2008/11/20

Year round bike lanes



Like I did last year, I will soon tackle the french canadian snow and keep on my hour a day commute to work 5 days a week. It can be tricky to ride the busy streets of a big city in the winter, streets are narrower, car drivers don't expect you on the road so they are even more careless about cyclists than they already are, it's slippery... This year though, it could be a little bit easier as Montreal has decided to keep 30km worth of bike paths open year round. I'm not sure how much of these winter paths will be between my home and my workplace and we're far from the current 400km total but it's a start. You can consult the map to find the opened lanes. I checked today and some that are marked in white are already closed so I take it only the blue lined ones will stay opened for sure.

I usually try to avoid bike lanes and paths as it's not a good place to go fast and it's where you find the worst cyclists around (the ones who don't look where they go, don't do their blind angles when turning and those that zig-zag at 3km/h two lane wide) and those damn rollerbladers who are taking all the space, don't look behind and of course are wearing their iPods so they can't hear you... I'm thinking that for now, the lanes will only be used in the winter by the true cyclists and the bike messengers... It might not help with the problem of people on foot that seem to forget how much a cyclist running into them can hurt (except that fat buisness man I hit last summer) so they don't look before crossing a lane like they should and like most of them would with a street. Watch out Montreal bike lane jaywalkers, studded winter tires can rip through your legs in no time.

4 comments:

electric said...

Nice tires Dan gerous, was looking at buying a pair myself... you run them 5 days a week or keep them on standby for bad days?

oh.. and it's a somewhat lucky thing he was fat; more cushioning to soften the collision! haha!

Dan Gerous said...

I usually just use regular mountain bike tires, no studs but it can get very slippery sometimes and they don't work too well on snow covered roads where they'll pack up and become rolling snowballs that slips on the harder icy pavement. Cyclocross tires work better as they are much narrower and snow doesn't stick to them as much.

On the other hand, full studded tires like the ones pictured above are not too good when it's relatively dry or just not as icy which is the majority of winter days. I'm thinking of trying tires that are in between, rubber in the middle but with some studs on the sides. If it's dry, pump them a bit harder and you mostly roll on rubber only (just don't lay the bike too low to take fast corners), if it gets slippery, drop the pressure to get a bigger contact patch and the studs can do their job... I'm still on full slicks right now (on my bike and my car).

Crashing into fat people sure hurts less than on skinny or fit people... but fit people often have better reflexes and are quicker to get out of the way to begin with. ;)

The Jackal said...

That's pretty cool that the City of Montreal is helping to keep cycling going in the off-season by clearing trails. Hopefully it is worthwhile for them.

Dan Gerous said...

Montreal has been late to get bike friendly but they picked it up well lately. The cycling network has been expended a lot in the last few years, now starting to stay open and functional in winter, next spring there will be a public bike service similar to Paris, Berlin and other cities (pay as you ride kind of bike, solar powered bike stations, almost 100% non standard parts so they don't get stolen... pretty cool). We're far from being like Amsterdam or Copenhagen but it's improving. Now if the race scene could pick up... We need cross races right in the city.