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Winter Riding Tips From Someone Who Knows

by Warren T

I’ve been sidelined by the Midwest ice storm so I’ve had to delay the inaugural ride of my XYZ Bikes Beach Cruiser. Actually, tomorrow marks a week of not riding for one reason or another. I wimped out, mostly; so here are some tips on riding in snow from one of the people who inspired me to ride year-round. Jill is Up In Alaska — and rather than sumarize her excellent post, I’ll direct you there to enjoy her writing and pictures and, hopefully, to get you to help her ride the Iditarod.

BTW, numbers 9 and 10 don’t really apply to me as I rarely encounter moose, bear, wolves or sled dogs. I’ve had my fair share of deer scares though…

 
Burley nomad 229

7 Responses to “Winter Riding Tips From Someone Who Knows”

  1. justfrank says:

    Warren, thanks for pointing me to some inspiration. That Midwest ice storm you mentioned also dampened my enthusiasm for biking. This helped.
    I would just like to point out that Jill’s tips about wheel and tires apply when there is a lot of snow on the ground. You don’t need to go to these extremes if it’s simply cold.
    Thanks for the kick in the butt all the same. OK, gotta go ride. –Justyna

  2. Hank says:

    After your XYZ post, I got myself a beach cruiser to put my new Schwalbe Snow Studs on, and it has been working great. Denver winters are generally highly variable, and having a dedicated snow/ice bike will be a vast improvement. I’ll wait for your review of the XYZ before posting comments on the bike, but for now, it works like a charm. Tons of control in the hardpack with the snow studs. I am probably the only person in my office hoping the snow starts coming down harder.

  3. Warren T says:

    Just curious — did you get the fenders? I was thinking this would be a great snow bike with the fenders… More later.

  4. Hank says:

    I did get the fenders and the basket (and last night I emulated the recently posted Miller High Life ad by bringing a clinking six pack home in the snow). The fenders are doing the job – I’ve managed to ride in without my waterproof pants the last few days. For relatively short hauls, I think it is a great snow bike. We’ll see how it holds up

  5. Mark says:

    Warren, very timely post. We got about 6″ of snow from a storm last night and I got my first tast of real snow for this winter. The city was completely gridlocked when I went to leave work, even pedestrians were out pacing cars. I stopped to make a cell call for some lady with a stuck car, she actually mistook me for a bike police officer. I guess this indicates how much reflective clothing I had on ;) I later spoke with some people who used the bus for their commute and I saved about an hour by biking. If you are interested in all the gory detail, you can read my entire account.

  6. Paul in Minneapolis says:

    Winter biking is all about what is in your mind.
    The real things to think about are keeping your toes and fingers warm.

    Most of my rides are short, usally 2 or 3 miles each way. Still I wear two pairs of cycling gloves (mid and heavy weithgt) and in 0- my hands sweat but my finger tips get cold. I am thinking about getting some wool gloves for the inner pair. I also wear two pairs of socks (wool blend) with shoe covers or booties. After about 5 miles in 0- my toes start getting cold.

    The worst things to wear is cotton. Even in -5 I still sweat from my feet to my hands (execpt fingers and toes). Cotton will soak up the sweat. This is bad because our bodies heating system needs a layer of air next to the skin and cotton keeps the sweat there. Very shortly you will get cold, cold that you can’t get rid of no matter how hard you pedal.
    In -5 temps I wear a shirt that will pull sweat away from me, Wool would be better, and a light jacket for -5. It is more about keeping the wind off me, I generate a lot of heat after a mile or so. If I walked I would freeze.

    A cheap bandana or two wore like your robbing a stage coach will do more than keep your face warm, it will also create warmer air that won’t burn when you breath. The only down side, it’ll pick up the moisture from your breathing. But you can carry two or three and change as needed.

    Take an old flannel shirt, cut it and fit inside your helmet. Maybe even keep it long over the ears.

    I have also been thinking about cutting an old gallon milk jug to make shields to mount over the break levers so it’ll keep the wind of my hands.

    If there is a bus sytem where you live, ride to the stop and when your close then ride the rest of the way. Even if it only saves a mile or two. It’ll be a chance to warm up during the ride.

    I have been trying to think of a way to move the heat from my core to my fingers and toes. From where my thinking takes me, it would be a complete suit system. With a channel over the main blood supply picking up heat and a fan powered by my breath. My breath would have to much mostiure but I think it could drive a smal fan to circulate the air.

    Yesterday it was maybe 10f. On my ride, 6 miles there and back, I saw atleast a dozen cycllist on the Midtown greenway, half were woman.

    Our children are going to pay for our car-culture!

  7. blippo says:

    I have found for the hands, those heat packs that can fit in the palm of your hands work good

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