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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 08-31-07, 03:45 PM   #1
velomont
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Recumbents in winter?

I've been riding DF bikes in winter (often a couple of inches of very hard packed, potentially slippery, snowy crust on sidestreets) for the last 18 years, but am switching over to a recumbent because of back problems. Because I'm so comfortable riding in those conditions on a DF bike I can't imagine riding a recumbent in winter, but, that's not based on any sort of science or experience. Has anyone in this forum got experience riding recumbents in winter and is it any more difficult or easier or safer or less safe than on a DF? I would appreciate any input about this as I love riding in winter and would hate to have to give it up.
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Old 12-05-07, 09:28 AM   #2
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My thoughts on the matter as a recumbent owner

Well, I shall try to respond effectively, but it must be pointed out at the start that I have no experience riding a DF bike in winter (at least not in winter in places where there is snow). I ride the recumbent, Challenge Hurricane, and the recumbent, Bacchetta Corsa



Here are my observations:



In winter, slipping on the ice is a possibility, and on a recumbent, if you fall, you fall from a lower point and therefore the fall might not be as damaging.



I would say that falling snow is a bit more likely to get in one's eyes when one is on a recumbent, simply because one is more reclined



Some recumbents come with what are called disc or hydraulic brakes, and these brakes may be more effective in stopping in winter. My Challenge Hurricane features such brakes.



Presumably, a recumbent rider deals with less of a wind chill factor, simply because he/she is on a more streamlined bike



Some recumbents come with fairings which will aid in blocking off falling snow. Heck, some fairings completely enclose the recumbent (e.g., the awesome Go One recumbent tricycle).



Going up an icy or slushy hill might be a bit more problematic on a recumbent, but again, I've never ridden a DF bike under these conditions



The recumbent seat being longer and more extensive, more snow and ice are more likely to accumulate on it; but you just wipe off the snow and ice. Still though, because some of the water sort of gets absorbed by the seat, your back and buttocks might wind up a bit more wet than they would on a DF bike.



Winter is known for having less daylight, and one must remember that most bicycle lights (particular headlights) were designed with attachment to DF bikes in mind. Nonetheless, I have successfully attached a headlight to my Bacchetta Corsa recumbent, and if necessary, could probably figure out a way to attach a headlight to my Challenge Hurricane. Taillights are no problem.



Well, that's all that I can think of.
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Old 12-05-07, 07:54 PM   #3
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I ride a HPV StreetMachine, for a long time the only bike i rode.
Two winters ago- approaching a stop sign at a cross street that was a fairly steep down
hill with an icy and gravel covered intersection, put my foot down to stop, slipped on the
ice and wiped out- wrenched my back/neck and left shoulder. From my recumbent position
I was not able to prevent or recover this fall, laying on the ice covered pavement with a
snow plow pick up coming at you and struggling to get unwrapped from your bike was not
the most fun i've every had. Now I Ride a CxCk with snow tires during the winter.
The StreetMachine has a 406/559 wheel set, have not been able to find a 406 snow tire that works well. IMO a recumbent's geometry and position just isn't optimal for riding in slippery conditions, sadly I must
admit the "body english" of an up-wrong bike is more effective in these conditions.
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Old 12-05-07, 08:08 PM   #4
Abneycat
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I would think that the lack of body english control would make things more difficult.
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Old 12-07-07, 01:17 PM   #5
lowracer1
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Originally Posted by Abneycat View Post
I would think that the lack of body english control would make things more difficult.
nah, I ride a 3 wheeled trike in the winter now in addition to the virtual trainer indoors. This just helps me get out on the weekends.

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Old 12-07-07, 01:49 PM   #6
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I would think snow would be a serious problem. On a regular bike you can power through it by standing up and torquing down. Even then it can be one of the most intense workouts on the planet, esp. if you have a foot or two of fresh snow and you're sinking in it. If you're leaning back it strikes me as similar to swimming in a pool feet-first.
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