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Old 15.09.2011, 22:19
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winter cycling in Lausanne

I'd like to commute to work by bike this winter (if possible). Are there any cold-weather commuters out there? If so, what are the biking conditions like in Lausanne in the winter? Thanks!
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Old 15.09.2011, 23:41
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

Yes, I cycle all year round. Normally on a road, not mountain bike

Inside Lausanne, there might be a few days of the year during which I would advise not to cycle at all.

Last year apart from a 1-2 week period my 20Km cycle between Lausanne and Vevey was always possible.

As time passes, and global warming really gets hold I can only say that your prospects for the future look better and better.

Personally I'd cycle if it is dry. If its mild rain or snow I'd run. And if its heavy rain or heavy snow then I'd drive or take the train.

regards marcus b
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Old 16.09.2011, 06:18
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

Shelly, you might want to update your location.

In terms of snow, it really depends on where you live. If you live in Lausanne and you are biking to UNIL/EPFL you should not have any problem. If you are living above Lausanne, you will have some snow on a number of days over the winter. It will not stay for very long but it will make biking unsafe while it is on the ground.
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Old 16.09.2011, 06:33
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As time passes, and global warming really gets hold I can only say that your prospects for the future look better and better.
Climate change means more dramatic seasonal extremes, not the Bahamas in the alps.

This means that you will likely see colder temperatures with higher volumes of ice and at times, snow.

Dunno about you, but I have a hard enough time on foot when it gets really icy in Zürich, never mind on a bike.

Last edited by Fridge; 16.09.2011 at 07:36.
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Old 16.09.2011, 07:09
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

There are lots of hills in Lausanne, the city spreads from the lake shore to 900m. Biking is tough during the snow season. You can live along the lake and have no snow, but have a very difficult time driving and biking with ice and snow once you move north. It all depends where you live and work.
If you live in Pully and work in Prévérenges, it's a straight course along the lake and you'll have no issues even in winter. All depends of your location
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Old 16.09.2011, 13:05
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

Thanks to all for passing along your thoughts and suggestions. My flat is in the northern part of Lausanne (not far from the Vennes metro station), so it looks like I'll have a bit more snow to contend with. I'm hoping to cycle to UNIL (if I can find a suitable route - but that's another issue!). I don't have a bike lined up yet, but I'm hoping to find a hybrid (something between a mountain bike and a road bike) with at least one studded tire. Am I crazy to think this is all do-able?!
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Old 16.09.2011, 13:40
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

Snow and ice.. yup for sure
Lots of biking through main city traffic
Downwards will be ok (be cautious !!)
Return will be a challenge

I would suggest take the metro from Vennes to Ouchy
Leave your bike at the Ouchy station (right by the lake)
Bike to and from unil.
That route is feasible
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Old 16.09.2011, 13:43
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

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Thanks to all for passing along your thoughts and suggestions. My flat is in the northern part of Lausanne (not far from the Vennes metro station), so it looks like I'll have a bit more snow to contend with. I'm hoping to cycle to UNIL (if I can find a suitable route - but that's another issue!). I don't have a bike lined up yet, but I'm hoping to find a hybrid (something between a mountain bike and a road bike) with at least one studded tire. Am I crazy to think this is all do-able?!
It really boils down how you feel about steep hills, snow and ice and biking with all of that. For me, Vennes to Unil is pretty steep, I wouldn't feel comfortable on the ride down at all during snow or even rain, especially right near vennes then near provence. FWIW I used to bike from Val-Vert to UNIL but then only on very dry, very sunny spring days, because icy hills are just too scary to me.
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Old 16.09.2011, 14:45
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

In my mind it boils down to two things only: Your mind set and common sense.

Your mind set will make you take your bike every single day no matter how much it rains, snow etc. and common sense will make you skip the super foggy days and the days where the road are to slippery for you to be safe.

I have biked to work (41 km/day) almost every day for more than a year and there has only been a very few days during the winter I passed due to unsafe conditions. I live around ZH and have steep passages too. No problem.....if you really want to.

Another important thing is the right light on the bike. See this post I made some month ago about the topic.

Good luck and enjoy the ride.
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Old 16.09.2011, 16:16
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

and don't forget to buy tires with spikes ! Every winter I was slipping and sliding a lot with the occasional fall, until I bought spiked tires
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:26
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

Thanks again for your useful suggestions! I'm now going to attempt to find the best route (hopefully from Vennes area to UNIL - at least before the snow flies). I did a cursory search on google and 'map my ride' with no luck. Does anybody have suggestions for helpful websites?
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Old 19.09.2011, 12:55
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

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Thanks again for your useful suggestions! I'm now going to attempt to find the best route (hopefully from Vennes area to UNIL - at least before the snow flies). I did a cursory search on google and 'map my ride' with no luck. Does anybody have suggestions for helpful websites?
Vennes to Unil ? that's steep
Hope you're a very trained cyclist because Unil to Vennes will be an uphill challenge.
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Old 19.09.2011, 14:32
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

I bike year round in Bern and before moving here I biked year round in Minneapolis. Here are some of my tips"
1) Wool or wool/silk layers
2) Around -15 celcius, goggles are a nice to have
3) Snowboarding or ski helmets are great
4) Studded tires don't make much difference MOST of the time
5) Studded tires help on ice
6) You will crash at least once
7) Extra lights or day-glo vest
8) Walk around outside before leaving, ice likes to hide
9) Stop and get a coffee if you are getting too cold
10) Getting off and walking your bike doesn't make you a wimp
11) Brakes may ice up, remember to slow down earlier
12) Wash your bike every week or so, the Swiss like road salt
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Old 24.09.2011, 16:37
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Re: winter cycling in Lausanne

Thanks! Sounds like it's going to be a challenge....
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