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Single Speed Junkie
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Ended up with a new job in the twin cities and plan/goal is to ride one year solid to and fro home and work. I am a serious wuss when it comes to low temps, what I want to know is how some of you manage to ride year round when the temps hover in the -20 range for weeks on end. Also what bike to ride for dealing with nasty conditions over 12 miles each way.
 

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actually -20 is easy

crux said:
Ended up with a new job in the twin cities and plan/goal is to ride one year solid to and fro home and work. I am a serious wuss when it comes to low temps, what I want to know is how some of you manage to ride year round when the temps hover in the -20 range for weeks on end. Also what bike to ride for dealing with nasty conditions over 12 miles each way.
At that temp any snow on roadways stays nice and crunchy and doesn't form into icy ruts from traffic. There's really nothing that works well and guarantees your safety when the road is uneven rutted ice. Studs or chains certainly help. Yeah, snow when it's down around zero or colder is a piece of cake to ride. I use chains a lot in winter. What you ride depends on your terrain, etc. If it's flat I'd recommend a fixed gear MTB, because a fixer gives you the most precise control with least chance of skidding, and the best feedback on what's happening under the tires. and unlike any other kind of bike, it can't ice up. multi speed cogs form ice in between until the chain just slips. singlespeed freewheels can freeze up from water inside, or start skipping because the grease around the pawls is too stiff to release them quickly enough. But nothing affects a fixed gear.
 

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RIde...

crux said:
Ended up with a new job in the twin cities and plan/goal is to ride one year solid to and fro home and work. I am a serious wuss when it comes to low temps, what I want to know is how some of you manage to ride year round when the temps hover in the -20 range for weeks on end. Also what bike to ride for dealing with nasty conditions over 12 miles each way.
A good alternative. RIde the bus.
 

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b-boy
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hell, there were days when i was riding to class in u.p. in -40 windchills, so anything is possible. i, however, neglected to oil my chain...ever...which lead to me breaking a few. they were previously used, but it was still annoying to walk (some may say i deserved it). the fixed gear is definately the way to go because ice amounts to bad-news-bears when it comes to brakes. ernesto has a good point, though...12 miles is a REALLY long ride in crappy conditions...just my $0.02.
 

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Fixed gear, bigger tyres the better, studs even better again, flat pedals and warm boots, ski gloves with liners, ski goggles, and a nice woolie hat... The difficulty in clothing is wearing enough not to be too warm on the bike, but you need to ensure you are warm enough should a mechanical strike.

My winter fg this year will be a 29" wheeled mtb with Nokian 700x45 studded tyres, or maybe some homemade studded. The biggest problem I've found is that cars plough a couple of clearer ruts, but you can't ride in these unless you want to get run over. The "shoulder" gets covered with piles of sludge which are impossible to ride through. You therefore need to find less well travelled roads or ideally bike paths if you happen to live in such a well endowed place, I'm not sure what the "twin cities" are in your context.

Sam
 

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Several at out work commute all year round, rain, snow, ice or sun up here (Ontario). The main thing is to dress for the weather, and by that I mean don't over dress - you'd be surprised how warm you get riding. Layer, and remove as necessary. Although temps don't usually go below ~0F in the winter, we have had rides down to -30F. I usually wear a long jersy, thin fleece (100 weight) and a shell all winter long. Everybody is different, and certain parts of the body get cold - for me it was my toes & fingers, so spending some money of good winter cyclling boots & glove (insulated Shimano DH boot & Pearl Isumi Lobster Claw gloves) was what did it for me.

My commute is ~10miles one way, over 1/2 is trail, the rest road. I usually use a SS in the winter instead of a fixie as I find the ability to coast is useful on the really slippery stuff, or going downhill in axle deep snow. Deraillures get ice covered and salt damaged. I'll ride the trails until I can't get throught the snow (which is ~ axle deep, depending on the type of snow), then I'll use the road few days untill the trails get packed enough to ride on. Disc brakes are very useful, if your roads are salt covered, I'd recommend hydralics. Either go with a good cheap Ti frame or a beater - steel and aluminium joints get fused by galvanic corrosion if you ride salted roads (I've had many unremovable parts - like Al seatpost in steel frame, or my current steel Time axle in my Raceface cranks :mad: all were covered with antiseize prior to installation). Use half decent seal hubs (shimanos work great). A decent coil/oil fork is great on the frozen trails, but if you're mostly on road, a rigid fork is the way to go. And fenders.

Cheers,

Tom
 

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suggestions, comments.

ernesto_from_Wisconsin said:
A good alternative. RIde the bus.
You Southerners (as in Southern Wiscompton) need to grow some minerals. :D :D

I ride all winter, and have no problems.

1. Wool is your friend.
2. A bike you really don't care about is your friend. (salt eats wheels/frames)
3. Single speed, single speed, single speed.
4. Unless you're sourcing some W-I-D-E rims, I've found that 700c/38 knobbies work really well for plowing through just about anything. They tend to cut through the slop, rather than floating on top.
 
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