Our Northwest

Technology enables cyclists to commute on snow, ice

Thursday, January 19, 2017by  Jon Osterberg

cyclist on snowy streetAlthough snow lingers today on many Northwest roads, motorists should watch for hardcore bicyclists and remember to share the road safely.

Just because it's harsh outside, not all commuters climb inside vehicles or stay cozy at home.

That's underscored by a Spokesman-Review article about a woman who commutes via bike all winter, undeterred by snow and ice, thanks to studded bike tires and a high-tech gizmo called the Copenhagen Wheel. It replaces a normal rear wheel and amplifies the rider's pedaling power.

Mariah Rose McKay told the Spokesman-Review her bike enables her to pedal up Spokane's South Hill. She said the Copenhagen Wheel also makes for a safer ride, since she's able to flow better with motorists.

Just as appealing, her fancy wheel reduces exertion and allows McKay to arrive at her destination without being sweaty.

studded bike tire Our PEMCO headquarters flanks Dexter Avenue, one of Seattle's designated high-traffic bike routes. Each morning and evening commute I'm mindful of safely sharing the road with the scores of cyclists who sometimes delay my access into and out of our parking garage.

With this week's harsh weather I wondered, would many Dexter cyclists still commute via a snow-covered arterial?

For at least a few hearty souls, the answer for Spokane cyclists is "yes."

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