Saturday, January 19, 2013

For My Readers in the Netherlands

For my readers in the Netherlands:
      It seems like most of the blogs I read are written in the Netherlands. Very good blogs. This week most of them wrote about their winter. Here in my part of Canada it seems that is all I can write about. Because our winter lasts longer and gets colder we have learned to adapt. As Matthijs Leegwater wrote in one of his blogs as far as I could translate, the cold could freeze pipes and make much work. In our part of Canada our pipes are well protected from freezing. Of course we spend more money on heating our homes and buildings. So this week I want to talk about how we prepare for winter driving. When it starts to freeze in early October we prepare the wife's car for winter. The tires get changed to winter tires. These tires are a special rubber and tread that grip the ice and snow better. They stop the car in a much shorter distance.

Winter tire for wife.
Snow Brush
Battery jumper cables
We also put a shovel and a snow brush in her car. Now please comment if I'm wrong but I don't think snow brushes are that common in the Netherlands. Here every car has at least one in the winter. One end is used to brush the snow off the car and the other end has a plastic scraper on it. On most mornings you would use the scraper to scrape the frost or ice off your glass. Very important if the car is not in a garage. We also carry a set of battery jumper cables in case of a dead battery in the cold winter weather. Batteries loose much of their strength in the cold so sometimes they can be good to have. 
Lots of room at the bike rack today.
Of course I have all this in my old truck. Now that I have the Quest, my old truck does not get used very often. My old truck gets parked outside all the time. If I need to use it I plug it in. All our cars and trucks have an electric heater to heat the motor's coolant up. It makes for better starting when it's cold out. The Quest and the wife's car stay warm in the garage.  And the Quest needs no snow brush or battery jumper cables.  The only problem I have so far with winter riding is the high snow banks. The snow banks are so high, cars have a hard time to see the Quest. I have to be very careful entering a street. I am having fun riding the Quest, but Monday's forecast is for -35C low temperatures so that might be a test for me as well as the Quest.  Maybe I need a Tour Cap...


  1. Hi Kevin,

    Your situation is very much similar to the Norwegian situation, if you live in the northtern or easter part of Norway. Here in the south we do not have electric heaters on the car, but I also have the scraper/brush combination in the car all the time, also the jumpers. At the moment its just -8, and all the snow is gone from the roads, so cycling is no problem at all.

    Regards, Adri.

    1. Hi Adri,
      I thought you situation would be similar. I think the other velomobil owners to the south might be interested in reading how we handle our longer winters. -8C? I'm jealous. Tonight our low is -30C with a high of -24 tomorrow.
      Regards Kevin

  2. I guess a white Quest would have been life-threatening to you ;-)

    Yellow and Red seem even better colours in snow then elsewhere to make people aware that you're there. That doesn't make it visible when it's behind snowbanks ofcourse. But then again in the Netherlands there is always something else that does the same thing, man made or nature.

    1. Yes, White is a bad color for the snow. I find red is bad to see at night in the summer. Yellow just seemed the best. So far I'm the only yellow Quest in our province. :)

  3. Thx for your post! A fresh layer of snow (just a few cm's) is today covering the Netherlands again. But not so much that it will limit any cyclists.

  4. Dag Kevin,

    Als het hard sneeuwt heb ik ook een schep mee en winterbanden heb ik ook onder mijn auto.
    Ook heb ik een losse deurmat mee al je wielen doorslippen kan je deze er onder liggen , maar wat bij ons veel erger is is de Ijzel.
    Daar is niets tegen bestand als je gaat glijden ga je gewoon van de weg.

  5. Hi Matthijs,
    I agree about the black ice. It doesn't happen often but it's very bad if you are driving at a high speed. In some places our ditches can be very bad places if there is not much snow.