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Ever Ride In The Snow?

Old 02-07-14, 11:58 AM
  #1  
dkyser
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Ever Ride In The Snow?

I ask on here because falling for a Clyde is defiantly different than a 140 lb man.

I know road riding is not an option, but how about Mountain Bike riding?

I have never attempted it, but as temps warm up a bit it may be an option.
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Old 02-07-14, 12:17 PM
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So on a whim a friend and I did Maple Springs (Santa Ana Mountains) last year after a snow fall. The trail was covered with a light dusting, about 3 - 8 inches of snow (deeper in some spots) and ice in some spots. Going up was a joy and it was really fun for this California girl to see snow up close and personal but then we had to turn around and come down and well... maybe due to lack of experience (ie NONE) I was terrified. Great photos and all that and glad I did it once but never again. I suppose if the trail were flat, would not be so bad. Snow is actually "sticky" so I wasn't worried about slipping but coming downhill the tired, while braking, bit throught the snow to the ice and then I had a problem...
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Old 02-07-14, 01:13 PM
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Sure, When I started bike commuting 4 years ago I didn't want to stop for winter, so I bought a set of Marathon Winters and just kept going. With those tires moderate snow or ice is no problem for biking, it's the auto traffic that becomes more the issue. The roads are cleared quickly here, so 90% of winter commuting is on pavement. If there's a big storm I'll drive that day, and maybe the next day.
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Old 02-07-14, 01:16 PM
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Why is road riding not an option? I saw some fool this morning, it was 6 below and he was on an ice covered street, pedaling away. (I only say fool for the humor, I don't think he was anymore fool hearted than the rest of us). Seriously, I don't bike in adverse conditions because I don't see the FUN in it, and that is why I bike, but I do see people of all sizes biking around here all winter.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by digger531 View Post
Why is road riding not an option? I saw some fool this morning, it was 6 below and he was on an ice covered street, pedaling away. (I only say fool for the humor, I don't think he was anymore fool hearted than the rest of us). Seriously, I don't bike in adverse conditions because I don't see the FUN in it, and that is why I bike, but I do see people of all sizes biking around here all winter.
Two below zero, with two feet of snow and I was out for a while this morning, but I doubt you saw me from that far away. I don't get the "fool" label at all. If you don't enjoy it, don't do it. I don't enjoy it, but after two years of riding I don't hang out on the Clyde forums much anymore; don't meet the requirements any longer.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by digger531 View Post
Why is road riding not an option?
When I was a kid I took my 10 speed out in the snow... once.

Made it about 100 yards and walked home. No traction is deadly on a road bike.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:15 PM
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That's why they make carbide studded tires and MTB's. Some people sink the money into indoor trainers, others into bikes that are sure-footed in Winter conditions. I, and a few others, just prefer to ride in the elements. I've been amazed at how well the bike/tire combination work in adverse Winter road conditions.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:27 PM
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Few yra ago did a noble canyon trail ride. Snowing at the top, rain in the middle and bottom. Only about a foot at the top and cutting through mostly fresh stuff had pretty decent traction. The ice patches made things interesting but still controlable. I always run 2.2 to 2.35" tires on my bikes.
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Old 02-07-14, 03:49 PM
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There's the additional problem of your skin not working when the thermometer reads -22F like it will Monday and Tuesday morning here. The forecast just keeps getting more and more evil. Nothing can be done to make riding fun at those temperatures. Nothing can be done to make it even tolerable.

Whoah, they just changed the forecast to -18 and -19F. Nevermind.
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Old 02-07-14, 04:00 PM
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Rode 20 miles on snowy roads about an hour ago. Road riding in winter is definitely an option if you have a bike that can take a bit fatter tire. Hybrids, touring and CX bikes make great winter rides. We have lots of recreational riders and commuters out this time of year in the Fargo, ND area. It is entirely possible to ride on a variety of tires, especially if you are just riding in an inch or two of new fallen snow, but if you can invest in a set of studded winter tires, it will increase your safety and confidence on ice or hardpack all winter long. I don't switch to winter tires unless we have ice or a staying snow. If it is just the snow in the morning - melt by noon type of fluff we get in the fall, I just ride a bit more carefully until the road dries off. MTB on snowy trails is a blast as well. Whatever you do, DO NOT ride a fat bike in the snow. It's addictive and there is no treatment or cure. You'll know you are a real winter rider when you understand that a balaclava is not a Greek dessert.

What I like best about winter riding is that you can take a road or trail that you have been on 100 times and it is still a whole new experience.

A few shots from one of last year's winter rides.
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Old 02-09-14, 09:38 PM
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I've got to tip my hat to you snow riders. I don't have bike paths or lanes to get to work, and I'd be scared to death to get out in the road with the drivers here. My neighbor (big, big man) took possession of his new bike around the first of the year a couple of years ago, hit a patch of ice and broke a collarbone. I'm just going to wait for the snow to melt...
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Old 02-09-14, 10:40 PM
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I enjoy the challenge. It is fun. I've ridden skinny road bike tires on snow covered gravel trails all winter with no issues but I just built a beater out of spare parts with 700 38 tires and it is more sure footed. I've still had to carry it over drifts but that just adds to the fun.
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Old 02-09-14, 11:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dkyser View Post
I know road riding is not an option, but how about Mountain Bike riding?


There is nothing to fear but fear itself
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Old 02-10-14, 12:15 PM
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Here in New England, yes it snows. Studded tires on 2 commuters for Dec to March. 1 set for off road, plus a fat bike. Try a mountain with knobby tires on the road if you don't have ice. Got a cross bike ?
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Old 02-12-14, 11:01 AM
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I haven't ridden because I don't have the layers for it. I have everything for the upper body, but I don't have any cold weather pants or socks. And I am not about to invest in it just yet. Maybe in the future I will but for now I am good, haven't really put too much weight back on, and I do get exercise by shoveling my street clean every time it snows! I usually clear about 20 parking spots alone.

But I am getting cabin fever and I haven't stuck my road bike in the trainer yet, mainly because the trainer is an older design that won't work with QR skewers. Guess I could chuck my MTB/commuter in there.....but then I couldn't ride outside if I wanted to.
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Old 02-12-14, 12:50 PM
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Back when I was still skinny and in high school, I rode my road bike to school (several miles) snow or not. Skinny tires really cut down through the snow and grab on pretty good...slick underlying ice was my only concern, and I was nimble enough to catch myself if the bike started to squirt out from under me.

Now? I'm not quite so brave...320 pounds of meat hits the ground a lot harder than 160.
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Old 02-12-14, 12:53 PM
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I haven't ridden in the snow for 2 reasons...the strong winds, and lack of proper equipment.
But even if I had the right gear, riding with -10C with 30-35 mph winds...I just have to pass on that. Seriously, since early dec. we've had 2 days that were nice enough to ride around here.
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Old 02-17-14, 10:56 PM
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I've ridden through 30+ winters and used studded tires less than 5 times. I have a studded tire that I've owned for 3 years for that I've used those less than 5 times. For the other 27 (roughly) years through blizzards, ice storms, snow packed roads, unplowed trails, etc., a mountain bike with aggressive off-road knobby tires (and some skill) has done just fine. I have crashed a few times but not excessively. Nor have my crashes been excessively severe. Studded tires are nice but not totally necessary. Skill is far more important and the only way to develop skill is by doing.

I also have to disagree with you, dskyer, on the effects of crashing on a large person vs a smaller person. Yes, the physics say that the force of impact are greater but there are other factors to consider in how a human can mitigate and redirect those forces. We are much more than just lumps of meat. I've learned through years of experience how to fall so that I don't get hurt or don't get hurt badly. Even a smaller person who doesn't know how to fall correctly can get seriously hurt. Again, it's a skill that needs to be developed by doing...unfortunately.
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Old 02-17-14, 11:12 PM
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I have done some riding in the snow. It can be fun in a couple of inches. I don't commute in the snow because of the distance and time it would take, plus I'm never sure what additional snow may fall during the day. One of my main problems for riding in the snow is for any rides starting from my home is I have to ride on a country road with a limited shoulder. Once the plow trucks throw the snow on the shoulder I'm forced to ride in the street. I don't trust the motoring public on a good day, but considering I have to ride in the road with no escape off the road I can skip the ride.
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Old 02-18-14, 04:43 AM
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Nope.

I have snowshoes. And an exercise bike...cross country skiis somewhere as well. My bicycles stay away from the NY over-salted roads, and out of the snow.

Just not for me!
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Old 02-18-14, 08:13 PM
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I went down a couple weeks ago riding in the snow. I had just started the ride and I was following my own tracks from the day before but the temps had warmed up just enough to start the snow melting so it was wetter than the day before and there was a patch of ice underneath the snow. The bike started to go out from under me but I "think" what kept me from getting hurt was that instead of trying to catch myself I tried to ride out of the slide and in so doing I basically rode the bike to the ground keeping my arms and legs tucked in. The bars and LH pedal took the initial impact plus I slid in at a shallow angle. The other thing that helped was that I had multiple layers of clothing on which absorbed some of the impact as did my helmet. I was wet and muddy but finished the ride. I was a little sore for a couple days but that was it. It was probably dumb luck that kept me from getting hurt more than anything but it definitely won't deter me from riding in the snow, if you have the right clothing, bike and tires there's nothing quite like it.
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Old 02-18-14, 08:55 PM
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Snow riding, at least on trails, requires low pressure (15lbs or so for a 150 lb guy) and wide tires (2 inch works) to get traction and control, and temps not much over 20 deg f for traction. Warmer than that and it starts to get a little squirrely. We ride trails that are packed and sometimes groomed. It's a blast. I've only done it twice, but I'm hooked.
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Old 02-18-14, 09:14 PM
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Lots of good advice above. I'm a big guy just like you, and I have yet to fall this winter. I roll on 26x2.1 Kenda Small Block 8s dropped to about 15 psi and they do surprisingly well. Just have to watch it when cornering or else the bike will slip out from under you, especially on snow covered roads where there's likely ice underneath.

That said, don't expect to have a particularly easy or rapid ride, what with the snow gear, low tire pressure and extra rolling resistance. The farthest I've done in snow thus far is right around the 11 mile mark, and it feels like I'm exerting myself equivalent to a 30 or so mile ride on my road bike while going a fraction of the speed. Wicked fun though!
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Old 02-19-14, 12:35 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Murray Missile View Post
I went down a couple weeks ago riding in the snow. I had just started the ride and I was following my own tracks from the day before but the temps had warmed up just enough to start the snow melting so it was wetter than the day before and there was a patch of ice underneath the snow. The bike started to go out from under me but I "think" what kept me from getting hurt was that instead of trying to catch myself I tried to ride out of the slide and in so doing I basically rode the bike to the ground keeping my arms and legs tucked in. The bars and LH pedal took the initial impact plus I slid in at a shallow angle. The other thing that helped was that I had multiple layers of clothing on which absorbed some of the impact as did my helmet. I was wet and muddy but finished the ride. I was a little sore for a couple days but that was it. It was probably dumb luck that kept me from getting hurt more than anything but it definitely won't deter me from riding in the snow, if you have the right clothing, bike and tires there's nothing quite like it.
Yup. Best way to reduce injury to your body is to risk injury to the bicycle. Ride the bike to the ground in a crash and resist (resist, resist, resist) the urge to "catch yourself". Try to direct the impact as much as possible to large muscle groups like your hips and thighs or shoulder and upper arm but once you do hit the ground, relax and let gravity have its way with you. I've been doing this for eons.
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Old 02-19-14, 04:33 PM
  #25  
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I prefer riding in the snow when it’s significantly colder than freezing as I don’t tend to get wet. As temperatures increase to the melting point, it becomes a very sloppy ride that I simply can’t appreciate.
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