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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 09-13-10, 02:22 PM   #51
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I barely washed my hardtail at all last winter, it's 8th winter of commuting/winter mountain biking in a row.

Replaced the chain and cassette in the spring... $40 or so, everything else was fine.

I did spend a bit more $$$ have the fork oil changed, but most of you guys don't have suspension forks anyways.
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Old 09-13-10, 02:39 PM   #52
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Winter commuting back in 2007-08... my old Kuwahara Shasta with it's 3 speed conversion got me through some seriously evil weather and a lot of snow.

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Old 09-13-10, 07:37 PM   #53
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Wear and maintenance issues aside, there are other things regarding functionality which make having a winter bicycle appropriate. Wide flat handle bars, IGHs, fenders, larger tires and relaxed geometry are quite often antithetic to the "go fast" summer bicycle.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:29 PM   #54
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Wide flat handle bars, IGHs
I don't know about your side of the lake, but on this side, the cycling into the winter winds is precisely why I wanted drop bars on my current winter rig. Nice, narrow, drop bars, thankyouverymuch. I had wide flat ones on my first winter bike. Opened me up like sail and made it very difficult to pedal into the wind.

The thing that keeps me out of IGHs is the wide gear spacing. I like my close-ratio cassettes, and I get the width I need with the triple in front.

None of this is to say either of us is wrong, we just make different choices for different reasons. I would be as frustrated with your winter rig as you would be with mine. Yet we both ride all winter long, and happily too.

New winter cyclists should be aware of that. There are general things that are helpful, but just as in summer cycling, there's plenty of room for personal preference.
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Old 09-13-10, 09:37 PM   #55
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I just pulled my dedicated Winter bike out of the basement to look it over. (It is is a junky GT mtb with dropbars, fixed gear, fenders, and studs.) I had cleaned it and lubed it up at the end of the season. Nevertheless, I was shocked to look at the state it was in. Everything was corroded. All unpainted steel was red. Much aluminum had a film of white on it. And I really did clean it up before putting it away.

That is my justification for a Winter bike. If this was a bike that I had money in or was attached to, I would have cried.

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Old 09-13-10, 10:36 PM   #56
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...None of this is to say either of us is wrong, we just make different choices for different reasons. I would be as frustrated with your winter rig as you would be with mine. Yet we both ride all winter long, and happily too...
Well said, tsl. If only more posters here (I mean on BF in general) shared your sense of diplomacy.
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Old 09-14-10, 03:25 AM   #57
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, larger tires and relaxed geometry .
This.

My old main bike was something different; a lightweight frame with relaxed geometry. I could take my hands off the handlebars and hit a major pothole - the bike kept rolling on. I have a hybrid that would send me face first into the road if I tried the same thing. I have a road bike with 25mm tyres that is also great on bad surface; predictable and reliable.

Reduced visibility, increased numbers of potholes and possibly rutted snow mean its much easier if you are riding a bike that handles well on bad surfaces.
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Old 09-15-10, 11:59 PM   #58
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my winter bike is my commuter bike- a 2002 fondriest race bike with centaur. i live in portland and i hate riding in the rain.
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Old 09-16-10, 12:04 AM   #59
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my winter bike is my commuter bike- a 2002 fondriest race bike with centaur. i live in portland and i hate riding in the rain.
You must not ride very much then...
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Old 09-16-10, 12:21 AM   #60
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Salt on roads.. Ha, what kind of morons would do that? All it does is rust everything in site and sort of melt ice. And who is going to taste the road anyways? I did nothing to my Volkscycle during or after winter. Rode it all winter and then all summer, still have the same chain and all. It did snow and it got down to 13 degrees F on some morning commutes. Not a speck of rust. No salt is allowed on these roads, thank god. Man up and slide around like god intended us to.
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Old 09-16-10, 12:30 AM   #61
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Salt on roads.. Ha, what kind of morons would do that? All it does is rust everything in site and sort of melt ice. And who is going to taste the road anyways? I did nothing to my Volkscycle during or after winter. Rode it all winter and then all summer, still have the same chain and all. It did snow and it got down to 13 degrees F on some morning commutes. Not a speck of rust. No salt is allowed on these roads, thank god. Man up and slide around like god intended us to.
It did snow... once.

It was pretty.

I was there for your little bit of snow... rode through that blizzard on a Raleigh Twenty fitted with Schwalbe Marathons while I watched your city shut itself down because no-one could handle the conditions.

On the bright side The Girl and I had no problem getting a seat at a restaurant that evening as hardly anyone was moving except us and by mid afternoon the next day the snow was all gone.

13 degrees F is balmy compared to what we got here last winter... we got down to -52 F.

And I rode in that too.

The snowpocalypse that happened the previous winter was bad by Portland standards but would be considered decent winter weather up here.

If you have never ridden in the Canadian winter you should "man up" and come and try it... you will appreciate the snow plows, sand, and de-icer they use on our roads.
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Old 09-16-10, 01:36 AM   #62
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I ride my aluminium (just in case that didn't give it away, I'm from the UK too) rb through out the year except when it's icy. I've left my bike out in the snow and ridden it the next day. The next morning, just need to be careful that brakes haven't frozen up and the deraillers wont work for a while either so make sure you put it into a comfortable gear the night before. I dont have fenders either and neither do I change the wheels (Aksiums).

Since then however I've also bought a Tricross as it has full size fenders.
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Old 09-16-10, 02:25 AM   #63
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Mustang, you are in London. Hardly battling blizzards across the hilltops, is it?

The *Northern* english winter is challenging with very slippery black ice on rural roads (wet ice is far more slippery than dry cold ice) and rain. Heavy rain at 0C is miserable. Riding is easier when it's colder, below -5C.
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Old 09-16-10, 10:40 AM   #64
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Salt on roads.. Ha, what kind of morons would do that?
It's put down to melt the ice, this makes it safer for all involved... lol.
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Old 09-16-10, 11:03 AM   #65
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It's put down to melt the ice, this makes it safer for all involved... lol.
you wouldn't need to worry about the ice so much if everyone had rear wheel drive vehicles with posi track rear ends and they knew how to drive them. who ever came up with the idea for front wheel drive vehicles should be shot.
heres my winter bike from 05-08. 21 speed Cherokee mudslide. the shifters always worked as long as i parked it in 1st gear. it use to get snowed in a lot.
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Old 09-16-10, 11:11 AM   #66
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I would agree with those that say riding at sub 0 temps is preferable to riding in freezing rain... I really have a lotof respect for the folks in the UK and the PNW that have to deal with this kind of crap weather.

Even though it might be -25C I don't mind the ride when I can stay dry... early spring and late fall are when we get the most craptastic weather as it could be rain, could be snow, and this is when things tend to be the most treacherous.

My friend crashed his Surly LHT last night when he lost it in a wet corner... looks like he sprained his wrist pretty badly but was otherwise okay.

This is my late fall / early spring / nice winter day bike... I run 700:35 cross tyres to handle the wetter conditions and these handle fallen leaves and debris better than my summer tyres and handle everything except black ice.



For apocalyptic conditions I ride my extracycle or my fixed gear mountain bike which is rock solid and exceptionally stable at extreme temperatures. I have studded tyres on wheels that I can throw on in a few minutes if they are needed.

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Old 09-16-10, 11:26 AM   #67
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Is the temperature difference really a big deal? I live in an apartment with no outside storage (i guess unless i can sell my car and build a fortress in my parking spot) and there's no way in hell I'm leaving my baby out there for the bastards to steal or vandalize it... I was just figuring that I'd have to spray it down and lube it once a day...
No, not at all. I keep my winter bikes inside. It takes all of about 2 minutes for the bike to assume the outside temperature. The biggest problem I have is cleats getting loaded with frozen snow/ice.

On bad days I will wash the bike*. A bucket of warm soapy water and a sponge and brush for the gears and a rinse with a second bucket of warm water only takes a couple of minutes. Wipe it down and let it dry inside and lube the next morning.

*I just can't stand the thought of all that sand and salt staying on the bike. It can destroy a set of BB bearings in a couple of weeks of riding.

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Old 09-16-10, 11:35 AM   #68
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This year's been pretty gruesome. Rained through June! And the autumn rains have begun already. Fingers crossed for a week or two of Indian Summer before Halloween.

I just have a winter front wheel (with homemade studded tire) for one of my bikes. It usually sees 2-10 days service per year.

I'm lucky enough to have a gigantic sink for bike washing at my shop.
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Old 09-16-10, 11:40 AM   #69
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I store my bikes in an unheated garage... thawing them out just allows water to seep into places which will then freeze up when the bike heads back outside.

Less troubles this way.
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Old 09-16-10, 11:47 AM   #70
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...
For apocalyptic conditions I ride my extracycle or my fixed gear mountain bike which is rock solid and exceptionally stable at extreme temperatures. I have studded tyres on wheels that I can throw on in a few minutes if they are needed.

I guess there are still bears around during those apocalypse? Or will they all emerge from hibernation and chase after commuters? In that case maybe it isn't good to wear your dinner bell.
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Old 09-16-10, 11:51 AM   #71
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I guess if I had a fancy 10-11 speed road bike, I'd have a winter bike. Surely replacing $50-80 chains has to hurt a little bit.
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Old 09-17-10, 12:38 PM   #72
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1is nice two is nice too.

It's true, one doesn't "need" an other bike for winter. In my city winters are intense and to many riders here it is testament to the awesomeness of bikes that if you keep it maintained you can ride the same bike year round.

On the other hand building a winter bike can be fun. It can teach people interesting lessons too. At my LCBS i've seen follks who through together free/cheap winter bikes tosave their "nice" bikes - only to find that they preferred riding their $30 bike to their $2000 bike - and it becomes their main ride year round. Different strokes for different folks.
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Old 09-17-10, 12:45 PM   #73
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Everyone who rides any amount should have a B bike... some of us have an M bike as well.

I picked up that Shasta to serve as my winter messenger bike when my Casade moved on to better things... it is still a hand made frame on Ishiwata tubes and has excellent components as life is too short to ride a crappy bike.

And winters here are too harsh to ride a bike that might fail you.
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Old 09-21-10, 12:50 PM   #74
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It's absolute tosh when people say riding in bad weather ruins your bike, I ride every week of the year(except for holidays and snow) on a carbon bike with decent wheels and 23mm tyres.
As long as you clean the bike and re lube the chain after each "dirty" ride you will have no problems at all. Personally I don't bother with mudguards, you and the bike are going to get wet and dirty with or without mudguards!
I think that there is nothing more invigorating that a good long ride in the rain.
As others have pointed out, there is a great deal of variance in what kind of weather we experience in our "Winter Riding."

Having grown up in the Netherlands, Winter riding meant cold wet raining weather, with some short periods of deep freeze (that we all anticipated so we could go skating... no joke the Dutch LOVE their ice skating on open water). Snow was something we marveled at, and mostly was in the 1' to 3" soemtimes we got move and tried very hard to have some fun sledding down some small hills (mostly the side of dikes in the area I live in). Fleezing rain was probablt the worst part of winter. Due to the excellent public transport system, most people I knew would ride year round, but would leave their bikes parked the few days where and there were there was either "real" snow on the ground or freezing rain.

Now that I live in the Buffalo NY area, I experience lots of lake effect snow. We get around 100" to 150" of snow a year depending on what part of town you live in and where the snow bands are heaviest that year. For me that means I am bound to see active snow fall with a minimum of 2" to 6" on average 2 to 3 days a (work) week from mid December through mid February. The snow tends to fall mostly between 1:00 am and 5:00 am, so most days the plows have been out before I need to get to work. That means that I am riding in salt laden slush 2 to 3 mornings every week. That is HARD on a chain. Generally around this time of year my morning average will be around 15F to 20F. Sometimes it takes 6 to 7 weeks before we have a warmup that lets me give the bike a good cleaning. Generally all I could do was add more lube every few days.

I ride about 2500 miles. By March my chain is pretty unhappy with the daily abuse of salty slush being trown at it. This is why I am quite content to ride my hybrid with 8 spped Shimano Deore components year round, but not my road bike with Ultegra. Cost of parts to repair is one problem, tire size limitations is an ever bigger problem. There is no way you'll survive riding in my area without some knobby tires to get some grip on the snow. It is not unusual for the snow to pack together on certain streets, and you'll have to get through 2" to 4" of tick messy stuff. It can be pretty hard even with 35mm snow tires to stay in control (those super wide endomorphs tires would be excellent for those conditions). Other days the roads get icy. Carbite studded tires have kepts me from falling on some pretty slick days.

Idealy I'd need two Winter bikes. One with my "narrow" 35mm Nokia W109's for the normal winter roads that are mostly clear with a few icy bits here and there, then a 2nd bike would have nice wide studded tires with low pressure to deal with deeper snow days. For now a Road Bike and a single winter bike will have to do.

Happy winter riding,
André
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Old 09-23-10, 01:40 PM   #75
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Salt on roads.. Ha, what kind of morons would do that? All it does is rust everything in site and sort of melt ice. And who is going to taste the road anyways? I did nothing to my Volkscycle during or after winter. Rode it all winter and then all summer, still have the same chain and all. It did snow and it got down to 13 degrees F on some morning commutes. Not a speck of rust. No salt is allowed on these roads, thank god. Man up and slide around like god intended us to.
We ususally get up to 13F a couple times in January. Try a real winter and you'll understand salt.
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