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A Final Note on My Saturday Morning Ride in the Snow…

April 2016
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The other day I wrote what was meant to be a humorous post about a ride in which several of us got stuck out in the snow – and believe me, looking at the photos with my bike covered in snow and slush and snow clogging my helmet vents, it was funny.

There’s another dimension to that though…  After speaking with my friends and wife, we all agreed that there was more fear involved in that ride than any previous.

First, on one hand we didn’t really have any choice as we got caught out by bad weather that showed up two hours earlier than forecast.  On the other, even with bright, neon clothing and a flashing light, motorist visibility sucked.  Add to the lousy visibility for the motorists, the fact that we couldn’t see either and that the roads were so wet riding in anything but a straight line was nerve-racking, the experience was one that I will not look to repeat any time soon.

In fact, of the five of us involved in that little adventure, all five of us lost our breath every time we heard a car coming, wondering if we were going to get plowed into.

The important aside to that post is that riding in conditions where motorists are going to have a tough time seeing should be avoided at all costs.  While we got stuck out, there’s no way I’d have gone out if that snow had been in the forecast – at least not on the paved roads.  It just wouldn’t have been worth the risk.

While I am glad I toughed out some difficult conditions, I just thought it necessary to add the caveat that I also wouldn’t do that on purpose.  Better to ride on the trainer and be bored than risk not coming home in one piece.  Motorists appear to have a difficult enough time seeing us in good conditions.

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20 Comments

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    Great post and safety reminder. Sounds like a scary ride. So glad you are all okay (and can laugh about it now).

  2. Sue Slaght says:

    Appreciate you letting others no the risk involved Jim. As you say this is not something you would have headed out in.

  3. The unlikely runner says:

    Wise words indeed.

  4. wanderwolf says:

    Yes, true. It’s cool to be badass when caught by surprise. It’s stupid to go out on purpose to be badass in poor conditions. Glad you all made it back safely!

  5. Ian says:

    Good post dude.. I guess the issue of note is that alongside the reduced visibility a cars stopping distance is increased..

    Hell we’re all wise after the event. I’m glad nothing untoward happened and you’re able to remind us 🙂

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks Ian. Fortunately, this being spring, none of the couple inches we got, stuck. Other than visibility, it was like riding in a cold rain as far as the roads went.

  6. MJ Ray says:

    That’s a bit of a sad post. Have people near you given up expecting motorists to drive so they can stop within what they can see to be clear? (which is what our Highway Code says to do)

    • bgddyjim says:

      I don’t see it that way at all, as the post having a sad tenor to it… I simply understand human nature for what it is rather than what it should be. Our highway code reads just as yours does but that’s not exactly how it works in reality, now does it?

      As another example, it’s illegal to run a cyclist over in the UK but it still happens. I simply try to ride accordingly when the conditions deteriorate.

      • MJ Ray says:

        No, sadly that’s not how it’s working lately, but I feel the solution is to push to hold motorists accountable for any substandard driving, rather than give up and avoid cycling “at all costs”. I wouldn’t ride for fun in those conditions, mainly because it’s not much fun when I can’t see where I’m going properly, but I may still want to travel and you can’t count on mass transport or even a car being able to reach some places in snow – that’s why there’s an ice bike in the shed, after all.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I understand brother, and I share your ideal. I just won’t be betting my life on it. 😎

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