Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Winter Cycling

As mentioned earlier not many people bother to cycle in Niigata in the winter , lots of rain, snow and temps down to - 3 deg and like last night - lots of black ice. I rode to work yesterday in powder snow which was quite easy but coming home last night was really dangerous as there was black ice everywhere, of course I rode quite slowing trying to pick the safest line possible and when I saw a patch of deep snow I rode in that instead of on the road. But there was one section of road that took me by surprise , the main route back towards my house was quite dry but the sides of the road where the cars ( God bless them ! ) had compacted  the snow was solid black ice and could not be avoided easily without riding in the line of traffic. On approaching one large patch of black ice I had nowhere else to go so tried riding slowly through it. But the black ice was thick and slippery and my front tyre washed out towards the traffic and I came down and rolled to the side of the road and just managed to pull my bike out of the way of a large bus. Thank god for my natural padding , helmet, gloves and several layers of clothing otherwise I would have been seriously hurt for sure. From now on I will be lowing the air pressure in my tyres and taking the back roads to work rather slowly. So for all you brave winter cyclists out there , take care !.

Pictured in this post is my bike outside my bicycle shop yesterday

6 comments:

llewellyn said...

I know how you feel, I had planned on finishing my cycling holiday in Matsuyama, Shikoku. Made it safely from Narita with only two small washouts, but on arriving in Tokushima the weather made a turn for the worse, lots of cold rain that froze up and was followed by snow, soft on top ice rink below. Opted for a hire car ,folded and packed the bike and bags in the car,now have seen the places I came to see and some would never have been accessible on my small wheeler. Take care on those roads up north.

Don Speden said...

Hi llewellyn

As I am from the middle of the South Island of NZ I am no stranger to snow and ice, but living here in the snow country and riding to work everyday in bad conditions is a challenge, but I like the fact that I can get to work even in a - 3 deg snowstorm without relying on public transport. Personally I think even studded tyres would slip on the thick black ice we get here , luckily there is far more snow than ice. Glad you had a good trip and did you check out Matsuyama castle as its very nice !

daryl lister said...

Natural padding? maybe a little more green tea and a little less brown stuff in a bottle:-) glad you got away with it,i for one don,t miss the cold one bit, although falling coconuts can be a worry.

Russell Jenkins said...

I have been cycling most days but have also elected to walk when it looks a bit too slippery outside. The only gutser I've had was when walking along an icey footpath and I had to suddenly step out of the way of a guy peddling like mad on his mountain bike towards me. He didn't want to change his line so I stepped to the left and down I went. I looked back to watch him peddle onwards and away from me. Next time I hope I'm fast enough to stick my hefty umbrella in his spokes!
Take care of gaijin with big black umbrellas!

Don Speden said...

Hi Guys

Yes Daryl I will try to cut down on the brown sports drink but I am not a big fan of green tea as I prefer barley tea myself - Mugi Cha !. As for the slippery conditions in Niigata , all modes of transport are unsafe when its so icy - walking, cycling & driving. Last Wednesday night was dangerous as I also saw plenty of car accidents, snow tyres are useless on ice. Russell just ride your MTB in the deep snow and you be fine

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