Over the Christmas holiday the Midwest found itself in a deluge of snow. I made it home all right but many others were stranded or unable to be with family and loved ones on Christmas. A stretch of the venerable I-94 was shut off from Christmas Eve until Boxing Day (December 26th) afternoon.
The large snow accumulation kept plows busy. Unfortunately for me, when I return home to the Go (best place to find a job as noted by CNN), a 7 foot by 3 foot high wall of snow prevented me from entering the garage. The parking lot was no better- 3 feet in most spots. Let the snow removal begin!
The next morning I got ready to challenge the snow with the winter bike. Private sidewalks were pretty well cleared. The streets were decent but compacted snow was beginning to form in places and I have not put on the studded tires yet.
Public walkways I use were largely disregarded. With the city planning on putting into effect sidewalk shoveling ordinances, it would be wise if the city also did its part in removing the snow from public sidewalks within 48 hours. I had to "portage" the bike through 3 foot banks in order to get over a bridge. It was strenuous work.
Though I tend to say roads are probably the best bet for winter riding- I am going to put in a caveat due to a wipe out I had this morning. Unless you have studded tires, if roads have impacted snow it may be safer to ride on sidewalks. At least that's how it is panning out thus far in the winter biking season. However with sidewalks, you have the chance of traffic not seeing you due either not paying attention to sidewalk traffic in the winter or snow banks impairing visual scans.
As always, wear proper attire that is bright and have good safety lighting. Increasing your visibility to traffic can prevent the risk of accident with an automobile.