Thursday, January 29, 2015

School yard in Tyrnävä

Here's what a School yard in Finland might look like in the winter:

picture by Koivuneva/Kaleva
That picture above makes me wonder if there's enough gritting or too much? Bikes like sand, potkukelkkas (kick sleds) do not. Obviously the sleds are 'in' at the moment. I did sometimes go to school with kicksled when I was a kid, too, bot that was ages ago. Walk, bike, kicksled or ski. (Skiing is the easiest way to transport skis to the school for the gym class. :-)

And here's a link to related story in the local newspaper Newspaper Kaleva story with a video of kids arriving at school.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Think positive!

Since the beginning of the year 2015 it has been legal to ride a bicycle without any lights! Yes, really! It's true! Now it is enough to have a headlight or some other light strapped onto the rider, when before the light had to be attached TO THE BIKE. That means I've lost dozens of chances to feel smug and superior to those headlight wearing lawbreakers.

What's left? The lightless ninjas, of course. But the ninjas just are so lame, they don't give me enough satisfaction. Thank god there are still some people with red lights on front, so I can think to myself 'tut tut, are you riding backwards?'

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ice removal

It's not enough to remove the snow! Well, it would be if the first vehicle on the street would be the snow plow tractor or truck also equipped with magical snow sucker to get the last flake off the ground.

But they're not. The snow gets packed into ice under the wheels (and feet) and each time it snows the ice layers get thicker and thicker. And this packing happens only where the wheels run, leaving the other areas of the street unpacked. And those unpacked areas are easy to move by plow, wind and later in the spring, by melting. Which means there will be little hills of ice and everybody will be trying to stay on top of the hills and not fall.

Today I met a big ice scraper scraping the ice hills off the street. It was followed by a wheel loader clearing the driveways. Shoveling the ice chips is not fun! They're much heavier than powder snow. :-)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Here's where the clip started

The clip in the previous post started from top of an overpass. The road below is a bit dug in, but the bridge still gives a nice boost going downhill!

I started wondering how the drivers below will like piles of snow and chunks of ice raining down on them when the snow plows clean the overpass, as there almost certainly will be some going trough the railing... then I noticed the "chicken wire" behind the railing in the upper picture. Ok, one inch pieces of ice are not so dangerous.

There's still some room to plow more snow to the side before you need to get a wheel loader (or a tractor with a front loader) to remove it.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Funny! A Winter Mushroom!

This is a few days old picture, taken before the last bout of snow. A car, covered in snow. Snow melts, runs down the bonnet and sometimes you get this:
An ice scupture? An ice mushroom? It will scare the careless mobilist who parks his car here and crashes into it. Although more likely, the snow plow got it first.

Wet snow will turn into ice when cars drive over it, causing un-ruts (whatever is the opposite of  a rut :-) of ice which are hard to remove by a regular snow plow (you need a scraper for that). These unruts, covered by snow were the reason for several crashes while the snow was still coming (I guess there were some pileups too). At least that's what the drivers claimed. And I think I read about a car flipping over a few days later when the weather got colder and the salted main roads started to freeze. Salt does not prevent freezing, it just makes it happen in colder temperature. So one might get that partially frozen, black ice road surface at -20C that we had a few days ago.

Luckily, there is no salt on bikeways so we're spared from artificial slipperyness, although that 15 or 20 centimeters of snow did make riding a bit difficult. :-P