As a former runner (knee replacement) who ran everyday, including the winter, for over 30 years, I needed an alternate exercise. So, I bought a stationary recumbent exercise bike. However, I soon got bored staring at the wall in the basement; no wheels, no fresh air and an instrument panel. I wondered if real bicycling would work for me. This past May, I bought a Specialized Crossroads Elite. I am now starting to conclude that this 700c x 38c hybrid is not the ideal bike for me, but it will do for now as a winter bike. Besides, selecting a 2nd bike is a discussion for another day.
I am currently riding 10-12 miles a day…every day. I ride hard; strictly for fitness and only on concrete or asphalt. What a thrill it is to get out of the basement and get outside again. Why didn’t somebody tell me it was going to be this much fun? As we used to say back in the 70s, “Man, I’m diggin’ this”!
With my newly found love of two wheeled aerobics, I was soon asking myself, can I ride through the winter? Sure I can! As an everyday runner who ran everyday through 33 Michigan winters, I have no doubt I can ride December though March. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about dressing for cold weather running and I already have a lot of the required gear. I only need to tap into the expertise of people who ride in the winter. That's when I discovered this forum and http://www.icebike.org. When a local cycle shop employee gave me this address, it was like finding the missing piece of a puzzle. I have learned so much here and on IceBike.
To prepare for winter, I am doing the necessary modifications to the bike, i.e., fenders and winter tires with studs. I will ride on plowed concrete and asphalt roads 80%-90% of the time. For the other 10%-20%, those same roads will be snow covered with an occasional patch of black ice. As I indicated above, I already have the poly base layers, wool secondary layers and outer windproof shells. As a runner, my feet and legs were never cold, but I am told that my feet will get cold cycling in the winter. I will learn to deal with that as well as learn how to protect my hands and face. Obviously, the winter wind conditions while cycling are going to be more challenging than what I experienced as a runner.
In conclusion, I will be posting often this fall and winter to report on my progress and to seek additional advice. To all that have contributed to the wealth of knowledge (and a few laughs) on this forum, I thank you.