I was visiting some friends this weekend for a festive celebration and decided to ride my Pugsley over to their house. Although I’ve survived over 30 Canadian winters I seem to learn the same lessons each year. In the middle of July -15 and -30 deg C both sound cold and I don’t really differentiate them much. Come winter -15 and -30 are two different beasts. Crank it down to nearly -40 dec C and you’ve got a special kind of suffer-fest on on your hands.
I headed out at 5pm on Saturday lights ablaze and spirits high. The snow crunched under my tires like styrofoam and my breathe froze my neck warmer solid instantly. I was starting to remember what -30 deg was like. As I cranked along the two thin layers on my legs [running tights under bike tights] proved insufficient. Of course I have warmer layers, but in the cobwebs of my mind I couldn’t recall the last time two layers like this weren’t enough. I wasn’t painfully cold, but I really hoped I didn’t suffer a mechanical – stopping for an extended period of time was not an option. Luckily I was at their place in under 45mins with no drama. The Pugsley was surefooted and didn’t let me down.
After much eating and drinking I couldn’t face an even colder ride home with my minimal leg layers so I slept over figuring riding home in the AM would be more pleasant. Of course it was even colder in the AM, -39 deg C with windchill, but the roads were empty and I was treated to a beautiful sunrise as I crossed a bridge over the Bow River.
- There is chilly, cold, colder and crazy cold – they are all quite different.
- I must dress appropriately for the weather. I’m no hero so better over dress and be able to shed a layer than be riding across town in the dark shivering.
- I like the sound of fat tries rolling over crunchy styrofoam snow…=-)
- A Planet Bike Superflash stops working at -39 deg C.
- A Shimano Alfine IGH keeps shifting smoothly at -39 deg C – at least for the first 45mins.
- A Surly Pugsley can conquer deep snow…
- ….as long as there isn’t a curb hidden underneath it…
- …hitting a curb under the snow at a 45 deg angle can result in the rider being thrown sideways into a parking sign post…
- …that isn’t a lot of fun!