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Extreme commute club: week 3

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Extreme commute club: week 3

Old 11-13-05, 12:35 PM
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Mars
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Extreme commute club: week 3

I decided to create a "storm bike" for the winter months. A couple of times during the last three winters, I got caught in nasty blizzards. Around here, a blizzard usually includes very heavy, wet snow. The cogset gets covered in slush and ice, so you can't change gears. Also, the rims get so wet and icy that the brakes won't work either. I usually had to brake using the hell of my shoe against the back tire .

So, my storm bike is an old Schwinn LeTour that I have converted to a fixie. It's a really fun bike to ride as a fixie. I have but a big Nokian studded tire on the front and a Tioga Bloodhound tire on the back. No brakes (since they don't work in those conditions anyways), I just put back pressure on the pedals to stop. I have clips on platform pedals, so I can where warm and high winter boots.

This will be the bike I take when there is a serious storm either happening or in the forecast. I figure that I will take it to work maybe two or three times a year. I will, of course, take it for rides just for fun after a big snowfall. For the rest of the winter, I will be riding the recumbent.

Do you have a bike for the extreme conditions other than your regular commuter? Or do you stick with the old faithful? This is the first year I have a special storm bike. In past years, I rode a cyclocross no matter what the weather. I had three different front wheel I would swap out according to the weather.
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Old 11-13-05, 10:30 PM
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My extreme conditions are intense heat and hills (here I go again!) and that's why I got the electric bike. We rarely get snow here and when we get ice, everthing closes so I have no reason to ride. Plus I can't imagine getting up those hills if they were coated in ice. We can't even get out of our neighborhood in a car or truck when that happens!

I have yet to even ride in the rain, though I'm all set for it with fenders and rain gear. I got sprinkled on once but that's been it since March. We're about 12 inches behind for the year but we have a 30 percent chance of rain tomorrow and the next day. Guess I'll see how it goes.
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Old 11-14-05, 03:29 AM
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No special bike for me, can't say that it would be warranted. I had a couple of snow on slate moments last year but my ninja skills prevailed.

This morning the last vestiges of Rememberance Day traffic control was being removed and in the process causing an obstruction to traffic. Once again London drivers feel that pulling tight left or dead centre so that they can see what is going on will make them go faster. I hate traffic weaving but I refuse to join the gridlock so it was a very curvy ride this morning.

The circuit of Hyde Park turned into a quite convincing pedal mash. When I got to work I did the usual strip down to T-shirt to pre-empt the sudden temperature elevation. Much to the horror of my co-cyclocommuters I was literally pouring steam off my back like a sweaty dry ice machine.
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Old 11-14-05, 04:51 AM
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i know what you mean Seldom, got off the bike from frosty ride in, only to find the heating up full, now everyone is sat around with fleeces on, heating still up full and i'm here in t-shirt and my window open. Its lovely to feel healthy!
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Old 11-14-05, 08:26 AM
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Once again a non-extreme commute. Nice weather continues at least until tomorrow when we are supposed to get rain. So at least tomorrow and Wednesday cold rain will make it look like I'm an extreme commuter.

Mars, I have but one multi-purpose bike which will have to survive winter commuting as well. We don't usually get huge amounts of snow here. Lots of ice and the occasional slushy days so we'll see how it goes. We should remember to ask our club members about the lessons learned about their winter commute in March or early April when the survivors can emerge with tales to tell.

I think I am going to change the enclosure I use on my light setup to something smaller, just to make for a neater setup. Otherwise I think the bike is ready for winter. Hopefully Christmas will fill out some of my clothing needs.
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Old 11-14-05, 08:53 AM
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It is starting to get a little cold here now.....tonights low is -17C or 1 F. Time to break out some heavier bike gear. The season of multilayers and balaclavas begins................
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Old 11-14-05, 09:26 AM
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It was a snowy commute this morning and the snow is supposed to continue all day and drop to -10C by tomorrow am. Nothing like playing around in the snow before work. Coworkers think I am psycho though.

I have a mtb which I use only for extreme winter commuting. It has to be pretty much indestructible. I am considering ditching the suspension forks for rigid forks to lighten the load a little and make it a little more efficient bike to ride.
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Old 11-14-05, 10:02 AM
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This morning was the coldest yet, at 33 degrees. My booties went on the shoes, and that was the only real difference. My feet were nice and toasty for a change! Now I'm just waiting for some precipitation to make things dicey.
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Old 11-14-05, 10:22 AM
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Gearing up for a ride-in in the middle 30's, this week. I think I've got all I need for cold, I'm pretty much out of luck for any moisture, though. My most important cold weather gear is a route that keeps me reasonably well protected from the strong, cold North wind that comes along with these fronts.

We've been silly warm for the last several weeks. Almost shorts weather today, even. Almost.
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Old 11-14-05, 10:28 AM
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You 'Sask' cyclists make me feel unworthy!
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Old 11-14-05, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dave ford
You 'Sask' cyclists make me feel unworthy!
They make me feel very, very fortunate.
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Old 11-14-05, 11:14 AM
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Velogirl -- thought I'd post a thanks for the Key Bridge info on this thread rather than last week's. I think I will have to get motivated and do a test trip myself before I have to do it for work.
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Old 11-14-05, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by SaskCyclist

I have a mtb which I use only for extreme winter commuting. It has to be pretty much indestructible. I am considering ditching the suspension forks for rigid forks to lighten the load a little and make it a little more efficient bike to ride.
Yeah, ditch the suspension before you blow your seals with the frozen oil. Besides, western Canadian winters have a way of turning hydraulic oil into concrete. -10c with a 40km/hr wind and a downhill of sheer ice for me this morning, courtesy of last week's chinook. Anyone know of any crampon compatible pedals?
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Old 11-14-05, 11:45 AM
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I forgot to post this earlier. Anyone see The Simpsons last night with Marge buying a tandem bike and then finding her family firmly opposed to taking a ride? As usual a very funny take on America -- in this case the sedentary lifestyle and of course family dynamics.
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Old 11-14-05, 05:21 PM
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My commute today was awesometasticulous!!! All last week, I was commuting with my other road bike that didn't have a rack and had to wear my backpack. Now I have my commuter back and I was riding like a bat outta hell! Then I get home after dealing with the most courteous drivers I've ever seen, go to the bike shop and they got my fenders in! Just in time for a couple days of wetness.
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Old 11-14-05, 05:36 PM
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Mars:

My regular commuter is now a single speed, geared at 46x16. The gear ratio started out at 42x16 but besides the one steep uphill I found that to be too low, so I changed it just this weekend. The one steep uphill that I can't build momentum for I zig-zag up a-la Longhorn technique. The chainwheel is actually a Biopace so uphills are slightly easier while maintaining a suitable cadence for flats.

I get rained on year round in Melbourne, and the wear and tear on drive train was getting to my hip pocket. The bike is highly polished bare aluminium fitted with these SKS chromoplastic mudguards. It is supposed to be heavy duty, but riding it is actually more enjoyable than my new Giant CRX2 flatbar road bike!! Go figure.
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Old 11-14-05, 06:27 PM
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BIOPACE? SINGLE SPEED?! YOU CAN'T DO THAT!

(tongue placed firmly in cheek by a fixed gear 48/17 biopace user...)
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Old 11-14-05, 06:46 PM
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No riding today...but boy was last Friday night's ride a hoot!

So against the weather-prediction wisdom I decided to stick with shorts for the ride home. I figured since it wasn't raining when I walked outside that I'd be lucky and only get sprinked on. Boy was I wrong. Nasty road spray across the bridge, down the cemetary in the dark; dark-dark...rain pouring. About 1 mile from home a storm drain had clogged creating a lake that covered the entire bike lane and 2/3 of the adjacent traffic lane, and 20 feet long at the bottom of a hill. So I'm thinking...can't go around it, I'd have to get in the center lane of traffic; too busy of a street. Don't want to stall in it....only thing to do is act like a 10 year old: "PUDDLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLE!!!!!"

Now, I ride a pretty tall bike...my bottom bracket is 11 inches off the ground, and I'm a little over 6 foot tall. When I hit that puddle the wave I created came up over my knees! My chain rings were definitley in the soup, and my feet were defintely soaked. That goodness for smartwool socks. Boy that was fun! Wet....but fun!

Over the weekend I amassed just about all the parts for my "Geekiness" light project. I'm looking forward to the first test ride.
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Old 11-14-05, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by rykoala
BIOPACE? SINGLE SPEED?! YOU CAN'T DO THAT!

(tongue placed firmly in cheek by a fixed gear 48/17 biopace user...)
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Old 11-15-05, 07:50 AM
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The only extreme part of my commute this morning was a few wet leaves.

A section of the Custis Bike path was fixed, which made the ride a lot nicer. There was a 200 foot section which had a bump every 10 feet due to prottruding roots. I called this section custis moguls, as there was one section which had three bumps in 3 feet. A wonderful way to break spokes and send a wheel out of true.

My extreme commuter bike is my Lemond Propad. The only thing that I do to change the bike for nasty eeather is to put Nokian studded tires on the front and back wheels.
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Old 11-15-05, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by truman
They make me feel very, very fortunate.
Funny thing....I don't look at it as though I am unfortunate. If our family wanted we could easily pick up and move. However, I choose to stay here for the awesome benefits of living in an community such as Regina. The weather is just one more thing that makes it home. Todays commute was pretty good. I had to walk it for about 200 feet as the snow drifts were just too big. The temp is -12C droping to -25C tonight but on the upside 9C for Sunday.

Have a great day!
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Old 11-15-05, 09:02 AM
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Tibike -- what is this "fixed" of which you speak? That isn't the mythical process where some governmental authority comes in and makes the trail smooth or provides drainage is it? Who knew that actually happens. We've been waiting most of the year for the county to do something with the last mile of the CC trail and so far its a no go. With the recent weather it is as close as my commute gets to extreme.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SaskCyclist
Funny thing....I don't look at it as though I am unfortunate. If our family wanted we could easily pick up and move. However, I choose to stay here for the awesome benefits of living in an community such as Regina. The weather is just one more thing that makes it home. Todays commute was pretty good. I had to walk it for about 200 feet as the snow drifts were just too big. The temp is -12C droping to -25C tonight but on the upside 9C for Sunday.

Have a great day!
I would agree. Saskatoon is a great city. Lots of bike paths crossing the city. Lots of off-road trails. With the windchill right now it is about -27C. It isn't really that bad as long as you dress properly. I didn't wear long johns today but probably should have as my legs were a little chilly this morning when I got to the Uni. Other than that, it was sunny, with a slight breeze. Beautiful winter biking today. I am just dreading the days when it drops down to -40C with a windchill of -55......ugh, those are the days where no matter what you wear, you are going to be a little cold.

Snow drifts eh........we don't have that much snow in Saskatoon. The streets are quite icy. We got about 3-4 cm of snow yesterday and there are a few small drifts but nothing big.
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Old 11-15-05, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Marylandnewbie
Tibike -- what is this "fixed" of which you speak? That isn't the mythical process where some governmental authority comes in and makes the trail smooth or provides drainage is it? Who knew that actually happens. We've been waiting most of the year for the county to do something with the last mile of the CC trail and so far its a no go. With the recent weather it is as close as my commute gets to extreme.
I guess that the Northern Virginia Park Authority does a better job than Maryland. The NVPA "fixes" things on a periodic basis. The mogul section was particularly interesting last year when it was covered in ice.
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Old 11-15-05, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Riderfan_lee
I would agree. Saskatoon is a great city. Lots of bike paths crossing the city. Lots of off-road trails. With the windchill right now it is about -27C. It isn't really that bad as long as you dress properly. I didn't wear long johns today but probably should have as my legs were a little chilly this morning when I got to the Uni. Other than that, it was sunny, with a slight breeze. Beautiful winter biking today. I am just dreading the days when it drops down to -40C with a windchill of -55......ugh, those are the days where no matter what you wear, you are going to be a little cold.

Snow drifts eh........we don't have that much snow in Saskatoon. The streets are quite icy. We got about 3-4 cm of snow yesterday and there are a few small drifts but nothing big.
Nice to hear from you. I don't know how much snow we got but it was a lot. My worst fears are not the cold but the loose snow that is driven over a few hundred times. The consistency is such that you don't have alot of control going through it. Ah well, the city does an excellent job of cleaning streets and pathways. By the looks of the long range forecast we should see plus temps for a while after we get through this cold snap.
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