I mainly ride a mountain bike, and have several. Favourite is still the Dale Tandem but that is not getting much use at present. So it is time to check over the Bianchi, and make certain it is ready for the Winter. We do not have a great deal of snow over here and Although there will be periods when the temperature is hovering around Freezing= Most of my winter riding will be around the 40Deg mark and and on wet trails.
I ride on the South Downs which are not very mountainous- Only about 600ft climbs- but the climbs can be long- can be steep- or can be technical. Most of the hilly bits are on on Chalk which is very slippery when wet and if covered in algae (What we call Green Chalk) are like ice. Then the underlying soil is Clay mixed with Flints- makes for exciting downhills when you realise that you are doing 35mph and the wet clay has suddenly thrown up football sized flints. Still It is something we have got used to, and although it sounds a bit stupid to ride on this sort of terrain- it is great fun. Then we have the single track in the Forest and this can get very tiring. Imagine riding a bike up a long slope that is tight and twisty and the bike is collecting Clay to get compressed between the forks and wheels and the chain and seat stays. We have known a bike to put on 7lbs of mud and for the wheels not to turn through the mud collecting around the Frame and wheels.
Luckily not all our winter riding is like this so we can still get out and enjoy a ride in the depths of winter.
Started checking the Bianchi for this weekend and it is time for a couple of crank sprockets before they cause a problem on the ride- New chain will go on at the same time and I have already set the winter wheels up with a 12/34 rear cassette. (Lets see if I can bend it again this year) Gearing will be sorted but the problem will be the tyres. I am light at 147 lbs so cannot use a wide tyre for the muddy conditions I will meet this year. The summer tyre was a 2.1 but these skate across the top of the mud instead of getting grip. I have Mud tyres but these only go out in the deep Mud. Problem is that a Full mud tyre will only work in Mud and does not really work on the Chalk- so I use a compromise. I use a Panaracer Fire XC in 1.8 size. This will grip on the chalk and when they hit mud- They will cut through the gunge to the firm surface below and I can get grip on the firm surface. Tyre pressure has to be up around 55psi, so that they do not deform or get snakebite punctures.
Then there is the usual maintenance that will have to get done to weatherproof the frame. Plenty of grease aroung the Seat and Bar stem to stop moisture getting in but at least I have Bearings on the wheels so so no need to strip and regrease them. Then the Cables- Plenty of Oil down the outers and this will need to be cleaned out after every ride if I want to keep the gear changes clean and the brakes working.
So I am ready for the Winter mud plugging. Only problem will be getting the enthusiasm up to get out on a rainy sunday morning at 8am to go for a mud bath. Normally get dragged out by a few mates for the first couple of rides and then I will be out Night riding in the week- Funny how the masochist comes out once halloween has passed.