DarrenB's picture

How was your ride: Week of Feb 13th

Lucky 13th! But will we be lucky enough to dodge the snow this week? Looks good if we can get past today. Otherwise, it looks like ANOTHER great winter week coming up!


pinkrobe's picture


The ride in today was really pleasant. A few more cars than usual, but not bad overall.

fastlayne's picture

Dressed for April

In February, I like it. Coming in from the southeast mostly on streets with very little gravel or other debris.

gyrospanner's picture

But I bet you didn't

dress for that Octoberish weather you had to endure on the way home!


A good sign - I was doing some met work today and I noticed that we have 10 hours of sunlight at this point in the spring, better than the 8 hours from the dark days of December!  Five weeks 'til 12 hours, and then it just gets better from there!

seacloud's picture

Mild morning

I decided that my 9.3 km each way wasn't enough mileage so I added an extra loop on the beginning of my ride so I can start to increase my weekly mileage...and still get to work by bike. By the time I did the 6 km loop, I had to stop and take off the shell! Rode the rest of my commute (remaining ~9km) wearing short sleeve jersey over long sleeve running shirt. The westbound ride felt great. All the pathway users I saw were well-lit/reflected. I also noticed 3 eastbound riders; a rarity for that stretch of the MUP around 6am.

DarrenB's picture

Slow going, but loads of fun!

Well that was more snow that I was expecting. I decided to bail from the roads half way home (too many crazies slipping and sliding all over the place, and not yielding me any room). Jumped on to the pathways and had a really fun ride the rest of the way home.

To those who take the Bowmont paths, though, watch the hills (particularly the steep ravine at the west end of Bowmont Park near the railway bridge) -- they were already snow-covered ice sheets as I came home at 5:30.  I had to put one foot down and do a tripod 'roller-ski' down one steep hill.

Watched two cars spin out on Tuscany Hill on the way up (made me feel much better for being a scofflaw cyclist on the sidewalk!).


seacloud's picture

Embrace the shimmy!

Wow...that was quite the ride in this morning! The less-traveled portions of the MUP were best if I could find a spot to make fresh tracks (while still making a good guess about being on the pathway). The more travelled sections were really rough! I found it best to keep my skinny-tired speed up and use momentum to help the bike keep tracking. Even at that, I just had to stay loose and let the bike move around alot. I overtook one rider, westbound where the MUP comes back towards Parkdale Blvd. If you're reading this, I hope I didn't surprise you too much! I needed to overtake to keep my single-speed cadence up high enough to keep the momentum.

Oh, and the trip down the Home Rd. hill was a white-knuckler!

Tyrone's picture

Awesome Rides!!!!!  The ride

Awesome Rides!!!!!  The ride home last night after work was soooooo peacful.  I actually rode the full 20km on the way home.  The ride in this morning had a little bit of everything.  Some hard packed on the roads, powder in some of the MUP spots, even some slushy crappy brown snow in bits.  Bike was a MESS when I got it into the bike room this morning.  Unfortunately, my rear brakes were frozen solid, so it made for some interesting spots.  Kudos to the city for the Path through Stanley Park along the Elbow, I got there at 05:45 and it was already plowed.  I did notice that someone had wiped out just before the park entrance (that or somebody was trying to make snow angels on the road)

umgray's picture

the guy who clears the pathway

I met the guy who clears that pathway. He is really nice and actually took up cycling last summer. He's a keener and takes the pathways seriously! 

bclark's picture


One crash this morning.  I slid out on a corner on the pathway through Varsity.  All the pathways in the NW were snow covered.  The pathways through Varsity and between Home Road/53rd St were pretty bumpy from pedestrian traffic having compacted the snow.  The north side Bow River pathways was snow covered but easier to ride in the well worn bike tracks.  I didn't reach any cleared pathways until I crossed to the south side of the Bow River at Crowchild.  From there it was clear into downtown, though it was pretty obvious the City wasn't too quick on the uptake when it came to clearing because there was still a fair bit of compacted snow, even on the cleared pathways.  The roads weren't too bad.  Side streets were fairly well compacted and rideable.  53rd was a bit of a mess so I had to ride in the traffic lane.  Note to motorists potentially grumpy about cyclists in the "driving lane" (okay, I admit, I didn't actually see any of these), call the City and insist they plow the bike lane properly so that you don't get "stuck" behind slower moving cyclists, otherwise, just chill and enjoy the music on your drive to work! ;)

FYI...I have put in a service request for (1) some education for residents that the bike lane is not a "snow storage area" and (2) that the bike lane be properly plowed to facilitate safe cycle travel. 

mikewarren's picture

First, though...

I think we need to convince the City that it doesn't count as a bike lane if you're allowed to park in it...

bclark's picture

In as part of the request

Yep, I included that...

Bike travel and parking = mutually exclusive pursuits in the same lane!

Wild Turkey's picture


A parking lane can't be a part time bike lane.  City engineers are you listening?

Still seeing drivers ride up the lane on 10th.  The xperiment is failing.

marcpro's picture

Most beautiful, peaceful ride

The paths down in Fish Creek Prov Park weren't plowed yet, but that's OK, I had first tracks in the dryest champagne powder I've ever seen.  This little cloud of powder would hang just over my front tire as I rode thru the park.

Quite the workout though, got to work 1/2 hour later than usual.

And I'm still searching for solution to my cold feet I guess. This morning was painful, with the extra 1/2 hour outside.

themacneils's picture

Cheap Solution

If you want to try cheap/easy solution - try sticking a plastic bag on your feet, right against the skin and under the sock.  The really thin fruit/vegetable bags or bread bags work best I find.  I don't have the best circulation in my feet, but with the plastic bag my feet are comfy down to ~-20 with just a thickish pair of socks, the bags and my trail runners.

When you get to work this will be wet, but just take em off and flip them inside out and they will be nice and dry later in the day for the ride home.

Of course, there are more expensive options...shoe/bootie neoprene covers, electronic heaters, those chemical heaters, etc.

mikewarren's picture

expensive solution

Buy winter shoes.

I haven't worn booties since I bought mine; they're great! They work down to the mid -20's; during the super-cold-snap I was wishing I had booties as by toes were starting to get quite cold by the time I got to work (~40 minutes).

DD's picture


Did you get insulated winter shoes?  I've used the uninsulated (but oversized) Exustar 'winter' shoes for a few years now and find that they aren't good for a 40 minute ride when it drops below ~ -15.  

mikewarren's picture


I have the shimano ones, don't remember model number, They are insulated and have a bit of a hi-top cuff. I bought them one euro size bigger so I can fit nice big wool socks in them.

pinkrobe's picture


I looooove my Shimano wointer shoes.  MW-80, methinks.

2wheeler's picture

winter footwear

My solution to winter riding is a switch to large flat pedals.  This way I can wear whatever footear is appropriate for the conditions.  Today I have a pair of leather boots with some insulation.  When it drops below -20 I switch to my Sorels which are good to about -40C.  It also makes the sketchy cornering a little easier since you're not clipped in. 


A cheap pair of platform pedals is $25. If you laready have some warm boots this is a great way to go. 

Scott's picture


My winter bikes have always had platform's and I wear snow-mobile boots below -10. Winter hiking boots the rest of the time. In summer is the only time I clip in and I opt for the straps instead of clips which gives me freedom to be stylish and wear whatever shoes I want rather than just cycling shoes. I'm not a gear head. lol

DarrenB's picture

Hybrid pedals

I like the hybrid pedals (Wellgo makes one called the half-and-half): clipless pedal on oneside and platform on the other. Highly recommended for winter riding for just the reasons mentioned above.  

winterrider's picture


I have two pairs of neoprene shoe covers, and one pair of water/wind proof covers that go overtop of those. With a warm pair of socks I'm comfortable at -30, and can handle -35 for 40 minutes. I use just the windproof covers down to -10, one pair of neoprene covers down to -20, and everything below that.

fastlayne's picture

Felt insoles

I added a set of felt insoles (Mark's for under $5) to insulate my foot form the metal cleat. This combined with one or two layers of neoprene/waterproof cover (temperature dependant) and I am good to -25 with my Specialized shoes.


SushiFish's picture

Bow River Pathway: Southland to Inglewood


do you take the bow river pathway to downtown? if so, is this path typically cleared? what is the condition of this stretch of path like today (after the dump on Monday)?


SushiFish's picture


Appreciate the info.

Scott's picture


A bit like actual exercise pushing through a few inches of snow but still... nice. Surprised to see so many footprints and a bike print on the path where normally its either me or my co-worker making the tracks. Guess people are getting spring fever and getting out of their homes this time of year. Glad that they are.

Had a lady yell out to me as I rolled on past the grid lock traffic down by my work "are you fucking crazy?" she yelled. I just smiled under my mask, didnt bother to look back or anything and kept on rolling. I had to think... who really is the crazy one? She was most likely going to be in that big old truck for another hour driving downtown is my guess while I was about 5 minutes from work and enjoying myself. Rednecks... cant live with 'em... can definately live without 'em.

marcpro's picture

Yeah, during the first snow

Yeah, during the first snow last year, three car accidents around my building, and as I was going up the elevator with my bike gear on, one co-worker (with no winter jacket on) looks at me funny and says, in his Afrikaan accent: "You do realize it's winter, do you?"...  I bust out laughing...  

amf673's picture


Slow today. I was expecting the pathways to be in better shape so I took my "pathway variant". Most of the way things were brushed but there was lots of bumpy compact snow. Hopefully the sun will burn that off this afternoon.

Some of the less travelled roads were grim: 26 St SW, 26 Ave SW.

But overall it was beautiful and not too cold so a nice ride!

Julie Gregg's picture

another happy rider

Riding home last night in the almost white out was not so bad, better I think than some on the roads in cars....this morning was another somewhat pleasant experience. Having this much snow and it not being too cold or for that matter icy underneath is fine by me. Looking outside at a very sunny day makes me think a lot of this slush will be gone by home time.

christophish's picture


Yesterday's ride was non-existant as I developed a chest infection over the weekend, so I called in sick. Today I rode in, despite feeling like crap, but I took the shorter route option, as I still feel like I have a truck parked on my chest. The snow was nice out here, I don't think anyone else in Strathmore rides their bike to work in winter, so I made fresh tracks on the way in. Beautiful powder, nice and peaceful ride if it weren't for my incessant coughing :(

Just finishing up a few loose ends, planning tomorrow's lessons, and then I'll be heading home. I think I'll still take the short route though...

marcpro's picture

Help: Loud clang after coasting, and pedals spin freely

After coasting, when I start pedalling again, I lately hear a lound "Clang" coming from the back wheel sprocket area, and then the pedals spin freely for a bit. Most annoying. It's happening more and more frequently. 

I fix everything myself once I have the right tools (and bike repair tools are relatively cheap), so I'm wondering if anyone can point me to what I should dismantle/inspect, and what tools I'll need.

Is it the chain? The free-wheel? Do I replace one? or both?

I read somewhere that if I replace the chain, I should also replace the free-wheel and sprockets in the back, because they wear together. Thoughts?


chrisguy's picture

Some possibilities.

If your freehub is getting on in years (and has never been lubed), bite the bullet and replace it.

Or, read this:http://www.icebike.org/Equipment/freehub.htm which explains how to make sure that what you heard doesn't happen again.  I recently did this repair to my winter commuter for the same reason - it wasn't catching when I was pedalling.  The repair was ok for a while, but due to age the wear inside was so severe that the freehub was basically too worn to be trusted as a long term keeper.  If you're totally retentive, this is a good prep for your new freehub - the stock grease in your typical Shimano FH is too thick for cold weather riding.



marcpro's picture

Thanks for that link Chris,

Thanks for that link Chris, sounds like a good weekend project. I guess I'll swing by MEC for some tools.

I forgot to mention: Shimano equipped, bought this bike in the 90's (although it has very low mileage, hardly ever used until last March). So it's probably a freehub I guess, not a freewheel? The front chain wheels are Biopace, although that's not where the noise is coming from. 

I also feel a small thump as I pedal, and it looks like it's timed with the chain going around (because it's not in sync with cranking), so perhaps I also have a stiff link in the chain. I feel it less after lubing the chain thoroughly, but it comes back, and is more and more noticeable.  

I guess 150km / week is taking its toll on the bike.

You should see my bike seat too.... I must have a very abrasive ass. The seat is an Avocet with Spenco Gel, and used to have a couple of synthetic fabric layers on top. Not much left.

chrisguy's picture

Shimano was not putting

Shimano was not putting freewheels on bike of that vintage, it was all cassettes and freehubs, in my experience.  If you go to MEC you'll need a chainwhip, cassette lockring removal tool and a vice or wrench as mentioned by Gyrospanner earlier.  Shimano doesn't make the freehub disassembly tool anymore.  Rather than disassembling the freehub, you could remove it (10mm allen key), flush it (Varsol) and then dry and relube it (Phils Tenacious).  Park Tools has this procedure detailed on their site.  

If your chain's got a stiff link, use your chain tool, putting the link in the upper section and press the pin out a smidge - you're not trying to break the chain, you're trying to spread the outer links a bit to loosen it.

gyrospanner's picture

I'm not a Bike Doctor, but

based on my experience, it sounds to me that the "free-spinning" could be a problem with the freehub (ie the pawls aren't catching).  As for the chain and cassette, I am changing both every 1,500 to 2,000km which is about every 3 months as I do about 150km every week as well.  Tools required - a chain whip, a big crescent wrench and that Shimano? tool to loosen the ring on your cassette on the back wheel.

I buy KMC chains at MEC because they have that quick-link, which makes it really easy.  I also find that the Bike Shop or Bow Cycle usually has the cassette that I need.  Disclaimer - I always  have one of each hanging in my garage anyways!

bike-run's picture

chain check

This may not apply if the freehub is indeed skipping, but it's easy to check for a stuck chain link - rotate the cranks backwards slowly, and watch for any links jumping or catching in the freewheel pulleys or cassette cogs.

pinkrobe's picture

Sketchy, then sloppy...

...but at least it was sunny!  The ride in was a little harrowing, with brownsnow, semi-compacted snow and some ice all influencing the path of my front wheel.  The ride home today was great.  Sloppy, so sunny I had to squint, and the plows made it to almost all of my route.  Huzzah!

seacloud's picture

A little more ice than expected...

...but a dry line (almost) all the way. I missed riding yesterday because I was home with a sick kid. I'd hoped that the sun would remove a bit more of the compacted stuff from the MUP. I had to keep a sharp eye out for most of the ride to be sure I was keeping my skinny smooth tires on the dry line. Made it in with no problems and in good time. Another sunny day forecasted; hopefully it will continue to help the situation.

winterrider's picture

The way home was worse

I'm sure you noticed, but the ice on the bow river path from DT to Home Road is mostly on the west bound lane.

I keep my studded tires pumped up so they're more prone to slipping than they need to be, but I had my front tire slip a couple times when riding home yesterday (not dangerously, but noticeable). The ice has lots of little ridges parallel to the direction of travel waiting to catch the unsuspecting rider.

Julie Gregg's picture


I too was home yesterday but with my sick self. I was quite disappointed with how much ice was still on the pathway this morning - not a fan - never the less, the ride was good and I expect each day will get better if the sun continues to shine and the temps stay mild. Today is my last ride in Feb. Off to the Bahamas early tomorrow morning, chat with you all in March!!


Scott's picture

Have a great one

Dont get burned up like toast. ;)

Have a great vacation Jules!

Julie Gregg's picture

thanks Scotty, my wish is for

thanks Scotty, my wish is for my lily white Irish complexion to become a nice toffy brown :)