During the winter months, the shop slows down and we end up doing a lot of business over the internet. you can keep tabs on our ebay listings here. What this means for us is a lot of time shining up parts, taking pictures, making cardboard boxes as small as we can, and of course, trips to the post office, even if its in the middle of a record-breaking snowstorm. This past saturday I cleaned up the shop Xtracycle and set it up with a pair of Nokian Extreme studded tires. With 294 studs, they kept both myself and the load of boxes, which filled two trash bags and the top of the Xtracycle, stuck to the road for the entire trip across town to the post office and Fedex. I had a scary incident last week riding down south winooski on my own bike. I was holding off on the studded tires because i didn't want to spend the cash, hoping my 45mm knobby panaracer fire cross tires would get me through the year, and i was making a bank run for the shop. I slipped out on some ice and fell in the middle of the road, and before i could fully stand back up, the minivan behind me, unable to stop, slid right into my back and knocked me back over. Luckily they weren't going too fast and I was uninjured, and my bike was fine, but it was a lucky reminder that I needed to get the right equipment. I rode back to the shop and immediately purchased some studs. So when I started out on my Xtracycle run I was a little nervous that the long wheel base and heavy load would be difficult to handle in the slippery weather, but it handled surprisingly well. There was never a second that I felt out of control. Combined with the appropriate cold weather wear and equipment such as a helmet, gloves, goggles and lighting, using studded tires can definitely make riding a bike through Vermont winter's not only possible, but quite safe and enjoyable.
If you're looking for a do-everything cargo bike, you need to come down to the shop and check out the Surly Big Dummy. They've designed the Big Dummy in conjunction with the Xtracycle, and with carrying big loads (up to 400lbs) in mind. It comes with Xtracycle's V-Rack bags and snapdeck, which make securing boxes and groceries and just about anything you'd want to carry with you a sinch. The frame is 4130 cro-mo, as are all of their bikes, and they didn't skimp on the parts either. The complete comes spec'd with Surly's own Mr. Whirly cranks, a mountain triple, outboard bearing crankset that has a removable spider and can easily be converted to a double, or single, whatever suits your needs. Some other highlights of the build are the Shimano SLX/LX group set, the surly torsion bar made by nitto, deore XT rear disc hub, surly front disc hub, salsa gordo 26" rims, and avid bb7 mechanical disk brakes.