My [old] Winter Bike

29 11 2008


I posted this in Nov 2006 to my personal blog.  I’ve just stripped down this bike and cleaned up the frame before putting it into storage.  I’ve got a new winter bike project in mind for this year, but I’m still waiting on bits to arrive…=-)

Schwalbe Snow Stud

Schwalbe Snow Stud

It’s hard to believe November just started and the streets are already covered with ice and snow. I have been bracing myself for winter I just didn’t expect it to start so soon and with such vigor. Oh well such is life in the Great White North!

My Schwinn mtn bike (AKA the Urban Assault Machine) got the nod as my winter ride. I slapped a Schwalbe studded tire on the front and a Schwalbe Marathon XR on the rear – both 26″ x 1.9″. Studs aren’t really needed on the road, but the bike paths are not well cleared and without automobile traffic they don’t stay ice free the way well traveled roads do. We actually had a debate a few weekends ago, at the start of the LOTR marathon, whether or not studded tires were a benefit or hindrance for a Calgary winter cyclist. Dwayne and Nick felt they were not useful and I think they are – especially a lightly studded tire like the Schwalbe. My thinking is the studs add a bit of weight and might be less desirable on dry roads/paths, but the first time you hit a stretch of ice on the bike paths you’ll be glad you had a studded tire. I only put studs on the front because if your front wheel slides out you crash in two seconds. A sliding rear tire can be controlled and can even be fun. Bottom line I’ll be able to test out my hypothesis and report back at the end of the winter.

SKS fender and old school Avid mech discs

SKS fender and old school Avid mech discs

Fenders are essential in the winter – at least if you want to stay reasonably clean. I’d prefer full coverage fenders, but I had these clip on SKS fenders kicking around so I’ll use them for now. I am also feeling a bit lazy and setting up full coverage fenders on a front suspension mtn bike with disc brakes is “do able”, but it would take a lot of fiddling.

Schwalbe Marathon XR & SKS rear fender

Schwalbe Marathon XR & SKS rear fender

The Schwalbe Marathon XR isn’t the ideal winter tire, but I already had it in my inventory and it is more aggressive than the semi-slick Continental Travel Contact tire it is replacing.

Grippy Wellgo BMX Pedals

Grippy Wellgo BMX Pedals

I ditched my Time platform clip-in pedals for some studded Wellgo BMX pedals. Secure footing with any shoes or boots and it is easy to put a foot down when the inevitable sliding starts. I just have to try and keep the studs from engaging my shins!

OMM rack & Cateye LD1000 blinky

OMM rack & Cateye LD1000 blinky

I mounted a Cateye TL-LD1000 rear blinkie to my seatpost. I’ll use a Planet Bike Superflash blinkie on my seatbag and a Planet Bike white front blinkie on my handlebars.

Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp

Giro Helmet, Princeton Tec EOS Headlamp & Planet Bike Blinky

No I am not finished with the lights! I’ll use a Planet Bike rear helmet blinkie and a Princeton Tec EOS headlamp attached to my helmet. The EOS can be set to flash to be seen or set to steady light to illuminate the road.

I know this seems excessive, but when driving to work in the AM I am constantly amazed at cyclists cruising around in busy traffic with minimal or no lights and dark clothing. I am a cyclist so I should be more aware of bikers than most drivers, but in many cases I only see them at the last minute. So I’d rather look a little over cautious than be dead or seriously injured.


If you want more info on winter biking check out the Ice Bike website.



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