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  1. #26
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    I run a dedicated winter bike with a very simple set-up.
    Rigid mountain bike with nokian studded tires, fenders and to make it even more simple it is a single speed coaster brake.
    I don't have to worry about brake lines, pads freezing or gear issues, lines freezing etc.
    In the Dakota's it can get sub zero temps with black ice, snow storms, hail you name it...
    I also have a rack trunk with extra clothes, etc and run plenty of lights.

    With my simple set-up I actually enjoy winter cycling. I am pedaling along while cars won't start, getting stuck and having trouble getting up hills.

    My commute time does take twice as long but it is a good workout.

  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Considering you are only 1.5 hours south of me and have been grinding it out for 7 years I feel much better about using my deuraillers!
    Look again. I'm in ROC, not RCH, meaning there's a NY after my Rochester, not an MN.

    Here on the cloudy shores of Lake Ontario, my winters are a bit warmer than yours, but generally snowier.
    Ah, yes big difference. After it drops to 10, it's all the same to me. Except -40, that's just stupid.

  3. #28
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xuwol7 View Post
    I run a dedicated winter bike with a very simple set-up.
    Rigid mountain bike with nokian studded tires, fenders and to make it even more simple it is a single speed coaster brake.
    I don't have to worry about brake lines, pads freezing or gear issues, lines freezing etc.
    In the Dakota's it can get sub zero temps with black ice, snow storms, hail you name it...
    I also have a rack trunk with extra clothes, etc and run plenty of lights.

    With my simple set-up I actually enjoy winter cycling. I am pedaling along while cars won't start, getting stuck and having trouble getting up hills.

    My commute time does take twice as long but it is a good workout.
    Good to know that you like a coaster brake for winter riding. My commute is mildly hilly and I was thinking of building up a rear wheel using a 2 speed hub and coaster with a disc up front.

  4. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    My 520 is in pretty rough shape actually. Safe but frame needs a little loving. Ex wife Locked it up in an open air garage half block from the Pacific Ocean while I was on a 6 month deployment. It also served as my commuter there and the joke goes your dog will rust on the coast if you are patient. That not the reason shes my ex btw. Needless to say, there is rust and am planning on giving it the powder coat treatment. So, would you still recommend beating up another lower end bike with that in mind? If its going to trash a frame, I'd rather it not be my 520 since it has become like another appendage of mine. I am going to have as good of a look on the inside as I can once the bb is removed to make sure there isn't obvious structural issues but I don't anticipate any.
    You can probably protect the frame OK - some framesaver on the insides of the tubes. I was thinking more of the (Deore level?) components. Oh yeah, and grease you seatpost so you don't end up sawing it out of your frame, like I had to yesterday.

    I'm sure the Wakota bridge will.be plowed - that is not optional. I just rode over the not-yet-finished Hastings bridge the other day. I checked Mn DOTs website first, to see if it was even possible to bike accross. There was a little blurb on the walking/bike path that will be available once the bridge is finished. The reason they stated as to why there even IS a path is compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act! I'm sure compliance with the ADA includes snow removal.

  5. #30
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Yeah, didn't mention the chain. On my route in the winter, I just have to consider chains as disposable. It's completely impossible to keep them clean - a brand new chain, halfway through my ride will be caked in a mud/salt mush. If it sits for 12 hours, the chain will be a solid mass and I've had to actually get down and flex the chain with my gloved hands to get it to move again.

    I basically just keep throwing lube on it until I can clean it, which sometimes takes weeks. The chain takes a lot of wear during that time. Another reason why I like using 7/8 speed systems - not only do they tolerate dirt and grime and still shift, but the chains can be had for six bucks, and I WILL be buying more chains for it than for the summer bike.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Another reason why I like using 7/8 speed systems - not only do they tolerate dirt and grime and still shift, but the chains can be had for six bucks, and I WILL be buying more chains for it than for the summer bike.
    Please tell me where to find these $6 chains so I can stock up!

  7. #32
    Senior Member Spudd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    Please tell me where to find these $6 chains so I can stock up!
    https://www.google.com/shopping/prod...ed=0CHsQ8wIwAg

  8. #33
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    Please tell me where to find these $6 chains so I can stock up!
    Nashbar when they're on sale. I bought a wad of them a few years back, they are at $15 right now but they may go on sale. I think I paid $5.99 at the time. I did notice that for some reason chains across the board seemed to jump in price quite a bit a couple of years ago.

    Sub $10 seems pretty achievable on eBay. Amazon has multiple 6/7/8 speed chains for between $8 and $11
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  9. #34
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    No one else seems to have replied with the winter road conditions along your route so I will do my best to provide what I know about your route. My winter commute is in Cottage Grove. My only rides into Woodbury and Newport would be after the roads are plowed for weekend rides or errands that can wait until the roads have been cleared and mostly on the county roads that have wide shoulders. Also I don't ride often in South St. Paul so I don't know what the plowing is like there.
    The Bridge sidewalk along I494 I think would be plowed to comply with ADA.
    The trails in Newport are plowed but I don't know when they plow them after it snow and if the Bailey hill trail is one that is plowed. I know Woodbury does not plow all its trails and it takes 3-4 days before the trails are plowed after a big snow. The plows used to clear the snow on the trails do not clear down to the pavement and leave about a 1/2 inch of snow. After a few snow falls the trails are quite rudded. Also the road plows throw snow chunks onto the trails. Remember this is Minnesota, the snow does not melt on the trails until spring. If you are planning on riding the trails in the winter a MTB might be the the choice.
    Washington County clears its roads shoulder to shoulder. In the past they would have the county roads cleared by 6am but last year it wasn't until about 9am that all the roads would cleared. Woodbury takes longer to clear its streets then Newport and it could be a couple of days before all the streets are plowed. Also consider that you rarely will be riding in fresh snow unless your commute is a 3am. Once cars start driving on the road the snow on the side of the road will become dirty and "greasy" and while it is still snowing the plows will only be plowing the roadway and not the shoulders and you will be riding though deeper and dirtier snow on the shoulder.
    For tire choice I would now choose at tire like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta.
    On time it would take I agree with the 1/3 more time to ride in winter over summer is a good gauge but it only applies if the roads are cleared of snow. If you are riding through snow your speed could be as slow as a walking pace.
    One last thing never ever ride up or down on the road on Bailey hill if it is snowing or there is snow on the road. There are many car crashes on this part of Bailey Rd. every winter.
    1980 Motobecane Super Touring, 1984 Trek 620, 1986 Trek 1500, 1989 Bridgestone CB-2, 2013 Trek 520

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    Please tell me where to find these $6 chains so I can stock up!
    KMC Z82 8-speed chain $7.03 at Ribble. Be sure to change both "Currency" and "Destination" in the upper right.

    It doesn't pay to buy overseas like this unless you're stocking up, since the shipping runs between $22 and $25. I place a big order every winter to cover all my anticipated maintenance needs for the next year. Chains, cassettes, tires, cables, brake pads, replacement outerwear and clothing--usually around $300 of stuff to cover all the bikes.

    Since it arrives Express Mail Overnight signature-required, I have the order sent to work. Packages arriving from exotic locations (or at least from the UK) brings thrills to my co-workers. So there's entertainment value as well.
    Last edited by tsl; 09-01-13 at 06:13 PM. Reason: typoz
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    Nashbar when they're on sale. I bought a wad of them a few years back, they are at $15 right now but they may go on sale. I think I paid $5.99 at the time. I did notice that for some reason chains across the board seemed to jump in price quite a bit a couple of years ago.

    Sub $10 seems pretty achievable on eBay. Amazon has multiple 6/7/8 speed chains for between $8 and $11
    Quote Originally Posted by tsl View Post
    KMC Z82 8-speed chain $7.03 at Ribble. Be sure to change both "Currency" and "Destination" in the upper right.

    It doesn't pay to buy overseas like this unless you're stocking up, since the shipping runs between $22 and $25. I place a big order every winter to cover all my anticipated maintenance needs for the next year. Chains, cassettes, tires, cables, brake pads, replacement outerwear and clothing--usually around $300 of stuff to cover all the bikes.

    Since it arrives Express Mail Overnight signature-required, I have the order sent to work. Packages arriving from exotic locations (or at least from the UK) brings thrills to my co-workers. So there's entertainment value as well.
    Thanks for all the suggestions! I put a new chain on about the end of Nov. last year, and it was stretched way past 1% by the end of April - maybe 1500 miles. I should have swapped it out earlier, but it was still snowing! I've been paying $15 or more at Nashbar - though it wasn't till last year that I heard Nashbar was now owned by Performance, so I guess I'm not the savviest internet shopper.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by backontheroad View Post
    The plows used to clear the snow on the trails do not clear down to the pavement and leave about a 1/2 inch of snow. After a few snow falls the trails are quite rudded. Also the road plows throw snow chunks onto the trails.
    This is the worst - the paths get cleared, then crap from the road gets thrown onto them, and frozen into place. I had many days last winter when I had to deal with this on certain parts of my ride. Riding in my lowest granny gear, I could just barely power though the crap on my Mtn bike. I don't think I could have done it on a road bike.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by backontheroad View Post
    No one else seems to have replied with the winter road conditions along your route so I will do my best to provide what I know about your route. My winter commute is in Cottage Grove. My only rides into Woodbury and Newport would be after the roads are plowed for weekend rides or errands that can wait until the roads have been cleared and mostly on the county roads that have wide shoulders. Also I don't ride often in South St. Paul so I don't know what the plowing is like there.
    The Bridge sidewalk along I494 I think would be plowed to comply with ADA.
    The trails in Newport are plowed but I don't know when they plow them after it snow and if the Bailey hill trail is one that is plowed. I know Woodbury does not plow all its trails and it takes 3-4 days before the trails are plowed after a big snow. The plows used to clear the snow on the trails do not clear down to the pavement and leave about a 1/2 inch of snow. After a few snow falls the trails are quite rudded. Also the road plows throw snow chunks onto the trails. Remember this is Minnesota, the snow does not melt on the trails until spring. If you are planning on riding the trails in the winter a MTB might be the the choice.
    Washington County clears its roads shoulder to shoulder. In the past they would have the county roads cleared by 6am but last year it wasn't until about 9am that all the roads would cleared. Woodbury takes longer to clear its streets then Newport and it could be a couple of days before all the streets are plowed. Also consider that you rarely will be riding in fresh snow unless your commute is a 3am. Once cars start driving on the road the snow on the side of the road will become dirty and "greasy" and while it is still snowing the plows will only be plowing the roadway and not the shoulders and you will be riding though deeper and dirtier snow on the shoulder.
    For tire choice I would now choose at tire like the Nokian Hakkapeliitta.
    On time it would take I agree with the 1/3 more time to ride in winter over summer is a good gauge but it only applies if the roads are cleared of snow. If you are riding through snow your speed could be as slow as a walking pace.
    One last thing never ever ride up or down on the road on Bailey hill if it is snowing or there is snow on the road. There are many car crashes on this part of Bailey Rd. every winter.
    Great info thanks so much! Hmm, may have to plan a secondary route instead of going up bailey after the Wacota bridge

  14. #39
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I finally gave up and bought some Nokian W240s for my winter bike. I used W106s for the first few years and they were great but they couldn't climb out of ruts (no studs on the sides).

    I used Marathon Winters for one year then sold them. The tread blocks on the Marathons go just from side to side, so if you're powering up a hill with snow cover and the road is crowned (this is several miles of my route) then the rear tire slips sideways half a foot or more every time I apply power. This made it very difficult to ride. The reflective sidewall got very dirty and when I tried to clean it up it didn't clean up much and was only really reflective for the first month or so.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  15. #40
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    As you can tell, there are lots and lots of good suggestions, and which work best will be pretty specific to the conditions on your route and your riding style. I ride 10 miles each way on relatively flat, usually well-plowed streets and bike paths. I need to make significant changes to my route in the winter to avoid unplowed paths, and you may find you need to do the same.


    The typical MN winter commuting day is cold and dry. You might only be commuting a couple times a winter when it is actually snowing. Your route may be frozen, soft, or slushy depending on local plowing standards. Whatever the conditions, I find that fenders and studded tires are mandatory. A mudflap on the front fender will help keep stuff off your drive train.


    But even more important than the bike is the clothing. Almost any studded tire bike will get you there eventually, but you'll either be frozen or a hot sweaty mess without the right clothes. You may find that it is hard to keep a balance between being cold and overheating--the front zipper on your jacket will get a lot of use. I swear by Novara headwind jacket and pants from REI--they're great wind stoppers in front, and breathe in the back--and with smartwool long underwear bottoms and a regular long sleeved jersey on top I'm good to about 15 degrees. Lower than that it's more or thicker layers, especially on the bottom. I can't use googles; my eyeglasses always fog after a few miles. A helmet cover and a thin balaclava to start; a heavier balaclava for later.


    You will need good, well-insulated boots--I use Salomon Tactile; others swear by Lake or Wolvhammer. If you use clipless pedals, consider either making them _very_ easy to unclip with, or changing to minclips or powergrips for the winter. Maybe change your cassette to one with lower gears/wider range in the winter, too. (I think that 10 speed rear ends are more likely to freeze up; I've never had a problem with my 7-speed cassette.)


    Can't overemphasize lighting. Lots of folks run a bright "to-see" light and a blinking "be seen" light both front and rear.


    It's better for your bike if you store it outside in an unheated garage, say, than it is to bring it in and out of the cold every day. But as others have said, you'll need to clean it more, and you'll run through chains at a prodigious rate, especially during spring thaws.


    But it will be fun. Really, really, fun!

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticMN View Post
    As you can tell, there are lots and lots of good suggestions, and which work best will be pretty specific to the conditions on your route and your riding style. I ride 10 miles each way on relatively flat, usually well-plowed streets and bike paths. I need to make significant changes to my route in the winter to avoid unplowed paths, and you may find you need to do the same.


    The typical MN winter commuting day is cold and dry. You might only be commuting a couple times a winter when it is actually snowing. Your route may be frozen, soft, or slushy depending on local plowing standards. Whatever the conditions, I find that fenders and studded tires are mandatory. A mudflap on the front fender will help keep stuff off your drive train.


    But even more important than the bike is the clothing. Almost any studded tire bike will get you there eventually, but you'll either be frozen or a hot sweaty mess without the right clothes. You may find that it is hard to keep a balance between being cold and overheating--the front zipper on your jacket will get a lot of use. I swear by Novara headwind jacket and pants from REI--they're great wind stoppers in front, and breathe in the back--and with smartwool long underwear bottoms and a regular long sleeved jersey on top I'm good to about 15 degrees. Lower than that it's more or thicker layers, especially on the bottom. I can't use googles; my eyeglasses always fog after a few miles. A helmet cover and a thin balaclava to start; a heavier balaclava for later.


    You will need good, well-insulated boots--I use Salomon Tactile; others swear by Lake or Wolvhammer. If you use clipless pedals, consider either making them _very_ easy to unclip with, or changing to minclips or powergrips for the winter. Maybe change your cassette to one with lower gears/wider range in the winter, too. (I think that 10 speed rear ends are more likely to freeze up; I've never had a problem with my 7-speed cassette.)


    Can't overemphasize lighting. Lots of folks run a bright "to-see" light and a blinking "be seen" light both front and rear.


    It's better for your bike if you store it outside in an unheated garage, say, than it is to bring it in and out of the cold every day. But as others have said, you'll need to clean it more, and you'll run through chains at a prodigious rate, especially during spring thaws.


    But it will be fun. Really, really, fun!
    Thank you! I have sorels for the winter, they're hiking style, not the carabous and I really like them but are a bit big. I was going to experiment with them to see if they'll work with some big bear claw platforms on my mtb. My mtb gearing is nice and low and runs a 7 speed setup. I have trigger shifters, a little concerned about them as I have had them gum up in normal weather. With the climbs I have and what I am hearing about the area I commute in during the winter it looks like a good chunk of it a mtb is going to come in handy and the rest, well, I'd rather go slower on my mtb than have to hoof it through packed snow with my road bike. I will take your advice on the cold weather wear and thanks for letting me know about your glasses fogging up with the ski goggles.

    Btw, what is a balaclava?

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Btw, what is a balaclava?
    Bank robber mask.

    Remember this when you ride to the bank in the winter.
    My two favorite things in life are libraries and bicycles. They both move people forward without wasting anything.
    The perfect day: Riding a bike to the library.—Peter Golkin


    Lucky for me, I work at a library and bike to work.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    Btw, what is a balaclava?
    There are lots of variations but basically this:

    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by azgreg View Post
    What is this winter commuting that you speak of?
    You know, when the days get shorter and your temps drop 10 to 15 degrees
    On the move!
    2013 Velo Orange Campeur, 2012 Mezzo D9, 2004 Marin Mount Vision Pro

  20. #45
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FanaticMN View Post
    The typical MN winter commuting day is cold and dry. You might only be commuting a couple times a winter when it is actually snowing. Your route may be frozen, soft, or slushy depending on local plowing standards. Whatever the conditions, I find that fenders and studded tires are mandatory.
    I agree with the vast majority of your post but I did want to address what you said above. A typical winter day is cold and dry. However, weather from December through March/April is all over the map and varies from year to year. Last spring is a great example. If you're a regular winter commuter you may have gotten snowed on once or twice a week during March and April. In the two previous years I don't think it snowed at all during those months. In a typical year (if there is such a thing), I probably get snowed on several times a month at least during the winter. In fact I probably get rained on during the winter more often than I do in the summer.

    Now, most of the time it isn't a big deal. A lot of snowfalls are less than a couple of inches and won't affect riding much. But if it's sleeting or snowing pretty hard, - regardless of how much snow is on the ground, you'll want something to protect your eyes. If you're riding against the wind that soft fluffy snowflake can sting pretty good when smacks against your eyeballs.

    Where I will agree with you is that there are only a couple times a year on average where it's snowing hard enough that I'll need to find another way to work or home.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 09-03-13 at 08:31 AM.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    . I want to commute this winter, it's 20 miles round trip and hilly, hilly as in compared to the pacific coastline. There are 2 monsters and easy inclines after that. . . .
    So, have you had the chance to try the snow commuting yet? Just curious.

  22. #47
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    So I really like my MKS lambda pedals for commuting on with boots; they seriously rock:

    P1010986.jpgPedals.jpg

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    So I really like my MKS lambda pedals for commuting on with boots; they seriously rock:
    Love your "beater" bike setup. I have that same Dura Ace crank on my "good" racing bike. Love it. I'm hoping Santa brings me a set of platform pedals. If not, I'll have to buy some.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by loky1179 View Post
    Love your "beater" bike setup. I have that same Dura Ace crank on my "good" racing bike. Love it. I'm hoping Santa brings me a set of platform pedals. If not, I'll have to buy some.
    Yeah the DA crank is overkill for a beater bike (so is the wheel set with XT hubs) but that's what I had in my parts bin, . The MKS lambda pedals offer so much room that you always have a positive platform for your shoes; they beat any other platform pedal I've tried and they even look good mounted on a DA crank, .

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