Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Commuting About to Begin

Ever since grade school, I've never ridden much in the winter. It's not because I don't like winter, because I really do. It just never struck me that riding a bike in the winter would be a good thing to do. Ice hockey, ice fishing, cross-country skiing were things I liked to do in the winter.

But thanks to many of you people who keep riding through the snow and ice and blog about it, I think I'll give it a try. I've been riding here and there after work and on weekends when I can find the time so I can get used to the idea and to figure out what clothes to wear.

Today I ordered some Nokian Hakkapaliita W106 studded snow tires for my Tricross, from Peter White Cycles in New Hampshire. Penny said they would be here Monday or Tuesday, so my winter commuting will begin soon.

Tonight I rode past the Cedarville Reservoir (it's right behind the bike). It was a balmy 20 degrees, and the wind is down to only 10 mph, so it was very nice compared to the howling winds we've had since Wed. morning.

Anyway, will keep my posts coming regarding my winter commuting.

Happy riding! Stay warm.


Steve A said...

So is the Internet a good or bad influence? I think you'll look back on it fondly. I hope the Tricross proves a sturdy ride. I think it will.

Jon said...

The studded tires will surprise you, I think. A lot of the challenge of winter commuting is psychological. And, once you get some experience with the added security that the studs give you, a lot of the intimidation goes away.

Have fun, and be careful (if you can, indeed, do both at the same time)!

Big Oak said...

Steve - I'd say the internet has been a great influence. I appreciate the opportunity to read so many different blogs and get ideas to do stuff I wouldn't have thought about doing, such as riding my bike regularly in the winter. I do really like my Tricross. I've had it for two years. The only thing I've changed in that time is to put on Velocity Dyad rims with Shimano XTR hubs, DT stainless, double-butted spokes.

Jon, yea, you're the big influence in this winter riding thing. Thanks for all of your helpful blogs with useful info.

rlove2bike said...

I too think you will enjoy getting out in the winter. I know I like it. The first bike I rode studded tires on is an old mountain bike and I have Innova's on that one. When I bought the fixed/single speed, I put the Nokian Hakkapaliita W240's on. IMO, you made a good choice of tire. Just like Jon was saying, I too found that studded tires work great. I think one of the most important things of winter riding is bicycle maintenance, but you already knew that. Have fun!!!

Oldfool said...

You've shamed me into riding in a little cooler weather than I have in the past. I have ridden several times in the last two weeks in temperatures around 50*F/wind 10knots.
I am such a wimp.

Rantwick said...

Yay! Welcome to winter riding. Those are nice tires you've chosen. Peter White's page on studded tires is very good too.

Do they salt the roads where you live? If so, I would hesitate to use such a nice bike... drivetrain components in particular take a real beating in winter, as do disc brakes.

The one thing that helped make winter riding enjoyable more than any other for me was wearing goggles. I have Oakley motocross goggles that I love, but I'm sure any clear ski google would be just as good. A warm home for your eyes helps more than I ever would have guessed.

I bet you're gonna love it. It is not always easy, but the rewards are great.

Big Oak said...

rlove2bike - thanks, I rode a little bit last January and February and figured out quick not to mess with the ice.

Oldfool - as long as you keep pedaling and generating heat, it's not too bad. Watch out for cold moist days - easy to get cold fast.

Rantwick - yes, the road crews salt the bejeezus out of the roads. Since we haven't had much snow, the salt larders are full, so from now on, expect to see lots of salt. Thanks for the advice about the drivetrain - I did find out last winter that I should keep the chain and derailleurs clean and oiled. The bike frame is aluminum, so not too worried about that. Looking for goggles.