I’m thinking about winter. Really thinking about winter. Soon, our environment will seem stripped down, cold, and practically lifeless. However, we all know that there is much more going during winter than appears. Some of us will participate in winter life by wrapping up and biking on through the cold days and nights, meeting winter as a challenge to move through, not sleep through. Others of us may shake our heads and wonder, “Just what is it with those folks?” If you’re still shaking your head, ignore the rest of this post. If you’re intrigued, read on.
What are you doing to ready yourself for winter riding? I’ve committed by outfitting two of our bikes with studded snow tires. Peter White’s site has an excellent page full of humorous and helpful commentary about studded tires – and it’s one of the few sites on the web to actually carry a reasonable assortment of good quality tires. The two brands of spiked/studded tires he carries are the best regarded: Nokian and Schwalbe. We purchased Nokian Mount and Grounds and the Hakkapeliitta W240s. The W240s will be on my Xtracycle rig and the Mount and Grounds are already on the Singletrack. Nokian’s been producing them longer, though Schwalbe may be a more well-known and popular brand (especially in Europe). Innova and Kenda also make a variety, but reviews are not encouraging – you get what you pay for. The do-it yourself variety of screws-through-your-treads seem dangerous. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot on the web about studded bike tires. Though it’s referenced a few times, the Ice Bike site is out of date and does not have much info for commuters.
I’m also working on figuring out reasonable clothing so I don’t bake or freeze on my short, but intense commute (2.5 miles one way with hills, alleys, back-roads, and main roads). I’m hoping that the set of Climitts just purchased will help solve my freezing/sweaty hands experiences from last winter. I’m also thinking about use of lightweight thermal leggings combined with – what? Jeans? Cargo pants w/zip-off legs? What about my torso and arms? A heavy shell and light layers beneath? Many light layers? And about my scalp? Can’t find a good commercial product that covers my ears and scalp without baking my neck. Last year I cut up an old thermal balaclava so my forehead, ears, and scalp are well-covered. It just looks like, well, a cut-up balaclava!
Your thoughts and suggestions are most welcome below in the comment section. May you purchase wisely and ride safely!