Friday, December 09, 2016

English weather

We got a cloudy day, with some drizzle and mist. Very english weather. (I've never visited the UK. I've just heard it rains there all the time. And fog. :-) The trees have been covered in white frost and postcard scenes were everywhere. Now it warmed above freezing and the trees have lost the shine. Bikeways are a bit sloshy and will need the gritting once the heat wave passes.
Ice fishers do not like this weather either, as there is water on top of the ice, too. That makes harder to see if there are any holes in the ice. And it also makes walking on the ice extra exciting. :^)
I tried to get some of the fog in the picture... there are some high buildings behind the cars but they are not visible... so I guess I got the fog. Here we are salmoning safely on the bikeway. I hope the plowers find time to remove the slosh pile on the left before it freezes solid. Although with their 10 ton wheel loaders they'll be able to crack it even if freezes. The railings might get damaged in the process, though.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New Tracks

Today I saw the "First Snow" of the winter. The meteorological office rules say a minimum of 1 cm of snow to qualify as "official" first snow and we had that. On centimeter is not a lot, but enough for the kids to get out the sleds! Although they noticed they didn't slide very well, the gravel beneath was not slippery. :-)

And it's enough for bikes to leave tracks. I was the first here!

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Despite hits by a lightning, truck, space debris and attacks of bears and ducks, and bouts of brain tumors and heart attacks and decapitation, I'm still alive. Sorry, but I've been busy and lazy so I haven't posted anything.

I did some videos during the summer, but by now the videos are several months old so there's no point in posting them. Browsing the folders, I did find one that was not too outdated. (Last I saw they had dug up the underpass.)

That's a bunch of signs. Maximum vehicle height 3.8 meters, "Other Danger" sign with the plaques below telling what the danger is: "limited height" and "flooding". The 40km/h area limit ends here.

But the water depth meter is something new!

It's there to give drivers a way to see how deep the water is, so they do not have to find out the hard way. This underpass has drainage problems and gets flooded after heavy rains. Sometimes the drivers find out their car is not amphibious. But they're fixing the drainage problems by digging up the underpass. But how will drivers get to the other side of the railway tracks? Ooh, Carmageddon! :-)

Thursday, April 07, 2016

Uneven melting

Last week I was driving along a rural road. I couldn't drive very fast, as the conditions were not very good.

(Here should be a photo, but the upload does not work. Use your imagination.) Edit: it worked today! :-)

Parts of the road were covered with ice, with nice four inch ruts zigzagging on the ice. On some spots the plowman had done a closer shave, and the sun had melted the ice away and revealed the soggy gravel road. The soggy gravel works like wet sand, it is soft and can drag the car to the side.

Here I am, with the car sliding a meter to the left and right on the ruts and the quicksand pits, enjoying the improved conditions on the road. Because the Summer is coming: snow is melting fast. The fields are mostly snow free, the forests still have some. Rivers will flood and the ice will float downriver this weekend.

A few days earlier, the ice on the road was a few inches thicker. Which meant that the ruts on the ice were six, even eight inches on some spots. If there had been no plowing, this road would not be driveable for a few weeks.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Results of plowing

Case 1: Three meters of smooth, gritted bikeway. The snow gets dumped in the ditch on the right. This is one of the major routes between downtown and the northern parts of the town.

Case 2: On street lane. Most of the snow has been transported away as there are no piles like in the pic above. No gritting to be seen. Ice and snow on the right. Left side of the lane might be clear asphalt or black ice. Oh, that's right, cars are riding in the bike lane and the lane marking is gone already. On the left is an entrance to the parking cave, and the drivers are afraid of crashing into the concrete. After the intersection they do not drive in the bike lane as much and the whole bike lane is full of snow.

To even things out, I cycled  along the right wheel ruts, too. :^EP

Monday, February 29, 2016

Dealing with the snow

A week or two ago had a post about dealing with snow on cycle lanes. It does snow here, and we have a lot of winter cycling, so we're now world famous to be mentioned in the Streetsblog article! Although they got it a bit wrong when they claimed we have an unique method of dealing with the snow: instead of salting, brushing or plowing, we compact it!

Just the thought of  anyone actually doing that makes me cringe. Apart from a ski resort or the jogging paths turned into ski tracks trough the forests, it does not make any sense. Although maybe it might actually work during the early winter, it would fail spectacularly every time we get a heat wave with above freezing temperatures.

Even with regular plowing we get 20 or 30 centimeters of accumulated ice on the roads. Snow turns into ice under the tyres of the cars and from the sunshine etc. By compacting we'd get more ice. Not all ice would be equally dense, some would be compacted more under the tyres and feet.

In the spring, maybe the softer ice melts a bit faster. The tyre ruts would be higher. Imaginne trying to drive along greased backs of pigs. Or maybe the ice starts to crack under your tyres. Pretty soon you'd be driving along 30cm deep ruts filled with slosh, hoping you'll be able to get out of the ruts when you want to turn. 

We don't use brush a lot for snow. Brushes are for street cleaning and collecting the gritting sand in the spring. For snow it's plowing, only on motorways and other big roads some salt is used as it's pretty difficult to try to keep the road surface ice/snow free.

Some comments re cycling and plowing:

  1. Wide paths. 
  2. On street lanes suck.
Bikeways need to be big enough for the plows used to clear them. A pickup truck can deal with small snows, but they can't push the piles further away if it keeps snowing. A wheel loader or a tractor can be used to make room for the pickup again.

The bikeways I'm riding are practically roads for bikes. The get plowed and gritted properly. The few on-street lanes in downtown are horrible, full of snow and ice. The gritting was not visible so I can't comment on that. :-/