Typically, bicycling in winter is a little more complicated but manageable.

But after 5 feet of snow has fallen within a month here, this winter is nowhere near manageable. It’s pretty unpleasant to bicycle, I admit it. I’ve considered other options but all of them are even more unpleasant.

takinglaneAnd just when getting around Boston was bad, it got worse as public transit started failing and streets became fully gridlocked making bicycling pretty much impossible.



So I turned to walking which suddenly became the fastest option. The problem is that cities only only plow for people in cars. There’s nothing like record snowfall to show the inequality. Walking in winter in a city is like navigating an impossible maze.



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29 Comments on "Mazed"

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I’m starting to think that the snowfields which our illustrious elected officials keep talking about are actually the city sidewalks (and bike paths)…

Steph VW

You’ve nailed it again.

In Halifax, NS, we’ve had a ridiculous amount of snow (Not nearly as much as Boston, but we are so used to the snow, rain, melt cycle, that this accumulation is crazy to us). Cyclists and pedestrians are suffering as a result of snow clearing teams just trying to keep up.


Scott, really the reason is just timing and priorities. Money is really tight at the moment and I can’t justify the price even at $100 for a pair. I already had an extra set of MTB knobbies from a free bike I grabbed, so the DIY option cost me virtually nothing. Once my finances are better I may buy some, but I wanted to experiment first.

Scott Wagner

Makes sense. I have heard a number of times of people making DIY studded tyres, and wondered if it is effective. Please write back once you have used them for awhile and let us know how they work out!

Well, I tried them out on my commute and I’m pleased to report they work great so far! While they add some noticeable rolling resistance, it’s actually much less than I expected. I didn’t stud the center of the tread, just a zig-zag pattern slightly off to each side, similar to the basic Schwalbe Winters. They wiggled a little over large patches of glare ice, but didn’t slide out. I think the DIY route is only worth it if you have most of the stuff on hand. I don’t think I would bother if I had to buy a new… Read more »
Brian, that’s awesome news about your DIY studded tires. I went the retail route for my tires, but however you get there (home brew or off-the-shelf) I’ve found that they’re necessary to keep Biking There in winter Yes, they add some rolling resistance, but I’ll take that tradeoff for more stability on the bike. Or, think of it this way: you’re training for that glorious day when spring comes, the snow melts, birds are singing, and you can switch back to slick tires : ) Those are the thoughts that keep me going in these long winter months.
Dave Hoffman

A battalion of street and sidewalk plows make a difference in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, but off the main drag, the sidewalks tend to be either sloppy or lethal. These will often be adjacent to clear pavement and exude the same privileged car message. The busier streets are usually alright for winter biking and the car drivers are used to cyclists. There are a few bike paths that also get plowed to hard pack though not consistently.

Pekka Tahkola

..or you could move to Oulu, Finland, located just below arctic circle, the best winter cycling city in the world where the ped & bike paths are no 1 priority and cleared before driveways. See this little video I made: