Saturday, January 17, 2015

IceBike - Operation Polar Vortex

Hardy cyclists riding through the winter have been socializing monthly in East Hartford for breakfast at Maddie's and this month we're expanding to Downtown Hartford.  It's important that we band together and practice our conversation skills.  Riding through the winter is considered weird enough that others may start giving you a wider berth at work.  Not sure why Hartford metro is so allergic to winter cycling, as it seems that other interesting cities (Boston, Chicago, NYC, Montreal, Minneapolis, Fort Collins, Madison) aren't so fickle.  There is even an official global Winter Bike to Work Day, where you can commit to ride on February 13th.

Ken K on the Bissel Bridge.  It's better now.
This month's IceBike theme is "How Cold Will You Go?"  January is the frigid month and many folks have their lowest temperature limit.  Let's push that limit a little further.  Much to discuss about how to dress and get comfortable at colder temps.  Personally, I've found that my limiting spots are my hands and face.  Fortunately there is a whole industry supplying skiers with gear that handles very similar challenges to winter cycling.   With a good pair of ski mittens and a snowboarding helmet with ear flaps (and even goggles), one can get comfortable at arctic conditions. 

These breakfasts are an informal and flexible meetup to carry bike commuting through the winter and hopefully increase alternative sustainable transportation in the region.  All alternate transport commuters are welcome.  It is entirely reasonable to take bus transit, walk, car/vanpool, or take the train, and having that flexibility in your commute method helps cut down on single occupancy car use.  If you just want to stop by for winter cycling tips we've got you covered.  Bicycle commuters are generally stoked to share the tips they've learned the hard way to save others the trouble.  We'll see you out there!

IceBike to Work
Friday, January 23rd

Maddie's in East Hartford
Right across from Pratt & Whitney on Main Street
6:45AM - 8:15AM 

Jojo's in Downtown Hartford
Pratt Street, just off Main Street
7:00AM - 8:30AM

VERY IMPORTANT - In advocacy news, your attendance and public comment is desperately needed on Wednesday, January 21st.  The informational and public comment meeting is conveniently located at the Hartford Public Library with an open house (general chatting and looking at maps) starting at 3PM.  The presentation starts at 5:30PM.  Want to fill seats with cyclists (bring your helmets inside), walkers, and transit users.  Very important to look at this project as an opportunity to stitch our community and neighborhoods back together.  The CT DOT now has an adopted Complete Streets policy.  Let's make sure the I-84 plans are safe for all road users, particularly where the entrance and exit ramps hit neighborhood streets.  More information at

PROGRESS - For some reason you're still reading.  Here at the bitter end I'll give our veritable BBB contributor Salem and other bike advocates credit for hassling the CT DOT until they got serious about snow and ice clearing on the bike/ped sidewalks along Connecticut River highway bridges.  In years past the I-91 Bissel Bridge between Windsor and South Windsor was a mess of three foot tall ice piles that would last well into the Spring.  The CT DOT now recognizes that they are legally required (by statute) to clear the bridge.  It took several years of contacts from Bike Walk CT and local bicycle commuters, but progress has been made.  I even saw salt laid down on my daily route across the Charter Oak Bridge.  In previous years the Charter Oak bridge was plowed, but still had a 1/2-1" thick icy layer remaining during snowy weeks.  Not having a large icy patch at the downhill turn on the Hartford side is much appreciated.  Keep up the good work folks.  Thanks to Salem, CT DOT, and the DOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board.  It feels like the recently adopted Complete Streets policy is actually affecting a welcome cultural shift.


Tony C said...

Holy crap. Sunday was a global weirdness poster child. Fingers crossed for equally challenging weather on Friday. I hate easy stuff.

Anonymous said...

The founders bridge gets plowed and salt, but it is done by riverfront recapture. They do a good job, except they don't clear on weekends or holidays, so it can make for a slippery monday am.

Tony C said...

The DOT is supposed to have agreements in place for clearing pedestrian crossings. That was never done for Bissel Bridge, until now.

Tony C said...

We had a measly three in East Hartford, and Hartford showed us up with five at Jojo's. Not too shabby. Will plan on both in February.

CV said...

I would have made it to the EH breakfast, but I had to be at work before you even started! Looks like the ice is here for the next month or so :)

Tonisha Haan said...

Yeah... Go for it.