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Is this possible?(10 posts)

Is this possible?mackgoo
Nov 19, 2001 2:30 AM
With winter fast aproaching here in MA., Ive been scrambling for some kind of trainer for indoor work. I'm starting to think that maybe I could get into some kind of cyclo cross bike and continue my 7 mile commute through the winter. Is this doable? Is it possible to ride in the snow? On snowy streets? Obviously durring the blizzards I'll take the car.
Snow ridingJofa
Nov 19, 2001 3:03 AM
Read this:

Suddenly, anything seems possible...

re: Is this possible?John-d
Nov 19, 2001 3:59 AM
It is possible to ride in almost any condition, that it is possible to venture out of doors in.

It's a fact that the worse the weather the less traffic. A good all weather bike would have cyclo cross clearances and a fixed wheel gearing of around 66". Before I had a car I have ridden miles on such a set up in any weather Britain could produce. The limit seemed to be 6" soft dense snow, deeper than that produces a sort of bow wave that is difficult to climb out of. This sort of snow also plays havoc with contact type dynamos. Gears, forget it, the snow collects between the cogs to form solid ice, and the free wheel justs loves it when it all melts into the mechanism.

You will keep going on a bike when cars grind/skid/crash to a halt. And it is fun.
re: Is this possible?Coluber
Nov 19, 2001 6:41 AM
I don't know where in MA you live, but if you live in a major metropolitan area and they are good about ploughing the streets, etc, then you shouldn't have too much trouble. I actually found that it was easier to ride in the snow in Boston than in DC because they are so much beter about clearing it off the streets and putting down sand and salt. I commuted extensively in DC in the snow; even on days when they closed school early and I had to dig my bike out of the bike rack, I still rode home. You have to stay in a much lower gear than you'd normally use of course, because spinning your rear wheel is all too easy on packed ice and snow. And you have to clean your bike really well too; finding time for this is always the hardest part of winter riding for me. The salt and sand they put on the roads is TERRIBLE for your bike, and it gets EVERYWHERE. The downside of Boston being better at dealing with the snow is that there's more sand and salt to deal with, but I'll take that over the persistent slush and packed ice that you get when they don't use it. There is less traffic, and you get more respect for riding in really bad weather. And riding through the snow is fun! Protective glasses or something are a must, especially if it's currently snowing. Also, as long as you stay on major thorougfares, there will probably be enough traffic and enough snowploughs to keep the snow to a minimum.
We love commuting in the snow.MB1
Nov 19, 2001 7:11 AM
Look for the Icebiker web site for some inspiration. Gekko Gear makes some great cold weather clothing and Peter White Cycles (right in your neck of the woods) sells winter studded bicycle tires.

Go for it.
re: Is this possible?gtx
Nov 19, 2001 9:03 AM
Of coursefishwheel
Nov 19, 2001 9:21 AM
Yes it's certainly possible. Lots of people commute through the winter all over the U.S. and Canada, even in Alaska. Last year I started winter commuting. My ride was between 6.5 and 7 miles last year (we moved so this year is closer to 8 miles). Riding in the snow isn't too bad unless its more than four inches deep. The stuff affectionately called chocalate mousse (I'm sure you know the stuff) is hard too ride in because the tire ruts guide you inthe wrong direction and the mousse has no traction. Snowflakes are angular and fresh snow provides some traction, once it has been converted to mousse the grains are rounded and you get very little grab with your tires. If it ices up where you're at, you should consider studded tires. I use them and love the security. Most of the time they just slow me down and make noise, but when I'm in the middle of a patch of black ice and I feel the studs grab the ice it makes up for the extra work.
Riding in the winter would be extremely safe and fun if it weren't for all the cars out there. I oftenf ind myself arriving at work with a stupid grin on my face. As far as wintre riding goes, it's not as bad as people think (cause I am certainly not tough).

By the way I live in Michigan not New Mexico, so winters to me mean cold air, snow, and ice. Remember last December whent that big blizzard hit the Chicago area, I had the pleasure of riding (er carrying ) my bike home in that mess. It was fun for the first 45 minutes, but talk about a lot of work the snow was up over my hubs. The moment I stopped pedaling my bike would come to a complete halt.
Drivers are more aware in winter.fishwheel
Nov 19, 2001 9:31 AM
I almost forgot too mention that I've found drivers to be much safer inthe winter than other times of year. Partly because so few people ride bikes, they seem to be less annoyed by bikes. If they only pass one cyclist a day they can give him a wide berth, but if there's like six per day, more people feel the need to brush their side and yell (IMHO). I also think in winter when they don't plow many sidewalks ( at least here) people feel like the bike doesn't have a choice, but to ride in the road. Maybe people are just more careful when the rode is narrow and icy.

I have ordered tires from Peter White (Whyte?) Cycles, I believe he is in Newton. He seems to be an avid ice-biker, and stopping by his shop for gear and advice wouldn't hurt.

If a bike gets stuck in a ditch you can carry it out. If a car gets stuck in a ditch you call a tow truck. Maybe bikes are a good winter vehicle.
Check out www.icebike.comcory
Nov 19, 2001 10:56 AM
Sure, you can do it. icebike has lots of information, and I think some links to other sites, too.
I've been riding my winter commute for five years now.Ahimsa
Nov 19, 2001 6:23 PM
Get a Nokian studded tire and put 'im on a an old sturdy front wheel. Run a knobby 'cross type tire onna rear. Instant traction. Just make sure you've got clearance, Clarence.

Now when the weather is snowy/icy you put on the winter wheels. When it's jes cold out you run yer regular set.

Give yourself extra time too. After a few weeks it'll be second nature to ride in the winter.