I also found out about twenty minutes ago that I have a micro‑climate in our garden, which I hadn't noticed before. We have tall hedges to keep the weather in or out, and the street is largely free from ice and snow except a little on the pavements (sidewalks to people in USA). The garden is covered by a 4″ layer of snow except where I cleared the paths, and it feels distinctly colder in the garden than on the street. So the garden isn't quite 2° above freezing. If we had any wind, the micro‑climate would probably dissipate.
Campbell Ritchie wrote:At least partially because they insist on trying to pull off in bottom gear with lots of throttle as they would on dry roads
Driving in wintry conditions can be tricky even at the best of times. If you're not used to it, or you presume you can just drive the same as you would in Summer, you can end up in a ditch...or worse. Every year we see that where I live (Canada), especially after the first snow fall.
Some of the most dangerous conditions are when the ground is wet, then you get colder air coming in, causing the surface of the road to freeze. And probably the most deceiving, and scary, is black ice. Unseen until your vehicle actually drives over it, it can send you into a tailspin or sliding into who knows what in front of you. I have hit it before. Nothing feels quite as helpless as when your vehicle is completely out of control, and you can only hope it corrects itself and you don't hit something...or someone.
All that aside, I actually like winter.
It is different on a bicycle. It is easier to ride through fresh snow, but snow which packs down into ice is dangerous. If I venture onto black ice, I can rely on falling off. The sides of the streets are full of snow churned up by wheels; if that freezes it becomes dangerous, rutted hard ice. So that narrows the road considerably. And people round here are much less used to wintry conditions, so they either drive as they would in Summer, or, nearly as bad, insist on doing 5mph on a road which would be safe at 15mph.
Campbell Ritchie wrote:... until it hits the ground when it turns into sheets of black ice
Paul Clapham wrote:We had some snow and then some freezing rain on top of it, and then it stayed cold so that nothing thawed out for over a week. You couldn't ride a bike on it, you couldn't even walk on it. I had to put on crampons just to take the garbage bins out for collection.
Freezing rain - one of man's (or woman's) worst fears. Give me a winter of steady -10°C to -20°C temperatures and I can handle that (I am sure some would argue with me on that), with none of that freezing rain/drizzle crap.
Campbell Ritchie wrote:alternating rain and snow and clear skies, so the wet streets froze really quickly
I think that's what takes people by surprise. When it turns bad like that and freezes so quickly we think in our minds it is just wet pavement. It's deceiving, until you go out and try to walk (or cycle, as in your case). Although I give our local media here credit - they are usually pretty good at warning about things like "flash freezes".
Campbell Ritchie wrote:I have been around long enough to be suspicious about the combination of wet and clear skies; I expected ice
That comes with age. Let's fact it, in our youth the word "safety" was not in our dictionary. Slippery pavement was a chance to take a run at it and see how far we could slide...