Jump to content

Menu

WWYD if your spouse wants to bicycle from Buffalo to Albany in December? Update post #185


luuknam
 Share

Recommended Posts

At least they have cell phones these days.  My sister biked overnight about 100 miles along Lake Erie (all rural) back in the dark ages.  She fell and hurt her shoulder in the middle of the night.  Got back up and rode the rest of the way, because lying in the ditch all night didn't seem to be a great option.  Is still alive to talk about it.  :)

 

I think I would be OK with this as long as your spouse carries a well-charged phone and tire repair kit, has the option for indoor stops along the way, and the temperature and visibility aren't ridiculously low.  I'm assuming this is not your spouse's first serious bike ride in the winter?

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buffalo to Albany in the winter? That's the snow capital of the east (but you probably already know that). Is there a Buffalo/Albany cycling group with whom she could touch base about her plan? Does she say why she wants to do this? I'm assuming she'd be on back roads. She ought to have a road crew or friends between Buffalo and Albany as well. I'd have trouble with this too. How long has she had this idea? And, given that you already said she's bi-polar, did she come up with this idea in a manic phase? (ETA: you don't have to answer this question, of course. Just a thought.) If she insists on going through with this, would she compromise and agree to spend the nights in a hotel along the way?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think I would be OK with this as long as your spouse carries a well-charged phone and tire repair kit, has the option for indoor stops along the way, and the temperature and visibility aren't ridiculously low.  I'm assuming this is not your spouse's first serious bike ride in the winter?

 

She bicycle commutes 7 miles to work (and then 7 miles back, obviously), and has done so in winter. She's bicycled from Paris to Groningen (in NL). She has not done a long trip in winter though.

 

If wind picks up visibility can get worse quickly with blowing snow. I guess at least if she gets hit by a driver who didn't see her or who slides on an icy patch the driver would likely be aware they hit someone and be able to call 911.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buffalo to Albany in the winter? That's the snow capital of the east (but you probably already know that). Is there a Buffalo/Albany cycling group with whom she could touch base about her plan? Does she say why she wants to do this? I'm assuming she'd be on back roads. She ought to have a road crew or friends between Buffalo and Albany as well. I'd have trouble with this too. How long has she had this idea? And, given that you already said she's bi-polar, did she come up with this idea in a manic phase? (ETA: you don't have to answer this question, of course. Just a thought.) If she insists on going through with this, would she compromise and agree to spend the nights in a hotel along the way?

 

Well, originally she wanted to bicycle to Montreal in October, but due to budgetary concerns that was nixed (we all went to NL mid-November to mid-December). But, apparently we have enough money left over she thinks she can do Albany.

Edited by luuknam
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buffalo to Albany in the winter? That's the snow capital of the east (but you probably already know that). Is there a Buffalo/Albany cycling group with whom she could touch base about her plan? Does she say why she wants to do this? I'm assuming she'd be on back roads. She ought to have a road crew or friends between Buffalo and Albany as well. I'd have trouble with this too. How long has she had this idea? And, given that you already said she's bi-polar, did she come up with this idea in a manic phase? (ETA: you don't have to answer this question, of course. Just a thought.) If she insists on going through with this, would she compromise and agree to spend the nights in a hotel along the way?

this is what I am thinking. Perhaps a manic phase.
  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not Buffalo to Albany in one shot. Its not the temperatures that concern me, but the icy roads, the poor visibility and early darkness that all contributes to car accidents. That is a lot of rural area to cover with drifting snow, hills, and the chances of no cell service and no place to find a room for the night if necessary.

I might offer a compromise. Buffalo to Canandaigua, Geneva or Jamestown in January, and Buffalo to albany in May.

  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she hasn't biked long in winter before, I would ask her to try a shorter trip (e.g. one full day round-trip) in winter weather to see what it's like.  No offense, but it seems irresponsible to try this for the first time on such a long trip.  (7 miles doesn't cut it IMO.)  I would also ask that she sleep in motels, unless there will be a whole large group sleeping in tents where she stops.

Edited by SKL
  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not Buffalo to Albany in one shot. Its not the temperatures that concern me, but the icy roads, the poor visibility and early darkness that all contributes to car accidents. That is a lot of rural area to cover with drifting snow, hills, and the chances of no cell service and no place to find a room for the night if necessary.

I might offer a compromise. Buffalo to Canandaigua, Geneva or Jamestown in January, and Buffalo to albany in May.

 

Those would be a shorter distance, but that'd still involve rural back roads, wouldn't it? I'm not familiar with central NY, but Google Maps doesn't make it look like a vast improvement, other than that it's shorter.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

She bicycle commutes 7 miles to work (and then 7 miles back, obviously), and has done so in winter. She's bicycled from Paris to Groningen (in NL). She has not done a long trip in winter though.

 

If wind picks up visibility can get worse quickly with blowing snow. I guess at least if she gets hit by a driver who didn't see her or who slides on an icy patch the driver would likely be aware they hit someone and be able to call 911.

That is a very legit concern. I understand you can't tell a grown adult what to do, but this would cause me some worry.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those would be a shorter distance, but that'd still involve rural back roads, wouldn't it? I'm not familiar with central NY, but Google Maps doesn't make it look like a vast improvement, other than that it's shorter.

It would still involve rural backroads, but I was thinking a shorter distance you might be able to hang out in the general vicinity, such as Rochester, as the trip wouldn't be too long. also there is pretty good cell phone coverage in that whole area.

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

if she has bipolar, then i would call the doctor.

 

A) I'm pretty sure she still hasn't given her doctor permission to talk to me (though I could still call the doctor and tell doctor her plans), and b) there's nothing anyone can legally do unless she's a danger to self or others. Which, unless she plans to head out into a blizzard, she legally probably wouldn't be.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It would still involve rural backroads, but I was thinking a shorter distance you might be able to hang out in the general vicinity, such as Rochester, as the trip wouldn't be too long. also there is pretty good cell phone coverage in that whole area.

 

I'll definitely point out cell phone coverage concerns to her. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It sounds like she has thought it out and has at least two bail-out plans (train or you with bike rack). Rural roads are probably safer overall with fewer cars. If she has cell coverage then she can call you frequently and could get map guidance when needed. Make sure she has your contact info and her identification in multiple places. Maybe give her a solar panel phone charger she can clip on somewhere while she rides. Be sure she has some paper maps for back-up.

 

Ignoring the possible psych issue which i can't comment on, I think it sounds like a cool adventure and the kind of thing you have to make happen or else it won't happen.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is she planning to do the whole thing on the Erie Canal trail?  If so it's quite flat and quite protected from vehicle traffic, that's the good news; and has towns and villages and blue-light emergency buttons with fair frequency and milepost markers all the way in the event of an emergency.  We've done bits of it over the years; in good weather I'd be perfectly comfortable (and there are places to camp along the way as well).  

 

But I can't imagine it's plowed at this time of year???  I mean, that area has some of the snowiest weather in the country.

  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is she planning to do the whole thing on the Erie Canal trail?  If so it's quite flat and quite protected from vehicle traffic, that's the good news; and has towns and villages and blue-light emergency buttons with fair frequency and milepost markers all the way in the event of an emergency.  We've done bits of it over the years; in good weather I'd be perfectly comfortable (and there are places to camp along the way as well).  

 

But I can't imagine it's plowed at this time of year???  I mean, that area has some of the snowiest weather in the country.

 

No..it's not plowed.  I live near part of it. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If she were doing this  with a group, a bicycle club, possibly.  But alone. No way...  If she gets a flat tire, can she repair it? If something on her bicycle breaks, can she fix that? If she does this, she should have a cell phone with a spare battery and lots of DATA available.  Here in Colombia, the major highways have cell phone service almost continuously between cities, but if she is not on major highways, that may not be available to her.  VERY RISKY IMO

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Buffalo to Albany in the winter? That's the snow capital of the east (but you probably already know that). Is there a Buffalo/Albany cycling group with whom she could touch base about her plan? Does she say why she wants to do this? I'm assuming she'd be on back roads. She ought to have a road crew or friends between Buffalo and Albany as well. I'd have trouble with this too. How long has she had this idea? And, given that you already said she's bi-polar, did she come up with this idea in a manic phase? (ETA: you don't have to answer this question, of course. Just a thought.) If she insists on going through with this, would she compromise and agree to spend the nights in a hotel along the way?

 

Yes to all of this.

Seriously, I'd be concerned as well. It would make a difference obviously if she conceived this a long time ago and it's a personal challenge for her, however, as spouses and parents we need to consider how we impact the rest of the family with our choices.

If she is an accomplished cyclist and outdoor savvy with appropriate equipment and would agree (and could be trusted) to check in regularly...perhaps.

 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is she planning to do the whole thing on the Erie Canal trail? If so it's quite flat and quite protected from vehicle traffic, that's the good news; and has towns and villages and blue-light emergency buttons with fair frequency and milepost markers all the way in the event of an emergency. We've done bits of it over the years; in good weather I'd be perfectly comfortable (and there are places to camp along the way as well).

 

But I can't imagine it's plowed at this time of year??? I mean, that area has some of the snowiest weather in the country.

I clicked on your link - in the winter months it's popular for cross country skiing and snowmobiling. So not plowed, I guess ;).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

If it was well thought out- maybe I could support it. But I'm not hearing that you've been given details, which might make you more comfortable. Details like here is the exact route and how far she expects to go each day. How she plans to carry her needed supplies- a tent and sleeping bag aren't the only things she will need. Food? Water? Extra clothes? Bike repair kit.    How will she stay in touch and how will she recharge her phone?  Where will she camp? Some towns won't just let you camp anywhere and it's not always safe to camp alone. 

 

Other than riding to and from work, does she do longer distances in cold weather? What kind of tires does she use in snow? I can do 50 miles a day easily on a warm day but I bet in winter conditions I couldn't.  It's super easy to injure muscles when it's cold. 

 

But it sounds like she's been wanting to do this kind of trip for a while- has she done similar trips in warm weather? If not, would she possibly consider doing one of those first? 

 

Sorry- it's so hard to stand by when a loved one- another adult- wants to do something dangerous. 

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Seems a really risky ride. Sure she might survive the ride if she were out on the road all by herself. But she won't be, and I'd bet that very few drivers would be expecting a cyclist on the roads at this time of year. I would stop this. It's an unnecessary risk to herself. Plus I wouldn't want to be one of those drivers out there potentially hitting her because I couldn't see her, move out of the way, or stop in time. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you follow behind or can anybody?

 

Is she willing to go with a partner?

 

Why winter?  Can you convince her to at least wait until Spring?

 

 

Buffalo is evil in the winter.  I lived in Albany for two years...not quite as bad, but it surely can be.  The ride will not be a flat ride.... it's going to be tough with snow, sleet, etc.   Would she have a winter tent and camping gear?  What about contigency plans for really bad weather?  I'd also worry about snow plows and just icy roads making the ride so much more dangerous. 

Edited by umsami
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Can you follow behind or can anybody?

 

Why winter?  Can you convince her to at least wait until Spring?

 

I'm not going to drive super slowly for several days following her. I could, but I don't want to, and having the kids in the back would make that plan even less fun.

 

Winter because she's got scheduled time off from work. Of course, she could just use some vacation time in spring.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would honestly question why he would want to endanger himself.

 

We live in snow country. Plenty of people in our town bike all year, to school or to work or just for fun, but they are in the safety of town. We've winter camped in northern Minnesota--it's no easy feat, and night after night for a week or more would, honestly, be very difficult. The cold, of course, the conditions, the very early nights...how will she carry enough calories to see her through 15 hours of lying in her tent, nevermind 11 or so on her bike in sub freezing temperatures? Can she carry the gear she will need *in the conditions she will need them*? Will she be on busy roads? What are her plans should the weather go bad (and in your area, that's pretty much a given)?

 

I support my partner's dreams. I believe in him even when he doesn't, and would do anything in my power to help him accomplish any dream he has. But this, I'm sorry to say, sounds selfish and ill thought out to me and no, I can't honestly say I'd support it. Because adventures are fun, and bad choices are...well, I read enough about those in the papers.

 

Sorry you are being put through this. :(

  • Like 8
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Depends on the spouse.  My DH is very outdoorsy.  Bikes outside all winter in all conditions in the upper midwest.  Has good cold weather gear and a fat tire snow bike with studs.  We've camped down into the teens for tempature with our kids and have the equipment to do that.  If the timing worked for him to do something like this, I wouldn't have a 2nd thought.  We'd be texting several times a day and talking at least once a day for sure.  He would plan to use well worn routes where he could call a cab and hit a hotel if he had to.

 

If this is totally out of character and something seems off, it might be different.  I know many people who do things like this and travel overseas for adventure races and orienteering type events so it doesn't seem that weird to me. 

Edited by WoolySocks
  • Like 6
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd make her sit down and talk through the details. I would want to know exactly what route is planned, and I would insist on daily check-ins by cell phone. I'd want to discuss equipment, how to handle snow, how she will transport gear, what to do about bike maintenance. 

Since you cannot prohibit an adult to pursue any idea that could be considered crazy, I would hope that talking through the details lets her either see flaws in her plan or reassures me that she thought of plans B, C and D and has an idea what to do in case of emergencies.

  • Like 10
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The mental health side of things concerns me, she may not be thinking 100% rationally.

 

Practically speaking, the best you can do may be to check the weather forecast in advance and insist she stay home if conditions look bad; make sure she has adequate gear; check in frequently via cell phone; make sure she has some extra cash on hand for an emergency.

 

If you can check cell phone coverage along the route in advance that would be good. 

 

I would be worried if this were my spouse.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is only a week or so.  There is access to help at any point via cellphone.  I would wish her well and think of fun ways to spend my time. 

 

Accidents happen, people get injured and are not able to call for help, cell phone batteries die...

 

There is nothing wrong with undertaking an activity like this, but the risk level is such that it is not wise to go solo. I think that is what is concerning to OP--her spouse is going to be out in harsh conditions and sometimes remote locations, with no immediate backup. That is not a responsible way to plan a trip.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd be concerned.  Lake effect would be my biggest concern.  Trying to bicycle through drifts that are seriously deep (think 6" to over a foot) on rural roads are common, especially in lake effect zones.  Plows don't keep up with the wind that blows drifts over roads.  The danger of drivers not seeing her in the midst of white outs is another concern.  Dead zones where there isn't cell coverage is another big concern.  It's not something I'd want my spouse to do right in the midst of NY winter. 

  • Like 5
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Accidents happen, people get injured and are not able to call for help, cell phone batteries die...

 

There is nothing wrong with undertaking an activity like this, but the risk level is such that it is not wise to go solo. I think that is what is concerning to OP--her spouse is going to be out in harsh conditions and sometimes remote locations, with no immediate backup. That is not a responsible way to plan a trip.

 

I guess I live by a different measuring stick.  My spouse is very adventurous.  He goes off on activities like this regularly.  Could he get hurt?  Yeah, sure.  But I would rather support his dreams than squash them.  

 

Just my opinion.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...