I'm stoked for my winter "commute"...
I haven't commuted regularly in the winter in years. Back when I was in university I owned a motorcycle which meant I had to ride my MTB all winter to see my GF and then get to school in the AM. Living on Lake Ontario I dealt with a lot of crazy weather and didn't have any $$$ for special gear. It's amazing what the lack of any other options does for you motivation to ride in gnarly conditions!...
After school I continued to commute all winter to work in the same city out of habit and for some exercise. Since than I've never lived anywhere that winter commuting was reasonable for a variety of reasons. I have had winter bikes and done some winter riding, but nothing very regular. It's a bit hard to motivate me to get out when it's dark, wet & cold.
Now that I work at home 4 days a week - some weeks never going to the office my commuting options are even slimmer, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. My GF lives 20 minutes away across downtown. If I drive to her place I have a hell of a time finding parking and rush hour traffic makes the return trip twice as long in stop and go traffic so naturally I bike to her place.
With the days getting longer I'm facing my first winter in a long time where I'll be biking back and forth across town regularly. Not exactly commuting to work, but a similar challenge nevertheless. I'm looking forward to it. Although I can't get motivated to go out and ride regularly in the winter when I do have a reason to get on the bike I normally enjoy it quite a lot. Naturally getting to see my GF is plenty motivation to go for a bike ride - not to mention the motivation of not having to deal with rush hour madness after a heavy snowfall!
Since I've got a more resources at my disposal now compared to my university days I'm hauling out a bunch of existing bike parts and figuring out how to setup my winter ride. I'm thinking:
- single speed MTB frame
- 8 speed internal gear hub
- disc brakes
- generator hub & LED light
- drop bars
- rear rack & panniers
- studded front tire & normal Marathon XR rear
- full coverage fenders
- if I can find a full chain case that I like and that works I may go that route
Now all I need is some snow...LMAO....good thing Canada that's never far off....
Don't forget hands and feet Vik! After a long cool wet winter/spring of riding here in Vancouver, my focus is on getting proper winter shoes instead of messing around with overbooties. For hands, neoprene's from Co-op are nearly infallable, but take too long to dry. Anything with the words "Izumi" and "Gavia" on the hang-tag rocks when it cools off.
For singlespeed, you've making a good call. I had cassettes hold the slush and become singlespeed. I cheaped out and picked up one of these kits to convert an existing wheel, along with the legendary Singleator (I know you can't resist all things Surly!).
Anyways, glad to hear you're stoked - that will take you deep into the coldest depths of winter in Canuckstan. You're prepping early, so you may find some sales too....
Thanks Mike...I've got some of those lobster gloves from MEC that work well for dry or snowy cold. I need to find some waterproof over gloves that really are waterproof for the wet/cold days. For the dry/cold days I've been okay with trail runners and warm socks. Not sure what I'll wear on the wet/cold days. I do have some rubber insulated boots for the -40 days, but they're too bulky for regular use. I may invest in some waterproof trail runners from MEC this winter.
Originally Posted by TruckerMike
I figure the SS frame and IGH should be a winner as far as maintenance.
I can highly recommend Northwave winter shoes. I used them two seasons, six months at a time, through freezing Maine winters and soaking springs. I never once had wet feet. They were plenty wide for my feet, were easy to get on and off, and were plenty stiff if you're used to stiff road shoes. And when temps got warmer, into the mid-50's, they weren't too hot.
If you read around on this forum, you'll find a whole bunch of threads about how riding a studded front and non-studded back tire is a bad idea.
I have no idea why a studded front and non-studded back would be a bad idea. This will be my third Madison winter of bike commuting, and I ride all winter on my free Raleigh Grand Sport. I have a studded 700C Nokian up front, and I just love this bike for winter riding.
The only way I've found to keep my feet warm when it is -10F is wearing double socks inside felt-lined winter boots, the kind you buy cheap at Farm and Fleet. Even then, I sometimes have to drop a chemical warmer pack in each boot.