Black Ice Weekend

After mentioning that I have not put my studded tires on Oma yet, I missed them this weekend.  Some mild precipitation on Friday night caused patches of black ice to form all around the city.

I had to walk Oma over black ice several times while getting around on Saturday – biking to Logan Square to try on vintage outfits from Holly’s Lucite Box for the upcoming Bike Winter Fashion Show (found a gorgeous blue velvet dress), back to Lakeview for Heritage Bicycles’ grand opening party (crowded!), and to Wicker Park with a bikey group to see circus-punk marching band Mucca Pazza (pure fun). On Sunday, I decided simply to take the L to the Loop to see Mamet’s Race at Goodman Theatre (excellent).

Not simply a wet road, but a sheet of thin black ice

Based on this experience, I decided to put the studded tires on Oma, but today’s forecasted high of 44 F has me delaying the studs again. But I’m extra cautious while biking, especially at night.

I’ll leave you with a Mucca Pazza song to brighten your Monday morning. :)

  • http://twitter.com/aka60643 AKA60643

    I saw plenty of thawing and refreezing both Saturday and yesterday. Lots of streets in my neighborhood were very treacherous on both mornings and nights. With the forecast temps staying above freezing for the next few days, hopefully that threat will be gone by the time icy temps return.

  • Aimee Miles

    I suppose it might have been black ice I fell on this morning. The roads by my house were merely wet, but a slight temperature difference en route to work had me take a sudden and surprising spill while trying to turn halfway along my commute. I ended up skidding along the road facing backwards and I burned a lot of soft leather off my right hand glove, which I suppose was reflexively trying to halt my momentum.
    This makes my fifth fall off Zoomie, my bike with slick hybrid tires. I’m proud that number isn’t higher with our 3 weeks of snow/rain/slush/melt/rinse/repeat. But I’m tired of falling. Today my husband and I will try to make our own studded tires.

    Glad you had a great weekend! We celebrated a relative’s birthday with a pizza party and their anniversary with movie night and tacos.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Yikes! Sorry to hear about the injuries to your glove, but I’m glad it sounds like you made it out okay. Let me know how your homemade studded tire project works out. I’ve seen an article about using zip ties once, but I don’t know anyone who’s tried it.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Yikes! Sorry to hear about the injuries to your glove, but I’m glad it sounds like you made it out okay. Let me know how your homemade studded tire project works out. I’ve seen an article about using zip ties once, but I don’t know anyone who’s tried it.

  • http://twitter.com/lovelybicycle Lovely Bicycle!

    Ack, that black ice looks scary! This is basically why I’ve put my roadbike away for the winter. Even though there is no snow, the roads will occasionally look like this, particularly out in the countryside, and when I am going fast downhill there is not always time to notice.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Oh gosh, I get nervous going downhill (probably because I rarely have the opportunity to do so) and the thought of hitting a patch of ice on the way down and not being able to stop – eeeeesh.

  • Anonymous

    Just put one studded tire on the front for now with the black ice.

  • http://carolynibistest.blogspot.com/ Carolyn

    I should really get studded tires or try like Aimee is doing, making her own studded tires. The main roads are bare now but wet. In the afternoon there is not really much black ice as it’s above zero, but in the morning when it’s cooler, there is a lot of black ice out there. And darkness and black ice don’t mix well.

  • http://yaybeth.blogspot.com/ Beth

    It is (weirdly enough) a relief to hear this – I’ve been worrying I was just making excuses for myself all weekend. My motivation has been low but I really do need to get on the bike when the weather’s decent, to get past my Extreme Newbie status. Yet it was fear of ice that really kept me from it this weekend. I couldn’t imagine that the lake shore path would be much better than the iced-over sidewalks in my neighborhood, and I’m not ready for anything but the lake shore path!

    But maybe I’m wrong. I know the city often plows the path when there’s been a snowfall, but in your experience do they spread salt on it as well, when there’s only ice out there?

  • Thom Wilson

    C’mon now Dottie, fess up. Is that you playing trombone
    with Mucca Pazza??

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      You found me out! Secret identity. ;)

  • Craneman200

    I picked up my new Linus Gaston on Fri evening and could hardly wait to try it out on my usual 25 mile Sat loop. The first 8-10 miles were on well traveled secondary roads, so no problems. Then I cut thru a State park and the white knuckle ride began. Lots of black ice and some frozen puddles made for several anxious moments, but I made it through safe & sound. Still tweaking the Linus to fit my individual preferences, but I have to say that it’s everything I hoped it would be.

    Ride safe, Jim

  • http://locojoe.com/ Randy

    Love Mucca Pazza. Have only seen them at Tour De Fat.

  • http://www.robertlinthicum.com/ Robert Linthicum

    The strategy you may want to consider is leaving the studdies on and keeping them inflated to their upper range on dry and/or warm days. Drop the pressure on potentially icy days. Repeat.

    Also, part of running studdies is having confidence in them, which only comes from practice and experience. Seek out ice to ride your studs on and get a feel for it. They do keep you “connected” on ice, if you let them.

  • Nancy E.

    Oh, this is so timely! I slipped on black ice in an alley on Sunday and fell… right on the knee I fell on three weeks earlier! Even more painful was my chagrin because I knew I should have been walking the bike at that point–plus, it turned out I was going down the wrong alley! I am with you on just dealing with alternate modes of transport for the few days of snow and ice we have left this winter. Maybe next year I’ll consider studded tires for my vintage Raleigh commuter!

  • http://locojoe.com/ Randy

    Love Mucca Pazza. Have only seen them at Tour De Fat.

  • http://www.robertlinthicum.com/ Robert Linthicum

    The strategy you may want to consider is leaving the studdies on and keeping them inflated to their upper range on dry and/or warm days. Drop the pressure on potentially icy days. Repeat.

    Also, part of running studdies is having confidence in them, which only comes from practice and experience. Seek out ice to ride your studs on and get a feel for it. They do keep you “connected” on ice, if you let them.

  • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

    That’s all good advice. This would be my fourth winter with studded tires, so I’m used to them. I probably won’t end up putting them on at all this winter. Other than this weekend and a couple of previous days, the roads have not been icy or snowy at all. Now today’s 50 F, there’s no snow on the horizon, and only about one month of serious winter left. Since getting the tires on is a huge pain in the ass (b/c of my chain guard and internal hub) it’s not worth it. I’d rather be forced to ride the L for a few days, if necessary.