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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 11-15-10, 03:59 PM   #1
Sixty Fiver
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Winter Cycling 101

Have been working on this... have a lot more content to add but wanted some feedback from all you crazy people.




Winter Cycling 101

Note: My site was hacked in June and have recently re-loaded the site and am working on a re-write of the article, still waiting on re-verification and Google seems to have an issue with their DNS / Caching that pops up a false warning while things look good in Firefox.

URL has been updated as this has changed.

Last edited by Sixty Fiver; 09-24-11 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 11-15-10, 04:29 PM   #2
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Will be adding some frosty images (they could be of you) as well as some video we just did here to promote winter cycling.
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Old 11-15-10, 04:33 PM   #3
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Some tips on weatherproofing / special maintenance considerations would be nice. E.g. what to look for when looking for the "right lubrication." Otherwise, pretty good stuff.
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Old 11-15-10, 04:40 PM   #4
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I need to alert R A N T W I C K to this thread. He commutes in balmy London, Ontario, 100% of the time.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 11-15-10, 08:46 PM   #5
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BRILLIANT!

Honestly, I have nothing to add. You nailed it! Maybe something about maintaining/inspecting you bike as things seem to wear quicker in the the winter but....again, Brilliant!
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Old 11-16-10, 03:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by ScottRock View Post
Some tips on weatherproofing / special maintenance considerations would be nice. E.g. what to look for when looking for the "right lubrication." Otherwise, pretty good stuff.
Done.

Think I am done adding stuff for the day and need to be rested for tomorrow's frosty riding.
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Old 11-16-10, 03:05 AM   #7
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I also added some links back to the Winter Cycling Forum, Winter Bike Pics, and Tyre Studding thread... so we might have a few more guests.

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Old 11-16-10, 09:04 AM   #8
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And yes… those are *cough*spokeydokes*cough* on the front wheel which serve as stall indicators.
oh sure...
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Old 11-16-10, 09:05 AM   #9
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oh sure...
Seriously... I know a few mtbr's that put these on their wheels and if you can hear them you know that you are moving much too slowly.

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Old 11-16-10, 09:34 AM   #10
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Good write up. Some commentary on brake options for winter bikes would probably be helpful. Trying to stop with snow and ice crusted rim brakes can be disconcerting, to say the least.
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Old 11-16-10, 10:14 AM   #11
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Good write up. Some commentary on brake options for winter bikes would probably be helpful. Trying to stop with snow and ice crusted rim brakes can be disconcerting, to say the least.
Good point... this is becoming quite a group project.

More braking info was added.
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Old 11-16-10, 10:27 AM   #12
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Sweet! Excellent info.

Could use some shots of you riding the bikes.
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Old 11-16-10, 10:50 AM   #13
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I'm gonna finish reading this, and then I think I'm going to post a link to it on one of our local shop sites.

The net needs new icebike content. icebike isn't really dated, but their site looks so dated you'd never know.
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Old 11-16-10, 11:09 AM   #14
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Any well maintained bike should be capable of handling the winter and I would advise against riding a “beater” as winter is far too long here to ride a crappy bike, dedicated winter riders tend to ride fairly decent bikes as better parts last longer and run more smoothly.
Thank you.
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Old 11-17-10, 08:56 AM   #15
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Good page. Thanks. Is your terrain pretty flat? It seems it would be quite difficult riding in my area with just 3 gears - or are the gears widely spaced? [I haven't ridden an internal 3 speed in over 50 years.]
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Old 11-17-10, 09:34 AM   #16
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It's a great start. I'd like to see a discussion of the different tires and techniques for other winter conditions - ice vs. snow. Your article focuses mostly on snow riding, but in the Mid-Atlantic, at least, ice is more prevalent. Perhaps links to Icebike and Peter White would suffice.

Also, I disagree with your statement that WD-40 should not be used on chains. I use it all the time to allow the oil to penetrate into the links. After cleaning the chain with mineral sprits and applying Prolink lube, I spray with WD-40, wipe the chain thoroughly, and let it dry for a while. It works great.
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Old 11-17-10, 10:26 AM   #17
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it is pretty good but it maybe it could use something about where and how to keep your bike when you are not using it. i have learned to not just drop a bike on its side outside because it will usually freeze up. i always keep my bike upright in the winter since i have to park it outside

i never use WD-40 unless i have to and even then i have to go to the store and buy it if i decide to use it. i usually use ATF or used motor oil.
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Old 11-17-10, 12:09 PM   #18
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That's a pretty good write-up! I wear cotton all year long and often argue against what I see as people wasting money on high-tech clothing simply because someone told them it works better, or they read Bicycling magazine, etc. but in your situation where the winters actually DO get quite cold, I'd probably go for a lot of wool.

Well done.
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Old 11-17-10, 05:13 PM   #19
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Perhaps a paragraph on pedals would be in order. Personally I prefer BMX-style platform, but I know a lot of people ride year-round on clipless. Either way a warning should be given about stepping off of your grippy pedal and onto some slick ice, which could lead to a spill. Otherwise very comprehensive. Well done!
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Old 11-17-10, 07:32 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
It's a great start. I'd like to see a discussion of the different tires and techniques for other winter conditions - ice vs. snow. Your article focuses mostly on snow riding, but in the Mid-Atlantic, at least, ice is more prevalent. Perhaps links to Icebike and Peter White would suffice.

Also, I disagree with your statement that WD-40 should not be used on chains. I use it all the time to allow the oil to penetrate into the links. After cleaning the chain with mineral sprits and applying Prolink lube, I spray with WD-40, wipe the chain thoroughly, and let it dry for a while. It works great.
"This is a common question and I will start by saying that WD40 is NOT a lubricant and should not be used on bicycle chains as it is primarily a solvent and will wash any lubricant out of your chain.

If you do neglect your chain and it starts to stick WD40 can be used to free stuck links but then a proper chain lube should be applied."
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Old 11-17-10, 07:40 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by hobkirk View Post
Good page. Thanks. Is your terrain pretty flat? It seems it would be quite difficult riding in my area with just 3 gears - or are the gears widely spaced? [I haven't ridden an internal 3 speed in over 50 years.]
My winter bike is set up with a pretty low gearing on the AG which is a wide ratio three speed... it has a 39/52/70 and the 39 is low enough for the 12-18 % grades I might encounter and 70 gear inches is about as high a gear I need for riding through the city in winter.

Was out today and used the 2nd / 52 gear inches as a starting gear as it is sometime better to apply less torque and reduce the possibility of spinning out... will have to add a note to this effect under technique as it seems the odds of falling are highest when you are starting and stopping and starting in too low a gear will cause you to spin out too easily.
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Old 11-17-10, 07:42 PM   #22
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Sweet! Excellent info.

Could use some shots of you riding the bikes.
Will have to enlist the aid of some friends to do this as it is hard to take self portraits while you are riding.

Will be adding some gear related shots tonight and I love pictures.
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Old 11-17-10, 07:48 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by irclean View Post
Perhaps a paragraph on pedals would be in order. Personally I prefer BMX-style platform, but I know a lot of people ride year-round on clipless. Either way a warning should be given about stepping off of your grippy pedal and onto some slick ice, which could lead to a spill. Otherwise very comprehensive. Well done!
Done.

I fall more in the winter when I am off, or getting off my bike.
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Old 11-17-10, 07:55 PM   #24
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Just posting so I might come back to it later. Re: WD-40 it's for anti seize. We messengers used to carry a small can around in our bags in the winter for all manner of stuff. Chains, shifters, cables, brake pivot points, seat posts, just about anything. It is not a lube though, it has some in it mixed with the loosening agents, but it does work. We'd spray it on on those 10cm+ of snow days to help keep the freewheel clear of ice with the exception of the single gear you were riding. It's not uncommon to see a messenger get off his bike at a light and bounce/kick all the crap off it that had gathered.

I was lucky in that I had a friend that lived a block from a fire station , so they'd hose the bikes down at the end of a gross sloppy day for us.

I'm toying with the idea of trying to mount 28mm cross tires on my road brake setup Paké for this winter.
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Old 11-17-10, 08:05 PM   #25
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Does anyone want to submit pictures of themselves riding in the winter to add to the gallery ?
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