The Inequalities of Winter

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18 Responses

  1. Agatha says:

    So completely true! I’m feeling pretty good with our steep Yorkshire hills on the recent icy days thanks to the metal studded tyres I put on our cargo tricycle but there is a point every day where I have to make a decision between staying on the gritted main road with the cars and lorries or turning onto the ungritted shared use path which takes me part of the way to school. So hard to choose the lesser of 2 evils.

  2. I sure hope that Edinburgh has some delegates coming to Winter Cycling Congress in Calgary this year! Knowledge sharing on maintenance issues would be beneficial from the sounds of it.

    So glad the studded tires are working in your favour. They give me a great sense of confidence, too.

  3. Michelle says:

    Great read, we don’t have snow.. yet, NE England, I cycled to work one day last week on a road bike and the ground was very icy. I got the husband to pick my bike up and got a lift home. Winter cycling scares me tbh. Low winter sun, as a driver myself I struggle the sun blinding me, so worry about my safety when the sun is out. I will stick to my turbo trainer and pray for an early spring.

  4. Heather Smith says:

    I totally hear you about the inequalities regarding gritting! Why are only the roads gritted? Really makes me cross to see so many pedestrians slipping about.

    Funnily enough when it comes to winter riding I am hugely put off by the dark not the cold… I’ve still never ridden in full darkness although this last week I have ridden in dusk and light fog!

    • Diana says:

      The dark can be quite intimidating but it’s not so bad if you have the right kit. I gone one of those grey / silver reflective jackets this year which make me feel more noticeable. There are some really great, affordable bike lights on the market now too.

    • Adrian says:

      Heather if you want to try out cycling at night in friendly company then I would recommend The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling Night Ride in May.

  5. Martin says:

    Studded tyres are great. Last year I swung around a corner onto sheet ice where the top layer had melted – nothing is slippier. The tyres held. I was gobsmacked.

    There is a lot of talk here about ”equality” in snow clearing. The theory goes that statistics show a higher proportion of injuries to peddstrians due to snow and ice, thus Stockholm city prioritise pedestrians over vehicles. One technique that is gaining traction is a mixture of salt and brushing that keeps the tarmac free of ice and snow. This does however require a basic level of pedestrian and cycle infrastructure and it becomes painfully obviius where shortcuts have been taken (on road lanes where cars drive over to get to parking places which end up being bumpy ice fields are my bugbear).

    That said there is a growing number of winter cyclists here which only the worst snowstorms can stop…

  6. Adrian says:

    I have winter tyres for my commuting bike and love riding on the cold crisp mornings. I would choose riding at -5 on a crisp winter morning to a damp/windy/gloomy morning when it’s 15 degrees warmer.

    Sadly I can’t justify the cost of studs for my child transporter though as I only need it once a week. If there’s frost in the air that leaves me joining the queues out of the Gyle with tired hunger children.

    It is a similar story to public transport. At the risk of sounding like a child in a toppling cargo bike it’s plainly unfair that drivers only pay the small incremental cost for each trip they make while train users in particular are paying the entire cost for everything from the track bed upwards when they make a journey.

  7. Karen Gee says:

    So true all of this Diana. You’re spot on with everyone thinking it’s brave to cycle in the winter – when they’re getting into metal boxes that skid everywhere.
    About a decade ago I used to live in a cul-de-sac where a few of the house had occupants well over the age of 70. The moment it snowed they’d be out with their shovels, clearing and gritting the footpath in front of their house, and a path up to their front door. When I spoke to them about it they said that the winters used to be much harsher when they were younger, and everyone used to take responsibility for clearing the area outside of their own house, and younger people would clear older and less able neighbours. Then the tables had turned, and they were the only ones doing it.
    Seems now people spend the time deicing their car windscreens instead. Karen

  8. Ben says:

    Just reading this now, in 2022, after two years of pandemic-mania, but it’s as true as ever! I’m in Toronto, and trust that the gap and lane-blocking vehicles are a thing here too. Luckily (or not) most drivers are too absorbed in their phones or other distractions to spot me coming from behind, so are unlikely to actively move to block. Definitely some who do it as a matter of principle though. That principle being that they are selfish, hateful beings.

  9. LD says:

    Here in Luxembourg the local council grit the cycle paths as well as the roads. Any footpaths that won’t be gritted have a sign saying that they won’t be! We all do our bit to clear and salt the pavement in front of our houses (as I remember we did in Edinburgh when I was a child). I expect there are still some that get missed – I think the problem you show in your photo where the snowplough clears the road and dumps it on the pavement happens here too!

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