Question regarding ice during winter riding...

Discussion in 'Canada' started by csisfun, Nov 29, 2012.

  1. csisfun

    csisfun Adventurer

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Oddometer:
    39
    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?
    #1
  2. Tosh Togo

    Tosh Togo Long timer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,594
    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. :eek1

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

    Indicators?.... you fall down. :puke1
    #2
  3. NHADV

    NHADV Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    554
    Location:
    Gilford N.H.
    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.
    #3
  4. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,342
    Location:
    Barrie Ont
    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.

    Ken
    #4
  5. edwin

    edwin Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    339
    Location:
    E Kootenais BC Canada
    how does your insurance company view using a bike outside of frost free weather??
    #5
  6. 568V8

    568V8 Ontario Vstrommer

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2008
    Oddometer:
    203
    Location:
    Kingston, 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.
    #6
  7. Forseti

    Forseti Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,276
    Location:
    Rogues' Hollow Ontario
    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?"
    #7
  8. damurph

    damurph Cold Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Oddometer:
    2,025
    Location:
    The far east of the far east of North America
    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.
    #8
  9. stfmkr

    stfmkr 2up Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Huntsville, Ontario
    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!
    #9
  10. bumper1871

    bumper1871 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2008
    Oddometer:
    368
    Location:
    Montreal Qc
    Regular washing is very important because the salt can do a lot of dammage.
    #10
  11. JimmieA

    JimmieA Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,281
    Location:
    Eastern Canada
    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.
    #11
  12. McJamie

    McJamie STROMINATOR

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,413
    Location:
    Courtice, Ontario, Canada
    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.
    #12
  13. toddiscdn

    toddiscdn Take off, EH!

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Oddometer:
    1,047
    Location:
    Blue Point, Ontario
    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:D


    Todd
    #13
  14. stfmkr

    stfmkr 2up Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Oddometer:
    39
    Location:
    Huntsville, Ontario
    +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.
    #14