Originally Posted by cyclokitty
It finally snowed here and I decided to try riding in the snow with my mountain bike. It didn't work out. But it was fun.
Or at least that's what I'm telling my sore bits and pieces
The snow did break my falls
I hope you enjoy my lack of a snow riding skill set and general klutziness. It's a good thing the GoPro Hero 2 is quite a sturdy thing. Pretty much has to be considering my lack of snow elegance.
The first thing I see right off the bat is that you are riding in the wrong location. You should ride where the cars haven't been. I don't mean you should avoid the roads but you should ride over in the untracked snow on the side of the road whenever possible, especially when you are new to snow riding. Cars pack the surface unevenly and you have to deal with the ruts they create. Unlike most ruts you run across in mountain biking, car ruts in snow aren't depressions in the surface but raised platforms that are easy to slip off of. Keeping control on the tops of the ruts can be tricky because there's not much room for error. Over in the soft snow you only have to deal with pushing the tires through the snow and not with any balance issues.
Second, you need to have a firmer hand on the tiller. Watch your video carefully and you'll see that you allow the bars to wobble back and forth too much. You don't want a death grip on the bars but you want to make the bike go where you
want it to. In your video, you are allowing the terrain to dictate where you are going. Be more assertive in how you steer and where the bike goes. If you shock isn't active, make it so. Don't try to ride this kind of stuff with a locked out fork.
That brings us to the next bit...momentum. Momentum is your friend. You need a little speed to get the bike to go in straight line and not follow every nook and cranny of the ruts on the road. It doesn't have to really fast but your speed can't be really slow either. There a balance that you need to find. Getting used to riding in untracked snow will help you find that balance before you go out and tackle the more technical rutted road surface.
You also seem to be riding 'front heavy', meaning that you have all of your weight over the front wheel. When riding on soft surfaces like snow or sand, a heavily weighted front wheel makes the wheel dig into that surface. That bogs the bike down and makes steering more difficult and maintaining momentum more difficult. You need to shift weight rearward to increase traction where you need it and to 'float' the front wheel over the soft surface. To do this, you need to move your weight rearward a little on the saddle and pull back on the bars. You are going to pull a small wheelie...we're talking fractions of an inch... to lift the front wheel up to the top of the snow. Learning to ride in sand helps. You have to do this wheelie action almost constantly when riding in snow or sand.
You don't need studs for this kind of riding. Studs are good for icy surfaces but for snow they really aren't required.
Finally...and I can hear the howls of protest now...attach your feet to the pedals. Sand and soft surfaces are all about traction and smooth power. When you can only push the pedals down, you aren't getting smooth power out of your pedal stroke. Pulling up on the pedals can help smooth out the stroke and also provide a way to finesse the rear wheel. Toe clips or clipless pedals don't really matter but having some way of keeping your feet going around works wonders. I also find that when my feet are attached to the pedals...I prefer clipless because they are easier to get into...I try to ride through stuff where I might dab (put my foot down) on a platform.
Finally, your bike looks very new. I assume that you are new to mountain biking. Mountain biking is a much more dynamic style of riding than road biking. You, as the rider, have to move your body more than on a road bike. Try countering the bikes movements by you, the rider, as needed. I'd suggest taking the bike to a park where you can find some untracked snow and learning how to ride there. Then try tackling the streets.