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Old 11-29-2012, 02:09 PM   #1
csisfun OP
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Question regarding ice during winter riding...

I was wondering if any seasoned veteran could advise me on certain dos and don'ts with regards to riding my bike in the winter. Here in Southern Ontario, we still have somewhat cooperative weather and so I still tend to use my bike as a daily commuter.

As a person who only has this as his only form of private transport, I would like to do it as long as possible before I have to take the bus. The one thing that keeps me excited to go to work is... the 15-minute ride there.

However, I'd like to be safe and I understand that ice and snow will come and these are days that should be avoided. The question is... when should I be expecting ice?

Are there any indicators?
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Old 11-29-2012, 02:52 PM   #2
Tosh Togo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csisfun View Post
I was wondering if any seasoned veteran could advise me on certain dos and don'ts with regards to riding my bike in the winter. Here in Southern Ontario, we still have somewhat cooperative weather and so I still tend to use my bike as a daily commuter.

As a person who only has this as his only form of private transport, I would like to do it as long as possible before I have to take the bus. The one thing that keeps me excited to go to work is... the 15-minute ride there.

However, I'd like to be safe and I understand that ice and snow will come and these are days that should be avoided. The question is... when should I be expecting ice?

Are there any indicators?
Watch your weather forecast, and expect frozen precip on the asphalt if the predicted or observed air temp is 37 F or lower. If it's in that temperature window and foggy, you can count on it... but at least you can see that variety of road frost.

The measurement point is usually 5 feet agl, and the surface temp will often be a few degrees colder.

Indicators?.... you fall down.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:48 PM   #3
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This time of year is a crap shoot. I commute 38 miles one way to work on third shift. You have to as careful as you can and don't be afraid to pull over if conditions are questionable. Most likely any bridge or surface area near a body of water will have surface ice/frost.
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Old 11-29-2012, 05:37 PM   #4
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Moisture....

If it's dry, no matter how cold it gets, you'll be fine at reasonably speeds. Once moisture presents itself around the freezing point you'll likely have black ice which is detrimental to motorists especially riders. If it's been wet and near freezing take something with more than two wheels.

I rode 100k in Victoria the last feet yrs riding every day except for a few. From Dec to mar you need to really be aware of the weather.

Good luck.

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Old 11-29-2012, 06:26 PM   #5
edwin
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how does your insurance company view using a bike outside of frost free weather??
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Old 11-29-2012, 06:33 PM   #6
568V8
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winter in Ontario

Personally I don't want salt on my aluminum frame so my Vee stays off the winter roads. Even on a dry paved surface the tires don't have much stickum because of the cold temperature. An minor get-off on a backroad is tolerable but when commuting in a city on slippery roads the chance of getting run over by a car or truck while lying on the road surfaces is too frightening for me. Even if you don't get hurt, consider the cost to use public transit is probably cheaper then bike repairs.
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Old 11-30-2012, 10:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by edwin View Post
how does your insurance company view using a bike outside of frost free weather??
Since we are required to have insurance year round they can not stop you from riding. They might not like it much but so be it.
My insurance co. is fully aware I ride through the winter and have never given any indication of an issue. Last winter I stopped by the ins. office on the bike and the only comment was "you must be cold... isn't it slippery?"
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:20 PM   #8
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Taking your time with no sudden moves and a couple of pounds lower tire pressure can help grip. The bus sucks less than crashing although i only have experience with crashing.
I ride year round but here is a bit different because the North Atlantic keeps the climate relatively warmer in the winter.
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Old 12-02-2012, 09:15 AM   #9
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Riding in the GTA in the winter is a hoot. It's totally possible, I commuted for 20 years with only a few minor get-offs. The trick for me was collecting used trials tires from the no seat fraternity and re-purposing them for winter tires with low tire pressure, around 10 psi front and back. Sure they get used up quick but they work amazingly well.
Always assume it's black ice and ride accordingly, your skills will improve beyond belief and your confidence will increase every trip. Good luck and enjoy the looks on everyone's face as you pass them by at the bus stops!
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:27 AM   #10
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Regular washing is very important because the salt can do a lot of dammage.
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Old 12-10-2012, 10:26 AM   #11
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If you have an area where the sun does not shine (because of a hill or trees in the way) that area could be slippery. An area on the north side of a hill that does not see the sun would be slippery as well. This is compared to the road surface that sees the sun and dries out. As has been mentioned the bridge surfaces are a major area of concern as well. We had a hill that saw no sun, and that water would run across the road in the spring and fall. Really scary on a bike. I guess try to stay in the well used dry tracks of the big trucks as much as possible.

If you find yourself in one of these situations I would pull in the clutch and coast. No sudden moves and no brakes. Once the ass end goes out it happens so fast that your going down in my experience.
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:58 PM   #12
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For me, time of day makes all the difference. If the sun is out, then I can at least judge fairly accurately what the road conditions are. As the sun sets ( which at this time of year happens rather quickly), the road conditions can change with it, and you can't always see what your getting into.) When I first started riding, I bought a second motorcycle to use during the winter. I couldn't bring myself to put my then new GPZ550 out in the salt and snow( we had snow back then), and bought a CB360T for $200. With that bike I learned sliding didn't always mean you were going to fall down.
Gord's right though, the salt and corrosion will eat most motorcycles. A plastic covered scooter might be a good choice.
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:17 AM   #13
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I keep a short garden hose in the garage where its warm enough not to freeze and if theres salt on the roads I give the bike a quick spray down to hopefully wash most of the salt off, works so far.

Of course this is a DR, no chrome to worry about


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Old 12-11-2012, 04:50 PM   #14
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+1 Todd, Spraying down the bike occasionally is a must. Care must be taken to keep cables lubed and pivot points well greased as well. Krown rust spray works the best for electrical connections and the bike can be fogged with it after a wash to expel moisture that can cause problems later.
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