Monday, September 5, 2011

Mentally Prepping for Winter Rides

As I sit here recovering from what is apparently a far worse cold than it started out to be mid-last week, I'm starting to ponder winter and riding. I know it's only early September, but the last couple of mornings here on the  front range of Colorado have been surprisingly cool compared to our low-to-mid 90s temps of the past few months. We tend to have the windows open quite a bit here in the summer so the temperature shifts are easily felt. While it's not even autumn yet, I know that the cooler weather is on its way (Yay!) and with it will eventually come snow (Boo!). I'm not a snow bunny, really. I suppose you can take the girl out of California, but not the Cali out of the girl. I've never quite adjusted to the snow, and while I do think it's beautiful to look at (and play in on occasion), I really don't enjoy riding my bike in it. In fact, I completely avoid riding if there is fresh snow on the ground.
Can't help but remember riding around on the Electra bicycles in winter months
I know there are plenty of tips for winter riding on the web, and they make sense - unless you are a complete klutz (as I am), in which case you know that a fall is imminent if you dare to ride through icy patches (which often are unseen). I don't worry about the cold as I have found that layers do the trick to keep the body warm, but I'm more concerned with actual falls on ice. In past winters I've had a heavier, upright bicycle to ride around (not that the bike above was particularly heavy), so if some of the snow was clear, I'd take my chances and ride anyway. I've realized lately though that I don't have that option any longer, and that my heaviest bike is the Hillborne. In all honesty, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this. Typically, snow here melts incredibly fast, except for the very coldest of the winter days, so maybe I'm making a bigger deal of it than I need to. I suppose I'm just not entirely comfortable riding on snow, and though I know I will do it (because I start going stir crazy when I can't get out and ride), I can feel myself tensing about it before there's even a reason to be concerned.

I know that some people opt for winter studded tires on one of their bikes and trade them out as the snow begins to fall, but I've also read that these tires don't necessarily help much with traction. I'm also not sure that it would be the best use of funds, since it is more likely that there will be some sort of clear path to ride. I suppose I'm a bit at a loss since this will be our first winter actually living within city limits, and I have no idea if the roads will be as clear as they were when I'd ride in to town on the highway. Maybe I'll be doing more walking in the winter months since we're pretty close to most things we need? Anyone else mentally (or physically) prepping for winter riding? I'm curious what others do in winter months. Do you keep riding or do you wait for the spring thaw? Any special preparations that you make for snowy days? Please feel free to share.


  1. I'm contemplating the same thing. This will be my first winter where I'm determined to not give in to the cold weather. However, I don't think that I will be riding when the snow is fresh either. I guess we'll see. :)

  2. I think it will depend how bad the winter is too... The cold is doable for me, the icy roads scare me though. I'm up for a challenge though, so we'll see how it goes, as you said. :o)

  3. cross tires replace road tires. leave early. go slow. if it gets nasty out, go even slower. protect skin from the wind. good gloves are a great investment.


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