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judging the weather

ianbarianbar Posts: 1,352
edited January 2015 in Road beginners
what are your ways of judging how safe it is to ride? i expected it to be lethal all day today but in hindsight i could have probably gone out mid morning before we have snowy showers. but how do you judge it?
enigma esprit
cannondale caad8 tiagra 2012
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  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I use the Wunderground app. It has local weather stations so you get local wind speed, direction and temperature info. It also has a weather radar overlay. That said, discretion is the better part of valour, so if there's a risk of dangerous weather (black ice) it's better to be cautious.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • rhysydrhysyd Posts: 141
    ianbar wrote:
    what are your ways of judging how safe it is to ride? i expected it to be lethal all day today but in hindsight i could have probably gone out mid morning before we have snowy showers. but how do you judge it?

    BBC weather app on my phone if there is yellow/amber warning of ice, I stay clear or I don't go out until at least 12 oclock.
  • Kieran_BurnsKieran_Burns Posts: 10,052
    Rule 9.

    It's all about Rule 9.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,560 Lives Here
    ianbar wrote:
    what are your ways of judging how safe it is to ride? i expected it to be lethal all day today but in hindsight i could have probably gone out mid morning before we have snowy showers. but how do you judge it?


    MTFU.

    I've been commuting to work/school by bike for 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of times it's been probably better to take alternative transport, and even then I still made it fine.
  • I'm definitely being overcautious, having already gone down on black ice once this year, but I'm just not going out when there are ice warnings. It's been pretty mild around here (North Herts) anyway, so there have only been a couple of days when I didn't want to risk it - and I might well have been fine if I had.
  • The problem is our rubbish tabloid media. Sensationalism sells so they make up stories about it being the apocalypse next week with 250 mph winds, -15 deg C temperatures and they find the most photoshopped dramatic photo they can.

    In reality its not too bad.

    Midday Saturday wasn't bad here, the roads were totally clear, just a little breezy cycling to the west (17mph wind, not impossible just takes longer)

    Just have to time it right (the Met Office website provides predictions for every hour rather than daily) and wear the right kit. Go out and give it a go, you can always change your route or come back. The hardest thing is having the will power to try it and not make excuses.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • ianbar wrote:
    what are your ways of judging how safe it is to ride? i expected it to be lethal all day today but in hindsight i could have probably gone out mid morning before we have snowy showers. but how do you judge it?


    MTFU.

    I've been commuting to work/school by bike for 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of times it's been probably better to take alternative transport, and even then I still made it fine.

    Amazing, I'm impressed!

    What bike(s) are you using? Road, MTB? Studded tyres? Have you never slipped in ice or snow? Ever had problems with string wind gusts?
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Personally, all this MTFU business when there is ice about is just idiocy, IMO. There is nothing manly about hitting the deck, fracturing your pelvis and having 3-6 months recovery. Ok ok, so that is an alarmist example but I do know someone who had this happen a couple of years ago. I have also seen plenty go down on various group rides so falling on ice is not some urban myth or something prevented by just being a bit careful or macho.

    Personally, I just keep an eye on the weather sites and anything below 2 degrees for a sustained period and it is time to think about the benefits/dangers. If the roads are damp and it has been -1 overnight, then there is a good chance that ice is around first thing in the morning particularly in the hollows, you don't need a weather warning to tell you that.

    The Met office warnings are good, but they cannot factor in localised conditions and road gritting so one does have to exercise a bit of caution and cut them a bit of slack. Yesterday there was an ice warning advising of the possibility of icy roads until about 12ish. One of my club rides went out at 9 and half of them hit the deck. We are all responsible adults but there does seem to be a British tendency to give advice on everything (nanny state and all that) and yet another British tendency is to ignore any advice given.
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,410
    We went out for 30 miles this morning, took it really steady as there was heavy frost and ice everywhere. No real moments though other than the back wheel slipping when climbing a short steep hill.

    It probably wasn't the best idea to go out, but it's either been really strong winds, ice or snow here since Christmas so we decided to go and just be steady. No leaning into corners or quick changes of direction!
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    If you ride in icy conditions, you're going down. It's as simple as that (unless using studded tyres).

    'MTFU' indeed, what a load of censored .
  • Don't go out first thing in the morning. Go out midday when there is no frost. Have a look at the met office to see when the temperature rises above 0 and what hour has the least wind. Plan your route accordingly sticking to lower ground sheltered from the wind rather than on top of a moor. Planning your route so the longest straight or the last stretch back home is downwind also helps. I don't agree with the statement "If its January you're going down, its simple as that". Just because it is January doesn't mean your bike will instantly be horizontal at all times. See what the temperature it is, is there snow and sheet ice on the roads or are the roads are perfectly clear with the temp above 0?
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    I'd say I was as hard as the next man when it comes to cycling but there's no fun in taking 2 hours to cycle to work in 9" of snow or having to push your bike nearly a mile across the Kessock bridge because the cross-winds are insane and you're cycling slower than people are walking. Besides that, it's always good to know what to wear.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    I don't agree with the statement "If its January you're going down, its simple as that". Just because it is January doesn't mean your bike will instantly be horizontal at all times.

    Are you having trouble reading my post?
  • Dippydog3Dippydog3 Posts: 414
    On my road bike with quite slick tyres I do not ride now if the temperature is 3 degrees or lower, and I wait till it reaches 5 if it has frozen overnight.

    If that isnt going to happen and I need a fix its Wattbike or MTB on grass for me.

    Not perfect, but having slipped on ice recently I am taking no chances at ruining my season.
  • In this context is MTFU an acronym for - Many Terrible Fractures ?? Unconcerned!
  • norvernrobnorvernrob Posts: 1,410
    Don't go out first thing in the morning. Go out midday when there is no frost. Have a look at the met office to see when the temperature rises above 0 and what hour has the least wind. Plan your route accordingly sticking to lower ground sheltered from the wind rather than on top of a moor. Planning your route so the longest straight or the last stretch back home is downwind also helps. I don't agree with the statement "If its January you're going down, its simple as that". Just because it is January doesn't mean your bike will instantly be horizontal at all times. See what the temperature it is, is there snow and sheet ice on the roads or are the roads are perfectly clear with the temp above 0?

    We just rode about 5mph slower than usual today. We only averaged 13.4mph but taking it easy and being really careful meant we had no issues, even on a single track where the thick ice and frost made a really strange crunching sound as we rode over it! And I took my best bike as I needed to test out a few bits before my fit this week, so I was uber careful!

    I wouldn't do it every week though, I've been going on the turbo 3 times a week since new year. A definite purchase for me before next winter is a CX bike.
  • kajjalkajjal Posts: 3,380
    Having come off twice on black ice a good few years back there is no way I would risk it. You could end up with a very serious injury if you are unlucky.

    The very rough guide I use as well as the local BBC weather forecast to check the temps is if there is ice on the car roof in the morning I just don't bother. Especially if it is wet and the temps drop below zero over night and not much above during the day. The roads near me have a fair bit of tree cover which drips water on to the roads at the same time as blocking the sun to keep the temps down.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,560 Lives Here
    ianbar wrote:
    what are your ways of judging how safe it is to ride? i expected it to be lethal all day today but in hindsight i could have probably gone out mid morning before we have snowy showers. but how do you judge it?


    MTFU.

    I've been commuting to work/school by bike for 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of times it's been probably better to take alternative transport, and even then I still made it fine.

    Amazing, I'm impressed!

    What bike(s) are you using? Road, MTB? Studded tyres? Have you never slipped in ice or snow? Ever had problems with string wind gusts?

    Slipped on ice once, and that was my fault anyway.

    Road, hard mtbs with slicks, Dutch bikes, all sorts.

    Once got blown across the road but there weren't any other cars.

    Riding in wind is 90% practice tbh.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 52,560 Lives Here
    I'd say I was as hard as the next man when it comes to cycling but there's no fun in taking 2 hours to cycle to work in 9" of snow or having to push your bike nearly a mile across the Kessock bridge because the cross-winds are insane and you're cycling slower than people are walking. Besides that, it's always good to know what to wear.

    Sure.

    There's rarely much snow where I live, and when it does it's usually slush on the roads anyway.
  • fish156fish156 Posts: 496
    It's as much about the overnight temperature as the current temperature.

    For example, this morning 2degC. Fine as that's the lowest it had been all night.
    Yesterday, however 2degC but it had been down to -2 overnight. Went out in the car and you could see plenty of ice patches on the damp roads.

    I use the Met Office site to see local measured hourly temperatures over the previous 24 hours.
  • RideOnTimeRideOnTime Posts: 4,712
    8/10 :?
  • IShaggyIShaggy Posts: 301
    All depends on where you live.

    I lived in Weybridge for many years with the Surrey Hills as my playground. I knew the roads and knew the spots to avoid, and so there weren't many days when I couldn't ride. Although on bad days I always had an extra hour in bed to let the cars clear the roads, and could ride on the main road if really bad. And the MTB would get an outing if it snowed.

    Now I live in Newbury, and I'm a newbie in the North Wessex Downs. It's an undulating warren of farm lanes with mud and wash-off from the fields. OK, I still haven't got the lie of the land yet, but it certainly seems a lot more treacherous than the Surrey Hills, so I'm spending more time on the turbo.

    BTW, I've got 4 Ti plates in my face and 1 in my finger thanks to a big off 6 months ago. So all this MTFU business can take a flying leap.
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    I ride my cx bike pretty much from mid November through to March, best bike gets the occasional run out.
    It's still very possible to go down if you hit black ice on the cx bike. I did the club run on mine today, 65 miles with some decent hills, weather was 1 degree at the start and a balmy 3 degrees at the end. Roads were wet with frost and ice patches about. 99% of the ride would have been fine with 25c winter weather tyres, the only benefit for the cx bike was a small downhill section with a fair covering of frost.
    The ride was tough though and I longed for my other bike. Cx bikes are good but they're not a complete solution to ice or frosty rides.
  • meanredspidermeanredspider Posts: 12,550
    w00dster wrote:
    ICx bikes are good but they're not a complete solution to ice or frosty rides.

    Nope - in my pretty extensive winter commuter experience, only this is:

    IceSpiker.JPG

    ...and, even then, the gears (FD in particular) are prone to freeze
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    I find it really difficult to judge if there will be ice on my route to work or not. What the road surface is like near me is no indication of what it's like a couple of miles away. I live between Bristol and Bath and commute to Bath on the Bath Bristol railway path BBRP.
    Yesterday it looked icy near our house I drove. Spoke to someone at work and they cycled in no problem. Today it looked fine I rode and the BBRP was fine. Mrs Whoof tells me in the Bristol direction it was treacherous and someone she worked with crashed and broke their elbow, someone else crashed at the weekend and broke their hip.

    In the past four years I've come off three times on black ice. Once at a junction, once braking for a corner but traveling in a straight line and once travelling in a straight line having just watched the person 50 m up the road fall off. Each time I had been riding for between 5 and 20 miles with no indication of any ice until I hit the deck.
    I like riding my bike, driving or getting the bus is miserable but not as miserable as six weeks waiting for the cast to come off.
  • "MTFU.

    I've been commuting to work/school by bike for 20 years and I can count on one hand the number of times it's been probably better to take alternative transport, and even then I still made it fine."

    Seriously surprised your a site admin posting this sort of tripe on a road beginners forum. You gonna be around to help out when someones laid off work for a few months with a broken pelvis? no thought not..

  • Seriously surprised your a site admin posting this sort of tripe on a road beginners forum. You gonna be around to help out when someones laid off work for a few months with a broken pelvis? no thought not..

    Theres no snow and ice in some places. Just make a sensible judgment call. I'm not normally a betting man, but I'd bet theres been more people out cycling than people who broke their pelvis this week.
    "The Prince of Wales is now the King of France" - Calton Kirby
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756

    I'd bet theres been more people out cycling than people who broke their pelvis this week.

    I would definately agree with this statement. I would also agree that if you got 1000 people gave them each a revolver with a single bullet in the chamber randomly placed and told them to put the gun to their head and pull the trigger that far more people would be totally unharmed than blew their brains out.
  • dodgydodgy Posts: 2,890
    whoof wrote:

    I'd bet theres been more people out cycling than people who broke their pelvis this week.

    I would definitely agree with this statement. I would also agree that if you got 1000 people gave them each a revolver with a single bullet in the chamber randomly placed and told them to put the gun to their head and pull the trigger that far more people would be totally unharmed than blew their brains out.

    I was trying to figure out how to repond to that piece of logic from peddlingmadness, you nailed it.
  • dodgy wrote:
    whoof wrote:

    I'd bet theres been more people out cycling than people who broke their pelvis this week.

    I would definitely agree with this statement. I would also agree that if you got 1000 people gave them each a revolver with a single bullet in the chamber randomly placed and told them to put the gun to their head and pull the trigger that far more people would be totally unharmed than blew their brains out.

    I was trying to figure out how to repond to that piece of logic from peddlingmadness, you nailed it.

    Ahh.... but you both appear to fail to recognise that the Russian Roulette scenario is just determined by the objective mathematics of probability whereas weather related accidents are affected by testosterone levels (allegedly).
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