When is it too risky to commute by bike?

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I just started bike commuting a few months ago.

I don't mind the rain too much. I don't mind the cold too much. I ride in the dark most days and I'm used to that.

But, the fog is freakin' me out a little. Fog + dark + freezing = scary.

So, those of you who ride a bike in all kinds of weather, when do you skip the ride?

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Replies

  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 25,147 Member
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    When I used to cycle year round, the only time I took the bus was when the snow fall was really heavy and they hadn't been out to clear it ... it was even difficult to walk on those few days, with snow up past my knees. Or if it was really icy, like if we had a bit of a thaw and then it froze again.

    That's all. :)
  • 7elizamae
    7elizamae Posts: 758 Member
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    I won't even ride a bike on a road on a perfect sunny day. Too many kittenhead drivers out there...

    I'm lucky enough to live close to a pretty nice multi-use trail. So all but two miles of my ride is on the trail.

  • 7elizamae
    7elizamae Posts: 758 Member
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    Machka9 wrote: »
    When I used to cycle year round, the only time I took the bus was when the snow fall was really heavy and they hadn't been out to clear it ... it was even difficult to walk on those few days, with snow up past my knees. Or if it was really icy, like if we had a bit of a thaw and then it froze again.

    That's all. :)

    Well, snow up to my knees would definitely stop me, too!
    Where I live, temps tend to hover around freezing on winter mornings so we get black ice. I'm nervous about that.
  • sgt1372
    sgt1372 Posts: 3,989 Member
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    I won't even ride a bike on a road on a perfect sunny day. Too many kittenhead drivers out there...

    Same here.

    Don't have a bicycle now but when I did I only road it on bike only pathways. Can't count the number of reported bicylist deaths on the roadway that I've heard about on TV or read about in the newspaper or on the Net.
  • Machka9
    Machka9 Posts: 25,147 Member
    edited December 2017
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    7elizamae wrote: »
    Machka9 wrote: »
    When I used to cycle year round, the only time I took the bus was when the snow fall was really heavy and they hadn't been out to clear it ... it was even difficult to walk on those few days, with snow up past my knees. Or if it was really icy, like if we had a bit of a thaw and then it froze again.

    That's all. :)

    Well, snow up to my knees would definitely stop me, too!
    Where I live, temps tend to hover around freezing on winter mornings so we get black ice. I'm nervous about that.

    :) That was in Winnipeg, Canada.

    Where I live now, the distance and terrain (very hill) make the bus much more appealing for a commute.

  • Mslmesq
    Mslmesq Posts: 1,001 Member
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    Just off your title, always. Jeez, even driving is more risky these days with all these selfish losers that can't stay off their phones while driving.
  • canadianlbs
    canadianlbs Posts: 5,199 Member
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    i think it depends where you are. my city is pretty 'mature' as far as bike consciousness goes, so it makes a difference.

    fog is freaky though. i did keep riding one surreal winter where we had massive snow followed by an extended period of fog every day until it finally all sublimated. but it's one of the few things i've looked back on and realised it was probably actively selfish and dumb for me to be out on the road. regular city side streets, okay . . . but not in the area i was in which was more highwayesque and much faster traffic with non-specific types of shoulders.

    so i'm not sure if i would do it again. reflective gear to the max, if for any reason i ever did. not saying that even that will do much for you, but it's better than relying on nothing but lights.
  • MeanderingMammal
    MeanderingMammal Posts: 7,866 Member
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    7elizamae wrote: »
    So, those of you who ride a bike in all kinds of weather, when do you skip the ride?

    To an extent it depends if it's a simple commute, ten miles to my local office, or a multimodal commute; London by train.

    Locally I'll use my CX bike so deep enough snow to make that untenable.

    In London I'm on my Brompton, so heavy rain or snow. At least on the Brommie I can fold it up and take it on the bus in London.

    Riding defensively; dominating the roadspace, exploiting shelter and taking opportunities at junctions help a lot. Don't cower in the gutters.

  • Rosemary7391
    Rosemary7391 Posts: 232 Member
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    Massively depends on the route. My dad occasionally cycled to work alongside a canal - and I got the impression that the toughest time was spring, because the towpath got very overgrown very quickly and it wasn't that easy to see the edge of the path. He never did end up swimming, thankfully, but he did stop doing it!
  • RachelElser
    RachelElser Posts: 1,049 Member
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    When the weather people say "travel ban- do not go outside unless you absolutely need to!"

    My friend's father cycles all year round- and we live in upstate NY so it's darn snowy. He has a ton of reflector on his bike, as well as the flashy light, and he wears the reflective vest. I think he may even have reflective strips on his helmet.
  • scorpio516
    scorpio516 Posts: 955 Member
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    7elizamae wrote: »
    So, those of you who ride a bike in all kinds of weather, when do you skip the ride?

    To an extent it depends if it's a simple commute, ten miles to my local office, or a multimodal commute; London by train.

    Locally I'll use my CX bike so deep enough snow to make that untenable.

    In London I'm on my Brompton, so heavy rain or snow. At least on the Brommie I can fold it up and take it on the bus in London.

    Riding defensively; dominating the roadspace, exploiting shelter and taking opportunities at junctions help a lot. Don't cower in the gutters.

    +1

    And like running, there isn't bad weather, just bad clothing.
    I've already put my road bike away, and I'm riding 1.65 miles to the train station on a mtb. Lobster gloves work better on a mtb vs drop bars for me.

    When it gets snowy enough to stop a mtb, the governor has probably shut down the state ;) . it's happened twice in the past few years when we got 40" of snow in a day.
  • tiny_clanger
    tiny_clanger Posts: 301 Member
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    Another Londoner here. I skip in fog or torrential rain. I'd also skip if very icy (but unusual here). Any time my safety might be compromised by visibility. It's just not worth the risk, especially as I'm riding on roads. But my preference is to be out there on the bike!
  • BrianSharpe
    BrianSharpe Posts: 9,248 Member
    edited December 2017
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    Once the snow arrives my bike stays on the trainer. I'm also lucky that much of my commute is on multi-use paths but they don't get cleared in winter and I've never been hardcore crazy enough to ride on the roads in the snow (we do have quite a few people that ride all year 'round, one of my friends has suggested that I get a fat bike for winter riding....) FWIW I run outside all year long.....
  • KANGOOJUMPS
    KANGOOJUMPS Posts: 6,473 Member
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    NEVER! I go in anything!
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,868 Member
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    I cycle a lot in the spring, summer, and fall...I can't really bike commute unfortunately because 3x per week I work in an office that is 32 miles away...2x per week I work in an office that is about 10 miles away and I'd love to commute, but those are also the days when I'm tasked with taking the boys to school and picking them up afterwards.

    In the winter I'm pretty much relegated to my bike trainer save for nicer weekend days. We do have some nice trails around town, but I do most of my riding on the road in bike lanes and I won't ride in the dark...so mornings are out and so are evenings. I'm also not a huge fan of cold...if it's below about 40* F I pretty much won't ride.

    In the winter I typically spend more time in the gym...usually get in a weekend ride and one or two quick interval sessions on my indoor trainer.
  • toddandwendy3
    toddandwendy3 Posts: 32 Member
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    Country and country roads with no shoulders.
  • Calliope610
    Calliope610 Posts: 3,775 Member
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    I won't even ride a bike on a road on a perfect sunny day. Too many kittenhead drivers out there...

    I don't commute, but I do ride my bike after work 2-3x a week. I will ride in anything except driving rain and high winds.

    I live in a rural farming/ranching area. I ride on lonely "farm-to-market" roads. My only competition most days are farm dogs that run with me for a couple 100 yards and an occasional tractor or combine.



  • peleroja
    peleroja Posts: 3,979 Member
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    I'm doing my first full winter cycle commuting this year and have already done it in -30 temperatures with snow and dark, even though I'm a big baby about cold usually.

    However, I am urban (so there are streetlights and other people around), I wear my ski gear (including ski pants, mask, and goggles), I have my bike lit up like a Christmas tree (front and back lights, those LED wheel lights that make colour patterns, LED bracelets so my hand signals are seen), I have a bike with wider grippy tires (and I want to buy some studded ones!), and my city has some bike paths and lanes for about half my commute as well so I'm separated from traffic. I also wear neon and a helmet, and my city is a winter city and good about ploughing/salting/sanding/grading within 24 hrs so the roads themselves are usually not piled with snow or covered with ice with no sand or anything.

    I am very, very careful to use less-congested roads and ride with caution.

    It was scary for about a week, but I'm already accustomed to it and I am so happy I'm pushing myself to do it this year. It's 40 minutes of moderate exercise every weekday I wouldn't be getting and it's saving me money and time (since it's actually faster than my public transit option and parking at my office is like $400/month).
  • MystikPixie
    MystikPixie Posts: 342 Member
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    It's too risky when there are other cars and cyclists on the road. Otherwise it's golden. People are dumb when in charge of any kind of vehicle. Some nice isolated trails or steep inclines would eliminate most of the rabble.