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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 12-22-04, 09:41 AM   #1
OhiOH
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So, How deep can I go ?

From National Weather Service

“Snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches is expected by sunset. Additional snow accumulation of 6 to 10 inches is expected overnight. Through thursday afternoon a storm total snow accumulation of 12 to 20 inches is expected across the area”.

I’ve done 6”. mtb w/Nokian extremes
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Old 12-22-04, 10:18 AM   #2
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Over 3 inches it gets too messy for me. Once the derailleur gets clogged with snow/ice and shifting becomes impossible I call it quits.
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Old 12-22-04, 12:34 PM   #3
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in my experience, it really depends on the type of snow, the drier, the deep I can ride.
Wet snow sticks to the drive train and reallys mucks things up.
Here in Colorado, snow riding is pretty good till the wet, spring snows come.
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Old 12-23-04, 09:13 AM   #4
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I went for a recreational ride on my fixed last night in 8" of snow. Had to walk up steep hills and skid down. Loved to watch my feet dissapear in the powder as I pedaled. After about an hour and a half I stopped in a bar for a beer and a cup of joe before heading back. When I unlocked by bike it had another 1-1/2 inch of snow on the seat.....big grins....
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Old 12-23-04, 09:59 AM   #5
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Well, I found out THIS 8” was too deep. I agree with what btadlock said, “it really depends on the type of snow”. The bottom 2” was very wet from freezing rain/sleet. The top 4-6 was pretty dry.

I gave it a try, and found I could maintain forward motion, but control was just about impossible even with the Nokian Extremes.

Damn, my last commute home for the year and it was the 1st time I had to abort all year due to weather.
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Old 12-23-04, 10:07 AM   #6
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Remember single speeds/fixies for the snow conditions!
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Old 12-23-04, 10:35 AM   #7
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I rode home in 4-6" fresh snow last night. It was workable, but slow. A route that takes 30 minutes in good conditions took 1 hour, 2 minutes. This morning, there was a crust of ice on top of the snow, so I took the bus. I was bummed when I learned that people took bets on whether I would ride.
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Old 12-23-04, 10:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btadlock
in my experience, it really depends on the type of snow, the drier, the deep I can ride.
Yup, the type of snow is the limiter. I've ridden through 6-10 inches of dry, fluffy stuff with no problems @ all. However, 4 inches of the wet stuff is often too much.
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Old 12-23-04, 10:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lala
Remember single speeds/fixies for the snow conditions!
And 700 x 38 cyclocross knobbies!!

Yea baby...yea
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Old 12-23-04, 11:14 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lala
Remember single speeds/fixies for the snow conditions!
To me, getting a single speed to avoid shifting problems is like cutting off your fingers to avoid papercuts. You're getting rid of an important tool in order to avoid a minor nuisance.

A fixie/SS would have made my ride home last night much harder. Because the snow was somewhat wet, it was hard to push through. I was in the granny gear (or close to it) pretty much the whole way home. I rarely have trouble shifting, so a single speed that would work under normal conditions would have been a real pain.

But, if a single speed works for you, go for it. We all have different preferences. What works for one doesn't work for all.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 12-23-04 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 12-23-04, 12:43 PM   #11
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I’m with you Daily. I have some pretty strong legs, but there have been times when I’d be walking without my granny.
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Old 12-24-04, 05:26 PM   #12
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Here in Cincinnati, they declared a level 3 snow emergency which meant that if you were out on the roads driving a car, you could get a ticket. But that didn't really apply to me since it wasn't even an option for me to commute yesterday as most of the city was shut down and I technically had the day off off. But to the point of your post, I agree that it does depend on the type of snow. At least you tried and it was probably a lot of fun. Many of my memorable commutes were in the snow.
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Old 12-25-04, 09:52 AM   #13
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I attempted to ride in on thursday, I got about a mile and half up 5th avenue and decided to turn back around. The snow was almost impossible to deal with; the crust on top, and then the slush underneath. If I had an ice cutter on the front, and a granny gear, I may have been able to take it. The puddles caused from the frozen storm drains were ridiculous too.
Still, I felt bad giving up. Rode in today though not nearly as challenging, but colder.
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Old 12-25-04, 08:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute
To me, getting a single speed to avoid shifting problems is like cutting off your fingers to avoid papercuts. You're getting rid of an important tool in order to avoid a minor nuisance.

A fixie/SS would have made my ride home last night much harder. Because the snow was somewhat wet, it was hard to push through. I was in the granny gear (or close to it) pretty much the whole way home. I rarely have trouble shifting, so a single speed that would work under normal conditions would have been a real pain.

But, if a single speed works for you, go for it. We all have different preferences. What works for one doesn't work for all.
I'm not sure what benefit SS would have, but the control and traction on a fix are much better in most conditions. I agree that past a certain weight of snow (not depth) they can be a lot harder. There have been a couple of days that it was simply impossible for me to push through the snow in the gear I was pushing. With a fix, when you fishtail, a slight distribution in your weight/pedal pressure can correct it and slow you down without even touching the brakes. It takes a little bit to learn it, but once you do, you never want to ride on snow/ice on anything else. It's not an 'ease' issue, it's control. And I'd rather work harder but have control than have an easy ride, go too fast, and hit the pavement.

Now if they made a 12 speed fixed gear of some mad scientist's dreaming, I would ride that through the winter, so I still had the control, but could adjust gearing according to conditions...
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Old 12-27-04, 01:36 AM   #15
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SS would have the benefit of being able to coast/freewheel without derailleurs to get mucked up. In the snow my 32x18 (same gear I run in dry) gets me a lot farther than a mucked up derailleur ever could.
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Old 12-28-04, 05:00 AM   #16
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Even in pretty hoorible conditions, my derailleur keeps functioning. And the one or two times it didn't work, it just got stuck in the gear I was using at the time, which is better than getting stuck in a gear ratio I chose in August.

I can appreciate the simplicity of SS and fixies, but I appreciate the power of chosing the right gear for the right situation even more.
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