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Commute by bike! All year around? In Vermont??

Wed, 02/04/2009 - 6:57pm -- Chris

 You Betcha!

Here in the Green Mountain State we face a condition that is unique from a lot of other places; it's called winter.  Not only do we have winter, we have a remarkably cold one packed beginning to end with slush, snow, and ice.  This mixture of cold and frozen precipitation could sideline even the most devout bike commuter. However, it doesnt have to sideline you!  While gearing up for the commute during the winter months may be daunting, the benefits are overwhelming.  What do i need to make the best out of my winter bike commute you ask?  well...

First and foremost, warm clothes are crucial. Wool is especially good for the winter commute. It is warm as hell and wicks moisture.

Second, and not as crucial (but almost), Mike recommends light blue clothing.  Light blue is the color of a Robins egg and we all know that robins are a sign of spring. Therefore you will subliminally remind people that spring is fastly approaching.

You're gonna want to outfit your bike with fenders.  If your frame is equipped with eyelits, full coverage fenders are the best. Not only do they keep you dry, they will protect your frame and drivetrain from the salt and sludge.  If your frame does not have eyelits for fenders, dont worry. there are a few good clip on fender options.

The next thing to consider is, "what's making contact with the road"?  Are you running those 700x18c tires spec'd specifically for velodrome use?  Ditch 'em.  You will be much happier and safer with wider knobby or studded tires.  And yes studded tires are available for 700c and 26" wheels.  Studded tires increase your control dramatically and will save you from washing out around slick corners.

Make sure you keep your chain lubed up, and if its possible, try and keep your ride indoors. Getting it out of the elements will keep the pauls in your freewheel/freehub from freezing.  Frozen pauls will cause your bike to coast in both directions resulting in you not going anywhere.

There see!  thats not too much to think about is it?  Warm clothes (wool, light blue), fenders, knobby or studded tires, and regular lube and defrosting is all it takes to make winter commuting fun and safe.

Riding throughout winter is especially beneficial for staving off the winter blues.  Getting outside and riding your bike will significantly improve your daily opinion on a winter day.  Sure, you will be able to agree with others that its damn cold, but at least you'll be having fun!  And believe me, winter riding is a hoot!

Signing out,

Harris

P.S. Stop on by the Shop for all your winter riding needs!  We stock a wide variety of fenders and studded tires!

P.P.S Credit goes To Rick Smith for the comic www.yehudamoon.com