I'm fairly new to cycling (on a 'proper' bike), and my bike is going to be arriving in December time. I'm interested to hear what I should do to ensure I will be able to cycle during the winter. I live in Scotland on the East side, and we quite often get heavy snows, and definatly bad ice. So, I'm wondering what I 'need' to prepare for this winter? I searched the forums and found some info on spikes wheels and so on, but could someone tell me specifically whats involved? I'll probably ask at my LBS at some point too.
There's lots of stuff you ought to have for winter cycling - good lights, the proper clothes and so on. My first priority if you're riding on hardpack snow and ice is studded tires. And you'd probably be doing yourself a favour by going with Nokians. I use the Nokian Mount and Ground - winter where I live is kinda severe in terms of icy roads and cold temps. Check out the Nokian website and if the price scares you, maybe check out the reviews of their tires (and others) on the Mountain Bike Review website.
Yep - it's the 7500FX that's arriving in December. I've taken a look at the Nokian website, and have been unable to find any prices. How much would it cost for these tyres? The main problem here is ice - usually we get a couple of days of very heavy snow, and the rest is just light coverings. Usually the light covering melts slightly and then re-freezes to form an 'ice rink'. Would the tyres help in this situation?
I saw a very good point in another topic. Is there a way to prevent the salt and grit which is put on the roads from ruining a bike? It would certainly be a worry to me.
Fenders are important. Salt does not just form on the bike -- it splashes up from the tires. If your fenders are not long enough, it is easy to fabricate mudflaps. At least a partial chaincase is also a good idea. For any winter bike info, www.icebike.com is a good idea.
If you have to ride a bike without either of these forms of protection, rinse it off and/or store it in a cool place. Warmth melts icy slush and makes the resulting brine more reactive.
On the other hand, driving your car in the salt and grit is probably a worse idea than riding your bike in it.
Yes, that's when I find the Nokians most effective - on ice, icy hardpack snow - the stuff that refreezes overnight. They are pricey; check with your LBS for quotes. I got mine on ebay brand new, but lucked into that (and still paid quite a bit).
Fenders are good for me so far. The icebike site is great.
Cannondale Bad Boy / Mercian track / BOB trailer / Moulton recumbent project
Lumicycle if you have a couple of hundred quid: great lights, great service, really tough bombproof stuff. I just got the halogen 12/20 LiIon set and am pleased as punch; my sister's been running similar with a NiMH for a couple of years. For lesser needs, Smart have some nice stuff out now with a 1.5-2h burn time.
For rear, just make sure you have two in case one dies. The CatEye TL600 - the long slim one - is very good, and rumour has it that the new TL1000 is the dog's bollocks. Anything big, bright, with a steady mode is good. If you're a regular commuter get rechargeable batteries.
Oh, correction on studded tyre wear: check the "studded tyres" thread. *Steel* studs wear out fast, but the Nokians with *carbide* studs last for years. Mea culpa... and mea empta (?) - might get a set as this looks like a good Dartmoorly winter!