Friday, February 19, 2010

Bike on ice

A thought for those who face biking every day in that winter weather... Are they "crazy" or simply victims of lack of other means of transportation? Nobody knows. Still, you can see plenty of them on the bike paths, sidewalks or roads.

For the benefit of those daredevils, the Danish cycling federation has published 11 tips for winter biking.
Here is a rough translation (and a few comments in brackets):

* Avoid carring baskets or
overloaded bags which can make the bike difficult to control. And of course you shouldn't carry anybody in the child seat!
* Good lighting is essential! Even in daylight, it can be difficult to comprehend the path which is essential for safe driving. Think also of installing reflectors to be better seen by others.
* It is better to under-inflate your tires, and the wider your tire is, the better. For ice biking, studded tires are recommended (I really wonder how many cyclists have invested in studded tires ...!)
* Avoid tight and sudden turns. Take large and slow turns, as long as the traffic permits it!
* Grease your chain generously. (Personal observation: if you have a cheap bike (or the kind I imported from France), this is not enough! On mine, the chain is totally rusty and is now quite stiff, especially after a weekend in the snow and salt ...)
* Brake far in advance and carefully! Release the brakes if the wheels start to skid!
* Brake before a turn and release the brake before starting to turn!
* Brake with your rear brake! And pay attention to how the rear wheel skids (is there really a "wrong" way to skid the rear wheel?)
* Check the brake regularly!
* Stay alert to the road that you are following
* Stay calm (this is a universal advice in Denmark, but is it really necessary to remind the Danes, calm in any situation?). It is more important to get to there safely than to arrive there first.

Bonne route! And good luck ...
When in doubt, leave your bike in the garage, but you can expect to find it like that (or worse):

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