Winter cycling paths
Turku's winter cycling campaign is going great so far, in my opinion, and I hope they continue it and expand it in future winters. I even filled out a feedback form telling them so. I also suggested that they expand it out toward where I live (I couldn't resist).
We had a ton of snow the last three days, and then a partial melt/thaw last night, which then re-froze this morning. This is worst-case scenario for cycling, because all the slush and ruts and footprints get frozen into a rough terrain that is really hard to bike on. My bike commute is usually 15-20 minutes; today it took me 36. I probably could have gone faster, but I confess I am extra cautious in these icy conditions. I see plenty of people just bust right through it, some even without studded tires. I have figured out that some of this skill and courage (and reckless abandon) probably comes from cross-country skiing - it employs some of the same techniques of balance and focusing on a steady, straight line even when the terrain is uneven. But I just can't manage it with the same finesse as my co-commuters - every wobble sets me on edge.
Anyway, here is the difference between one of Turku's designated winter cycling routes:
and a route left to its own devices (though I believe this was ploughed at some point):
And that is not soft, pliant powder. Oh no. It's crusty ice-slush.
Meanwhile, up by my house:
And heading downhill before dawn (not hard to do when dawn is like 9.30):
I always enjoy the exercise and scenery - just look at that picturesque scene! - but I don't enjoy the white-knuckle icy rides to and from work. I'll likely take the bus more often when conditions are like this - that takes me around 30 minutes, which would have been faster than my bike commute today!