is a layer of bumpy ice to throw your tires about. My skis can bust through that kind of stuff (known as "crud") - bicycle, not so much.
2014-01-28 12:20:17
@JZ - Thanks for the heads up, I've got some on the way, but I've been looking for an army/navy store that I don't have to drive to.
2014-01-28 13:07:26
Mikhail wrote:Recommendation is to get it on for about 10 minutes every hour.
well that's one way to keep warm...
2014-01-28 13:22:43
I haven't tried this myself, but seems you could jigger together a big plastic sheet (like would wrap around a new mattress), a big super-soaker squirt gun, and a bunch of old towels or sheets. Instant car wash bay. A few well aimed squirts of warm soapy water, then sop it all up and throw the towels in the tub to drip dry.
2014-01-29 15:07:13
What are conditions like on the jail trail and junction hollow trails now?
2014-01-29 17:35:03
chinston wrote:What are conditions like on the jail trail and junction hollow trails now?
Fine. Couple of sections between the Parkway retaining wall and the *cough* jail have a little bit. Access ramp to Second going to Bates in bad shape. Don't know past the Second Ave access ramp towards Hot Metal, but looks clear from what I can see. Don't know re: Junction Hollow.
2014-01-29 20:00:43
2014-01-29 20:05:17
It is my happy derp face!!!
2014-01-30 04:09:46
@stefb, It is impossible not to have that face when you are on a fat bike! They are an absolute blast. What brand / model is yours?
2014-01-30 05:46:57
I must be the only one that make a fat-bike frowny face.
2014-01-30 10:10:48
24 degrees outside! It's like springtime!!!
2014-01-30 12:35:51
How is the North Shore Trail for a road bike right now? I haven't ridden in the past couple of weeks. Just wondering if I should take the streets from the North Side to Bellevue or the trail.
2014-01-30 15:52:00
You don't like fat bikes, Eric?
2014-01-31 05:26:11
I would like To ride in the cold sun and ride a big FAT one some SNOWY DAY
2014-01-31 06:31:22
Other than the expense, what about fenders for the fat bike? I have to have fenders so I don't get soaked and full of crud on the way to work. For the few snow days, I don't think I will ever spend the money. Fun to ride though. Just rides right over big curbs or whatever.
2014-01-31 09:25:23
Seems like a fat bike would work equally well among sand, palm trees, hammocks, and rummy drinks. Hmmm.
2014-01-31 09:35:37
Dave's mudshovels. And yes, I would love to ride on a beach.
2014-01-31 19:38:33
I biked Friday with Yale (temps about 40F, some wind) and the trail conditions we observed: Eliza Furnace Trail is good (no snow), but many whitish salt stains on the trail that can look like ice at times. A little slush near the jail. The sidewalks around the Point are good on Mon side, but some mud and snow on Allegheny side. Continuing up the Allegheny from the Point, the trail was good to the 8th St Bridge ramp, but the ramp had snow. On Northside, upstream of the 9th St bridge, where the gravel begins, the trail was snowy. From 9th St bridge past the stadiums to almost the West End Bridge was clear. Both the snow and the goose droppings had been plowed aside. The Fort Duquesne Bridge bike/ped path was fine. I didn't try the Fort Pitt Bridge; I suspect it was icy. Smithfield St Bridge was fine. Southside Trail was pretty good (a few spots of snow) all the way upstream to the Hot Metal Bridge, but upstream of the Steelers Practice Field it got snowy/icy. HMB itself was fine. The Allegheny River is iced over all the way across in a number of places, but the Mon has more open water. The ducks, seagulls, and geese are having a fun time walking on the ice. All of this will be melting further this weekend, of course.
2014-02-01 02:05:02
paulheckbert wrote:the Mon has more open water
The Mon is active int a sense that quite few barges have been moved during last week.
2014-02-01 08:38:47
The Sandcastle/Costco end of the Steel Valley Trail is snow/slush/ice but passable if you have the right tires and disposition (saw some tracks). The Homestead Greys' sidewalk was surprisingly clear and even dry on the bridge itself. Ice and slush (but mostly navigable) on sidewalk at the Greenfield side. I would expect much or all of this will clear up in the next day or so.
2014-02-01 13:36:40
Anyone know pocusset street conditions?
2014-02-01 14:01:40
gg wrote:Other than the expense, what about fenders for the fat bike? I have to have fenders so I don’t get soaked and full of crud on the way to work. For the few snow days, I don’t think I will ever spend the money. Fun to ride though. Just rides right over big curbs or whatever.
Stef has fenders on her pugsley. It's not just for commuting a when the trails are crappy. It's also super fun for riding in the woods year round and is her rigid MTB option.
2014-02-01 15:10:46
Super jealous. I've taken out my 2.35" shod bike twice in the deep stuff, it's frustrating.
2014-02-01 16:01:42
"The Sandcastle/Costco end of the Steel Valley Trail is snow/slush/ice but passable if you have the right tires and disposition (saw some tracks)." I walked from Keystone to SS yesterday on that section of the trail and another guy was walking in the opposite direction. It sucked. It was too slushy for my slicks to grip and too hard to easily ride over and my brakes were covered in icy slush.
2014-02-01 22:15:12
Yeah, this is what the Baldwin Borough Trail looked like, a bit downstream of the Glenwood Bridge, this afternoon. It was drizzling, 35F, with somewhat icy slush on most of the trail - trail conditions are still poor there.
2014-02-02 17:45:33
gg wrote:Other than the expense, what about fenders for the fat bike? I have to have fenders so I don’t get soaked and full of crud on the way to work. For the few snow days, I don’t think I will ever spend the money. Fun to ride though. Just rides right over big curbs or whatever.
Fatbikes are expensive. Tires cost as much as car tires. There is no way to cost justify them. Unless you place monetary value on FUN! In any given weather, terrain,road, trail, whatever, my Fatbike is the most fun experience of all my bikes. Once you get used to adjusting tire pressure to suit conditions, the traction you can achieve is unbelievable. That said, they will take a bit more effort on hard surfaces. Offroad and snow is where they really shine, it is what I imagine driving a monster truck would feel like. No trail? No problem. Fatbike just rolls. I have ridden in 5-6 inches of snow, and it is definitely slow going. Some people claim float, but my experience has been more about traction(maybe I am too fat and slow to float). Normal Pittsburgh snow and slush are no problem at all. They come in all price ranges, from the $200 WalGoose to $5K carbon fiber race rigs, and you can get fenders, both clip-on and full coverage. I suggest one for everyone.
2014-02-03 07:13:44
If you lived in the Apostle Islands (see pualheckberst's pics) at fat bike would be necessary if you wanted to bike more than 6 months of the year.
2014-02-03 11:36:43
This morning, riding in Monroeville, the snow was pretty bad. I was amused to ride past cars that were abandoned on side roads, while going faster than motorists on main roads.
2014-02-03 13:14:03
Jail trail full of icy tracks. Recommend alternates.
2014-02-04 07:48:39
I know! I was disappointed to see that this morning. Still there were a couple of other crazies riding it this morning as I was. I am planning on returning to the East End via Center Ave to Craig to Forbes this evening.
2014-02-04 11:11:20
EFT/Jail Trail pretty clear, some very slick spots/rutted ice at the usual expected places that you can see due to the dusting of snow, so take care, don't know if that will be the case this afternoon. If you don't already, ignore the connector to the ramp from Bates to Second and just take Second to the cutout next to the ramp. I didn't ride, yesterday, but kudos to those of you I saw slogging through. I won't do freezing rain.
2014-02-06 09:13:24
I never realized how little snow Portland gets until I see them tweeting and blogging about riding in the 'severe' storm that brought what looks like an inch and half of snow. Adorable.
2014-02-07 13:39:04
Yeah, but... (apparently that is a hot toddy station set up on a popular bike commuting route)
2014-02-07 21:36:38
Sign me up! Or, since it's a hot toddy station... BEAM me up, "Totty!" lol
2014-02-08 08:28:54
Fun. I can't even begin to guess what the inspiration for the mini-tramp was.
2014-02-08 08:33:16
Shut_Up_Legs wrote:Sign me up! Or, since it’s a hot toddy station… BEAM me up, “Totty!” lol
Nice. I'm not sure I could handle my bike in the snow after a shot of whiskey though. ...and it looks like Portland's actually had 6-8 inches of snow and ice dumped on them, so I retract my 'adorable' remark.
2014-02-09 09:24:48
Report: EFT is pretty good from the trail-head parking lot to the 376 overpass near the jail. Looks to have been cleared this morning. No ruts, but plenty of ice. From the 376 overpass to Smithfield St. it's an absolute wreak. Lots of rutted ice. Completely untreated. Question: I've noticed that the EFT is left unmaintained between Grant St. and Smithfield St. while the remainder of the trail is usually much better. Are there two different entities responsible for maintaining these different trail sections? Who (other than 311) can we contact to make the situation better?
2014-02-10 10:16:34
^ I've noticed that too, though whomever is responsible for facilities management at PNC is VERY good, keeping their section clear for trail users and going to the extra effort of using a tractor sweeper to clear a path to all the hanger style bike racks they have around their building so the parked bikes don't have to sit in the snow. Very nice touch.
2014-02-10 10:44:00
JZ you're absolutely memory must have been skewed by the condition of the trail this morning. I haven't ridden in many weeks due to two nasty wheel failures disabling both of my bikes. The PNC section is usually clear as you said. The section between Smithfield and Grant is usually the one that's left untreated. Thanks, I've corrected my post. So, who is responsible for the section behind the jail, and the section between Smithfield St. and Grant St.?
2014-02-10 11:01:00
I was thinking a bit about winter shoes and pedals. Has anyone ever tried using a soft and flat platform pedal and metal studded soles (or even strapping crampons to the boots) ? That would alleviate the problem of putting a foot down onto ice sheet when dismounting, stopping, or walking while simultaneously offering excellent grip from sole to pedal.
2014-02-10 11:56:44
Where is the trail between Smithfield and Grant? I haven't been down there in a few months but I ususally ride Boulevard of the Allies near there.
2014-02-10 15:17:16
I think what is considered the trail is the river-side sidewalk along Ft Pitt Blvd. Myself, I use 4Ave out and Forbes in, within downtown.
2014-02-10 15:35:02
andyc wrote:I was thinking a bit about winter shoes and pedals. Has anyone ever tried using a soft and flat platform pedal and metal studded soles (or even strapping crampons to the boots) ? That would alleviate the problem of putting a foot down onto ice sheet when dismounting, stopping, or walking while simultaneously offering excellent grip from sole to pedal.
I like the idea, never tried it. I suppose you could run grip studs on a lug soled boot, and old school rubber pedals...
2014-02-11 07:16:34
Someone in Portland has to be running hobnail boots. It just seems inevitable.
2014-02-11 07:28:50
@andyc you could use something like these with cheap rubber pedals. They look to be very easy to take on and off & to be able to place them at the ball of your foot too.
2014-02-11 10:04:01
gg wrote:Other than the expense, what about fenders for the fat bike? I have to have fenders so I don’t get soaked and full of crud on the way to work. For the few snow days, I don’t think I will ever spend the money. Fun to ride though. Just rides right over big curbs or whatever.
Here's one for ya :
2014-02-12 06:05:22
Hey, check this out, "The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has issued an air quality alert for today, covering the counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Washington and Westmoreland. elevated concentrations of fine particles in the atmosphere will be hazardous for young children, the elderly and people with such respiratory problems as asthma, emphysema and bronchitis. The DEP recommends those people limit outdoor activities." I hadn't realized previously that there could be air quality alerts during the winter season.
2014-02-12 09:07:33
I had a tougher time than usual keeping up a good pace this morning. I wonder if the air quality had something to do with it....that's a bit disturbing.
2014-02-12 09:45:36
Has anybody else found that slush getting caught between fenders and the tire actually makes it harder to pedal?
2014-02-13 13:35:19
Ahlir wrote:All this salt and street dreck is starting to bug me. What do you do? My thought is to go (on an above-freezing day) to a self-serve car wash that has hot/warm water and hose the bike down. Anybody do this? Is there such a thing as a Take-You-Bike-to-a-Car-Wash Day? (seeing as you could probably run n bikes through in the time allotted for a car)
I came across this stuff on another forum: Looks promising, I ordered a bottle to try out.
2014-02-13 13:57:39
ericf wrote:My thought is to go (on an above-freezing day) to a self-serve car wash that has hot/warm water and hose the bike down.
BTW you don't need to wait for an above-freezing day. You can wash your bike at a self-serve place even on a cold day. I did it the other day. But it would be a good idea to bring a bottle of spray lube along, so parts you get wet can be re-lubricated before they freeze up.
Pierce wrote:Has anybody else found that slush getting caught between fenders and the tire actually makes it harder to pedal?
I think that's the reason I gave up on fenders years ago.
2014-02-13 14:07:00
That seems like a pretty good idea. Also the comments section is great.
2014-02-16 21:16:06
jonawebb wrote:I think that’s the reason I gave up on fenders years ago.
Yeah, I just went with clip on fenders this winter. Keep the mud off my butt. There is less coverage, but I just wear rain pants every day over my jeans to keep the legs dry.
2014-02-17 09:36:36
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.
2014-02-17 09:50:40
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.
2014-02-17 10:01:12
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.
2014-02-17 10:47:24
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).
2014-02-17 10:53:24
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.
2014-02-18 08:37:17
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.
2014-02-18 08:47:23
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.
2014-02-18 11:36:04
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.
2014-02-18 11:55:14
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.
2014-02-18 13:11:38
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.
2014-02-18 13:24:06
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.
2014-02-18 14:18:55
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.
2014-02-21 00:41:28
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...
2014-02-21 05:18:08
Windy out there today.
2014-02-21 08:49:44
Please report those potholes on center. I've done so, but we need those fixed on this blitz. Center and neville are REALLY BAD.
2014-02-21 09:01:20
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.
2014-02-21 09:02:59
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.
2014-02-21 09:22:14
I've just kept up with spraying the cables and chain with WD-40 and occasionally lubing with Pedro's. Works pretty well.
2014-02-21 09:31:49
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.
2014-02-21 10:02:44
As of last night, the Sandcastle trail is still a sheet of ice
2014-02-21 13:19:34
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!
2014-02-21 15:43:36
Has anybody biked upstream on the GAP to Homestead or beyond, say to McKeesport, since the snow started melting? Is it snow-free yet?
2014-02-22 20:20:05
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.
2014-02-24 01:15:03
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.
2014-03-03 09:21:07
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.
2014-03-03 15:08:33
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.
2014-03-03 19:23:10
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?
2014-03-03 20:25:18
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.
2014-03-04 06:48:46
@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.
2014-03-04 11:34:52
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.
2014-03-04 14:35:01
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.
2014-03-04 15:57:42
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.
2014-03-05 08:45:27
24 hours if it's a level 1 storm, longer otherwise.
2014-03-05 14:53:35
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?
2014-03-06 07:20:22
I keep thinking I could seriously hurt myself by smashing right into the arrival of spring, but it it hasn't happened yet....
2014-03-06 12:42:46
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.
2015-01-06 10:24:14
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.
2015-01-07 09:05:23
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.
2015-01-07 09:29:24
What are the expectations for clearing the bike lanes as set by the city's Snow/Ice Removal Operations plan? Are there expectations in this plan for bridge sidewalks, and bike paths like the EFT?
2015-01-07 10:53:35
You guys are lucky. I ride on the sandcastle leg of the GAP, where there's no expectation of it ever being cleared. My only hope now is warm weather, or I'll be riding through frozen ruts until April. (So far it's not that bad, but last year, it was literally several inches of frozen icy ruts.)
2015-01-07 12:52:59
EFT is 3rd Division/6th and the Penn lanes are 6th Division. Streets take priority and things can get bumped down the list as the Primary roads regain priority when it snows again(like right now).
2015-01-07 13:31:45
Thomas Blvd bike lanes were pretty crappy last night. Looks like they might have gone over them once, but then all the parked cars get snow all over the place when people clear them off/move them
2015-01-07 13:37:06
Most of Liberty's outbound lane between Main and Mathilda was ok this morning, although the block between Mathilda and Millvale strangely seemed to have been skipped. (The sidewalks, OTOH, were shameful. Almost nobody past Ella, at least on the outbound side, even looked to have tried to shovel--including the church.)
2015-01-07 14:00:07
The Schenley Drive lanes were swept last night, but there was patchy ice up and down it, in front of Phipps. Downtown is not bad.
2015-01-07 14:22:07
Solutions exist...
2015-01-07 16:43:55
Schenley drive was a total mess tonight.
2015-01-07 18:39:46
I was slightly disheartened this morning to see that the only tracks along the Waterfront shortcut where my own from the previous evening :/ Did see a pedestrian footprint on the Sandcastle leg though
2015-01-08 09:09:08
I would strongly advise that one not have any exposed skin this morning.
2015-01-08 09:16:57
My only issues are that my thumbs get a little cold (not awful) and I have to be careful about my glasses fogging. I went with double booties today and that kept my feet snug. I've also been putting my light shell over my rain jacket as a double outer layer over a wool base and a long-sleeved jersey.
2015-01-08 09:32:44
I rode to work today for the first time this year. When I came down around the bend on 5th headed to the Birmingham Bridge, I noticed that it was cool and breezy. I am inordinantly proud of myself.
2015-01-08 11:27:32
The Penn Ave bike lanes continue to be full of snow. The outbound ones especially have basically been unusable since the snow started earlier this week. If they were plowed at some point, it's hard to tell. I 311ed this on Tuesday morning and got this response:
The road crews are given 8-12 hours to have the roads cleared after the end of the snowfall. I will pass this information along to Public Works, however all trucks are currently dispatched and working on clearing the streets. If a street remains uncleared after this time, please report to us so that we may notify Public Works.
Well, it's been 8-12 hours, so I guess I'll contact 311 again?
2015-01-08 12:49:04
My favorite old link here.
2015-01-08 13:17:52
When I left this morning at 7, temps were hoving in the 34-36F range, enough for any residual salt to keep the high usage roads fairly okay. Take extra time today, there is slush on top of some of that still frozen/melting hardpack in lower usage areas.
2015-01-12 07:42:56