Sunday, January 9, 2011


Winter riding falls into it's own rhythm.  My winter commuter is comfy, semi slow and has no computer.  Lighting is mandatory and always backed up.  Here is the kind of bike commuter types in New England desire after some evolution:

The Salsa Vaya - tain't really a road bike and tain't exactly a mountain bike.  It's a bike with vast flexibility.  It's the type of bike I'd own if funds were limited to one bike. 

The disc brakes scream "overkill and overweight!!" to a few Luddites - but nothing screams reliable, predictable performance without the rubber gunk that slobbers all over those pretty reflective sidewalls like Avid BB7's.  I have 5 bikes equipped with BB7's  - and have had to replace the pads on one so far in the past 10 years.  

The shifters evolved into "what's old is new" for the winter bike.   Those would be down tube shifters(!! - I know, who's the Luddite now?) Anyone who has tried shifting integrated road shifters or standard Shimano MTB shifters with gloves suitable for the colder weather finds out quickly how difficult and cumbersome this can be.  Grip shifters are the next move - but being dependant on indexing things can still foul up.  Enter the old down tube shifter - indexed shifting if you want it, and with the flip of a folding bit of hardware,  old school friction shifting if ya need it due to slush and gunk freezing up on your shifty bits.   I use an 8 speed cog to allow enough spacing between gears for more reliable performance than the current 9 & 10 speed cog sets on most upper end bikes.  A further note:  These look like a nice option if I ever desire putting the shifting up on the bars.

My original handlebars were WTB dirt drops - but they never felt right for winter riding.  Plain old straight bars with wrapped bar ends allow agility when dealing with the different surfaces and still allow a few different hand positions for the blood flow necessary to keep your digits at a nice even metric value.

The tires - brutally slow Schwalbe Marathon winter's (700X35).  Regular Schwalbe Marathons are known for being reliable and kinda slow.  Studs increase the slowness - but again, reliability prevails.  Of all the studded roadesque tires - the Schwalbes are probably the quickest - but that's quite relative. 

Fenders are Planet Bike Cascadias - very nice affordable full coverage fenders. 

About that FULL PULL!.  Hopefully y'all have seen a few Tractor Pulls and have heard the overexcited announcer calling one so the analogy makes sense..

The first week of commuting this year was entirely powered by Soup, Lasagna, Bagels, Peanut Butter, Nutella, Triscuits, Clementines, Eggs, Spinach & Cheese  (sorry if I missed any of you - as you were all wonderful).  I'll usually ride 3 or 4 days out of the week and take a day or two off to restock supplies and do that recovery thing racers are supposed to do - but this week just kept-a chuggin. 

That was 130 commuter miles.  You'd think it'd be plenty - but I keep getting distracted by the Mukluk.  I mean look!!  How can you *not* ride in conditions like these??



  1. 130 commuter miles in a week. nice job!

  2. oh, btw, davis used those paul mounts on his carver snow bike build to avoid any shifting issues. it seems to be working really well.

  3. Yeah - Audrey (my car) was not pleased with the lack of attention. Her battery has been weak lately and after a couple of weeks: ne start pas.. Now the proud owner of a battery maintainer

    That must have been Davis' bike at the Wicked ride that I tried out. The lever up there gave it a kind of "drinking fountain" appeal.