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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 03-07-16, 08:36 AM   #1
Hypno Toad
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Winter biking to improve summer biking fitness

I spent the winter riding my Pugsley for a couple reasons: first, I broke the frame on my old winter bike; and I was getting in shape for fatbike races. I've done ~750 mils and over 22,000 ft of climbing. The result, with a mild winter & early spring, the road bike was out early for it's first ride of the season. Yesterday's ride on the Felt was great, destroyed Strava PRs that have stood for many years, including one on my commute route that I've ridden over 400 times.

I'm going to advocate that winter riding and fatbiking is great training for summer road biking.
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Old 03-07-16, 09:24 AM   #2
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I pedal year round. I ride my fat bike year round. I too like some of the early season commutes without studded tires. Flying without wings. Nice.
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Old 03-08-16, 02:27 AM   #3
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With these winds? Damn right I'm going to have no problem averaging tdf peloton speeds when it finally lets up.
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Old 03-08-16, 07:10 AM   #4
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Winter biking to improve summer biking fitness

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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I spent the winter riding my Pugsley for a couple reasons:... Yesterday's ride on the Felt was great, destroyed Strava PRs that have stood for many years, including one on my commute route that I've ridden over 400 times.

I'm going to advocate that winter riding and fatbiking is great training for summer road biking.
This should be self-evident.

Just a few minutes ago, I posted to this thread on the Commuting Forum, “The Spring Return To Cycling Routine,”

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I have the opportunity to commute a minimal 14 miles one-way during the week (Commuter Rail home), and round-trip on Saturday all year-round, for about 100 miles a week…In reality though, I probably get in about 20-30 miles per week during the winter

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"First studless commute of the year"

I keep my studded tires on all winter on my heavy duty beater, and today [2/29/16] I did my first studless ride of the year, which means the carbon fiber bike.

Yesterday I decided the streets looked clean enough to bring out the carbon fiber and it was great. Streets were salt free, and the rare sand and debris fields at the side were all less than about two feet wide, and I always stay even farther wide from the curb…

As noted by many riders with heavy duty beaters and studded tire, riding carbon fiber [or nice weather bike] anew is so smooth. I had a little trepidation when thinking how spidery the frame and tires are compared to my mountain bike, but I was comfortable on the first block. No problem using clipless pedals either. My hills were much easier, despite the higher gears of the CF, and the stiff head wind was much less discouraging than if on the Beater.
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With these winds? Damn right I'm going to have no problem averaging tdf peloton speeds when it finally lets up.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 03-08-16 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 03-08-16, 07:20 AM   #5
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My commute is pretty short. I average right around 30 miles of commuting in the winter and usually get out and do at least one training ride on a snow covered MUP. I started riding my road bike again this last week. Even though my winter mileage was low (around 40 plus miles a week), it has made a very positive difference in terms of my fitness.
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Old 03-08-16, 07:30 AM   #6
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I'm going to advocate that winter riding and fatbiking is great training for summer road biking.
And you will be totally correct.

I always ride in the cold, snow, and ice. Twice a week. Last Thursday I did 92 miles on a road bike and the temps were around 25F - 35F. I ride my mtb with studs on ice, or another mtb with no studs for new snow with no ice. The cold really takes a lot of calories. When it gets warmer it will seem so easy.

The world is apologizing to us for last winter.
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Old 03-08-16, 08:46 AM   #7
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I always come out of the winter riding season in the best shape of the year. Then BBQ season hits and I regress a bit.

I always tell people the most brutal, intense workout I ever had was a 6 mile commute home through 7" of unplowed snow out on the MUP. Took me an hour and a half and I had to keep stopping to let me heart come down from the stratosphere. Who would have thought that it took so much effort to average 4 mph?
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Old 03-08-16, 09:10 AM   #8
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^^^ lol
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Old 03-08-16, 09:27 AM   #9
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I always come out of the winter riding season in the best shape of the year. Then BBQ season hits and I regress a bit.

I always tell people the most brutal, intense workout I ever had was a 6 mile commute home through 7" of unplowed snow out on the MUP. Took me an hour and a half and I had to keep stopping to let me heart come down from the stratosphere. Who would have thought that it took so much effort to average 4 mph?
As you already know, at about 6" your pedal hits the snow. I tired to ride in about 12-10 inches. No reason to try. Of course the other problem is drifts that get deeper.
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Old 03-08-16, 10:27 AM   #10
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As you already know, at about 6" your pedal hits the snow. I tired to ride in about 12-10 inches. No reason to try. Of course the other problem is drifts that get deeper.
Yep. I've ridden through snow where my feet just pop out of the drifts at the top of the pedal stroke. A bigger problem is that when your chain is constantly in the snow, it starts to pack into the cassette and pretty soon your chain is constantly skipping.

I don't like to ride in snow that deep but sometimes it hits when I'm at work and I need to get home, so I suck it up and ride through it. If it's that deep and unplowed before work, I'll drive.
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Old 03-08-16, 02:38 PM   #11
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Chain skipping? Just pick a gear you like, it may be the only one you can use.
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Old 03-08-16, 03:25 PM   #12
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Chain skipping? Just pick a gear you like, it may be the only one you can use.
Nope. Once the snow fills the cassette there's no gear that won't skip. The tensioner allows enough slack that the chain just kind of rides on top of the packed in snow rather than grabbing the cassette teeth.

This would be one advantage to riding fixed gear in the winter as with no slack in the chain the snow would be forced out as quick as it entered. Also with no space between cogs there's much less area for the snow to collect.
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Old 03-08-16, 04:51 PM   #13
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Leebo's description of what happens is more in line with what have experienced with a snowpacked or iced over derailleur. Tundra_Man is generally correct that a badly snow packed cassette is as effective a drivetrain component as a cigarette lighter.
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Old 03-09-16, 08:11 AM   #14
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Nope. Once the snow fills the cassette there's no gear that won't skip. The tensioner allows enough slack that the chain just kind of rides on top of the packed in snow rather than grabbing the cassette teeth.

This would be one advantage to riding fixed gear in the winter as with no slack in the chain the snow would be forced out as quick as it entered. Also with no space between cogs there's much less area for the snow to collect.
My experience is different. My snow is occasional clumps with some snow and slush kicked in. Your chain is in the snow? Yikes. The snow is not constantly getting pack in.
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Old 03-09-16, 09:18 AM   #15
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I'm going to advocate that winter riding is great training for summer road biking.
+1 absolutely. after the only winter I bike commuted, my spring and summer that followed was like none other I ever had. sadly the following spring, after not riding through the winter, was lack luster and what was even more disappointing was that the legs of my favorite cycling shorts were loose due to thinner thighs.
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Old 03-10-16, 09:14 AM   #16
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I bought myself a fat bike for winter riding to help maintain my conditioning. As a newbie to this sport, I worked hard to go from beginner to B rider and feared losing physical conditioning and sliding backwards. The fat tire bike did just that, even though we never really got any snow here in the Catskills of NYS. I rode that mtn bike chasing my buddies on their regular mtn bikes and think, I am stronger and subsequently faster because of it.
With the mild winter, out club had weekly Saturday morning rides and I made all but two. Lately I have been riding with the A group and I thank my fat tire bike for that!
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