Friday, December 30, 2011

Icebergs and sunken ships

Xmas was nice, nothing to report about that. So this is an after the storm report. A few days ago Scandinavia was hit by a storm. Here in Oulu it meant strong winds, temperature around freezing and rising sea levels. The sea got 1.8m above the normal, and flooded some parking lots near the sea and cut off some roads and paths near to the coast. As the temperature was near zero degrees Celsius and it was raining and snowing and then freezing again, and the wind pushing people around the meteorological institute issued a warning for "difficult conditions for pedestrians". Warnings about difficult conditions for drivers are more usual, so the conditions were really nasty for walking and cycling.

The westerly wind pushed some ice rafts upstream (or stopped them going out to the sea, who knows) on the mouth of the river. Here I'm on the bridge seen on my dirty bridge video. The flow of the river tries to take the ice away, and wind kept pushing them back.
The ice chucks were about 5 inches thick. Which btw. is almost strong enough to hold a small car. The waves broke the ice and pushed them on top of each other.
Not a very good photo, but that's some rowing boats upside down in the water. Many people pull their boats to dry ground and turn them over for storage. The boats will not get filled with water which makes them easier to use. And in winter the water will freeze and expand, which might crack the boat.

I wonder if the owners bothered to go and check their boats? Water is high and the boats are not on dry ground anymore. It is Xmas and New Year, but if it gets cold this winter they'll be frozen tight, and in the spring the flood will take them out to the sea with the ice. (Could I get a boat for free if I salvage it in the spring? :-)
All bikeways were rather icy, but especially nasty were some crossings where the street was snowplowed after the bikeway. A pile of snow was left, and when people walked and rode over it, it flattened and froze. Only it had nice 4 inch deep grooves on them, to capture your wheels.
On the other hand, the other sections were in pretty good condition.
Today it was snowing.  I took some photos of fresh tracks on the bikeway, but it was too dark already and I didn't get any good ones. And I tried to take an 'artistic' shot of a church, but it was lousy too. Blah. So you don't see them :-D Maybe better luck tomorrow. Or Next Year!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Letting things Slide

That's one phrase that came to my mind when I was trying to ride uphill on the icy bikeway. The short bikeway on the photo has not been gritted and is probably one of the lasts on the todo list. Other low priority bikeways had not been gritted yet. With the forecast promising temperatures between -1C and +1 C it will be needed, unless they expect all the ice will melt away?

 When the rear wheel started slipping when I pushed down on the pedal, I decided to take it as a sign that I'm getting stronger. I don't recall that happening in the summer! Not that the low gear I had on had anything to do with it. With two bags of shopping weighing me down and an uphill, gears are great.

Just a few days it looked like this:

when I was riding around. From that ride I also made a video video about taking corners when riding on ice. (Oh, the annotations buttons are working again for me in youtube, good. Didn't work for days. )

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 months of cycling and blogging

It's been a little over a year since I opened this blog. It started because I was reading cycling blogs from around the world and someone said you can't cycle in the winter and you don't need bikeways. I wanted to show them wrong.

The best cycle infrastructure is in The Netherlands, so you can go read Hembrow's blog what it looks like. Copenhagenize gets some snow so they can brag about how well those bike paths around the city are cleaned. But neither of those great cycling propaganda sites said how important segregated bikeways really are for cycling in the winter. I did, in the post about Bikeways in the winter. Then I noticed I had said pretty much everything there was to be said about it and started writing junk.

According to the stats, the most popular posts have been The EST and Bikeways in the winter. I'm sure these are the most popular posts because they were early in my blogging career. They got hits because curious people came to see the new blog. The other posts were visited my me. Later in the year it was obvious that I write mostly junk posts and nobody bothered anymore. Or maybe it was because I started using other aliases for commenting on other blogs and they couldn't follow me here.

Today I spent a few hours cutting clips from videos from the previous year and editing and uploading the resulting fair weather cycling video to youtube. The screenshot of the video shows the almost-midnight sun from June.
I already knew that I didn't have many usable videos from the mid-winter, as it was either too cold or too dark or both for my md80 clone. And my camera is not water proof so I didn't use it when it rained. So what you see on the video is kind of a fair weather cycling, all the rainy, dark and cold days removed.

Although at the end of the video you can see me riding when it's raining snow/sleet. I was testing my new camera mount, again. I had the camera protected by thin, clear plastic out of a candy box, and it seemed to work well. And the candy was good, too!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Photos showing snowing but no snow plowing

Two weeks since I last posted. What's happened since? Got some snow, which melted away. Repeat a few times. Last weekend we got more snow, followed rain and below freezing temperatures. Everything was glazed with ice. According to the newspaper the emergency rooms had a busier than normal weekend because people got wrist injuries etc. when they fell on the slippery ice. Even motorists were more careful than usual.

The first two photos are from last week.

And the last one shows the latest development in our campaign for global warming, the central heating under the pavement of Rotuaari, the pedestrian street downtown. It snowed today, and all the streets and sidewalks had snow and ice on them, except the Rotuaari was ice-free. Which was nice.
The blue sign on the left says "no bike parking on the plaza!" Another sign of lack of thinking from planners? Where are we supposed to park our bikes? And haven't they heard of the rule of fifteen steps? Any bike rack further than 15 steps from the door is too far and bikes will be parked closer to the door, if possible. Like a few scoff-law cyclists had done near the white semi-spere on the photo.

I'm sure I've heard the excuses to ban parking on the plaza, but I've forgotten them. Maybe they had to do with them blocking the plaza when the pedestrian street is full of people. But the racks on the narrower streets off the plaza will be no problem, hmm? Maybe they want us to use the underground parking hall they're going to build. That would have a negative impact on cycling. Having to walk (more than 15 steps :-) from some far-way parking to the destination increases travel time.

Also, it's been more than a year since my first post, so I'm working on a list of most popular posts. And I'm trying to find time to edit and upload some videos.