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Thread: Winter commute

  1. #1
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Winter commute

    Hi everyone.

    I've been commuting 4 days a week for 55 kms RT for the last 3 years but not during winter. This year I'm seriously considering building myself a winter bike but I'm not 100% confident about it. I'm thinking that 55 kms is a long way in wintertime. I live in Quebec, Canada so we often have more than 15-20 cm of snow (sometime more) and it often get very cold. In the summer I take about 2 hours to cover the distance, I know I'd be slower in winter but I don't want to spend to much time on the road.

    What do you think? Is it realistic? Stud or no stud?
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  2. #2
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    studs without question. check out the marathon studded winter that's what I used.

    but also check the regional forums. you need advice from people in your area. there may be some who frequent the commuter forum too.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  3. #3
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    studs without question. check out the marathon studded winter that's what I used.

    but also check the regional forums. you need advice from people in your area. there may be some who frequent the commuter forum too.
    Studs all winter long or swap wheels when on dry pavement?

    Here's a personal question for you : What is your average winter speed compare to your average summer speed? the same? 10% slower? 25% slower? I'm scared that I would take 3 hours instead of my usual 55 min. to do the same ride. My regular commuter is a triathlon bike that I modified to fit rack and bags so it's easier to keep a good pace but I won't go far in january on those 700x23
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  4. #4
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    figure 10%
    my commute was 13 miles
    summer time it took 50 minutes
    winter commutes were around 1hr, sometimes 1 hr 10min

    I did one trip in a snowstorm on a MTB with soft studded snows riding on the sidewalk and the saturday oneway took 2 hours. going home I pumped the tires and rode on the roads. that was the last time I took the tank out in the snow. I made the tank for the worst days but wound up never using it cuz it was too slow. I used my roadified hybrid and it was fine and plenty fast. use the marathon winters as max pressure or 1 lb under. going too low with pressure will slow you down but you do have to play with pressure depending on conditions.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  5. #5
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    figure 10%
    my commute was 13 miles
    summer time it took 50 minutes
    winter commutes were around 1hr, sometimes 1 hr 10min

    I did one trip in a snowstorm on a MTB with soft studded snows riding on the sidewalk and the saturday oneway took 2 hours. going home I pumped the tires and rode on the roads. that was the last time I took the tank out in the snow. I made the tank for the worst days but wound up never using it cuz it was too slow. I used my roadified hybrid and it was fine and plenty fast. use the marathon winters as max pressure or 1 lb under. going too low with pressure will slow you down but you do have to play with pressure depending on conditions.

    Thanks, it give me a good idea.
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

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    studs

    I have 3 wheelsets set up for winter. With that I am able to switch wheelsets in about 5 minutes to compensate for any condition that presents itself in the winter.
    Also cheaper than buying multiple bikes

    Set 1 is my summer, fall, spring wheels....hope hubs and Shcwalbe super Moto/Big Apples 2.35 slicks for road and commuting....I put some 2.25 Marathon Xl's for when it starts getting cold and wet (I ditch this set and store them away when the weather starts getting really bad)

    Set 2 is my Shimano hub, wider Velocity P35 rims for my Marathon winter tires, 26x1.75 and these I use everyday in all conditions except extreme weather with deep snow/ice

    and finally, for the extreme days I put on set 3, shimano hubs and again p35 rims with schwalbe icespike pro 2.35 for the front and a Nokian Extreme 1.9 for the rear, I use only when the conditions warrant them, but usually no more than a week or two total for the whole winter and in extreme conditions......the rest of the time always the Marathon winters for everyday use

    the marathons provide a good balance between being no too heavy and easier to ride on dry pavement/roads, plus they are kevlar lined for puncture resistance

    oh, and 2 last benefits to riding studs always through the winter.....they do make you a stronger rider, the first rides after winter when you switch over to lighter tires will make you will feel like a super man and secondly the studs will make it safer to ride....no fun slipping and going down hard on a bike...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Spld cyclist's Avatar
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    I think the ultimate winter bike is a 1990s rigid fork mountain bike. Durable, cheap to buy and parts can be found cheaply (so you won't feel too bad if you damage it or it rusts), and plenty of clearance for fat studded tires and fenders.

    I find that the studded tires reduce my average speed by 2 - 3 mph on mostly clear pavement (i.e., I'm not talking about snowy conditions. I mostly used the bike with studs because of the occasional patches of ice, because there was so little snow here last winter). Heavy snow and ice would be substantially slower.

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    I ride a mountain bike with studded tires once the snow comes. With it my commute time is about 25% longer than with my road-hybrid. (Except in major snow storms when it took as much as 90 minutes to travel 15km.)

  9. #9
    Senior Member yep202's Avatar
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    Hmmm I use to live in northern wisconsin. Winters got very cold. I remember the coldest part of my body were my hands and feet. After I got the clothing down i was able to ride many more miles without getting to cold. I would use slicks during the entire winter and also take your time going around corners. You may be cold starting out but you will warm up. When I rode during the winter is was a sence of freedom and the 4 years I did it I got better at it each year. I went from have a walmart bike with no experaince to 4 years and very good gear and a good bike.

    Good gloves
    Good socks/shoes/shoe covers/boots
    Layer your clothing.
    Studs during the entire winter. They should last you about 2 years maybe more.

    I really wish more people would ride during the winter. Also do some research and keep a look out for a winter biking school. I went to one at the college. Many people showed up with winter bikes all different styles I got a lot of comments on my trek 3700.
    Trek 3700- MIA
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    Living car free for 22 years (my whole life)

  10. #10
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the inputs.
    Originally Posted by Leebo

    Headwind is like a hill without a soul. Just gear down and suffer.
    Quote Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
    Headwinds are hills dipped in evil!

  11. #11
    The Fat Guy In The Back Tundra_Man's Avatar
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    I notice that below 40 degrees (Farenheit) that my average speed drops about 1 mph for every 10 degree temperature drop, even though it feels like I'm working just as hard. Compound this with the 4 - 5 mph loss incurred by switching to my winter bike with studded tires, and my 7.5 mile commute time doubles from about 1/2 hour (summer) to 1 hour (winter). And this is assuming plowed roads. If I'm fighting a fresh snowfall things get even slower.
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